what is DTF powder

When it comes to DTF (Direct to Film) printing, DTF adhesive powder stands out as the go-to printable adhesive. Designed to transfer graphics to materials like cotton and leather, it's a polyurethane resin-based hot melt adhesive. Before initiating the print, this powder is layered on. Its adaptability is unmatched, fitting all DTF printers and PET films. Its diverse range of qualities complement other DTF essentials such as inks and films.

What is DTF Powder Made of?

Hot melt Dtf Powder

DTF powder is made of polyester resin, colors, and other additives. It is a hot melt powder made of polyurethane resin and ground into adhesive powder. White DTF powder is made of 100% high-purity polyurethane. It's a premium medium adhesive powder you can apply after printing a DTF design. DTF PreTreat Powder is a proprietary DTFPRO branded, specially formulated Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Hot Melt Adhesive Powder.

What are the Types of DTF Powders?

TPU:

TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is a type of hot melt adhesive powder that is used in DTF (Direct to Film) printing. In the context of DTF, TPU is commonly used as the base material for DTF powders. When applied to printed films, it helps the ink adhere to the fabric while providing elasticity and durability to the printed design. This ensures that the printed design doesn't crack easily and can stretch with the fabric. TPU-based powders are popular because of their flexibility, which allows printed designs to move and stretch with the fabric. They also provide a soft hand feel, making the printed area comfortable against the skin.

PES:

PES powders are also used in DTF printing. When applied over printed films, they help to bind the ink to the fabric. PES offers a more rigid finish compared to TPU, making it suitable for certain applications that demand higher durability but might compromise a bit on elasticity. Polyester powders are known for their durability. They are less elastic compared to TPU, but they offer excellent wash resistance and longevity. For designs or garments where maximum durability is crucial, PES powders might be preferred.

PA (polyamide):

Polyamides, often referred to as nylon, are synthetic polymers that have a wide range of applications due to their strength, flexibility, and resistance to wear. PA powders in DTF provide a balance between elasticity and durability. They help in ensuring that the printed design adheres well to the fabric while also offering a good degree of stretchability. PA powders are versatile, offering a good balance between the elasticity of TPU and the rigidity of PES. This makes them suitable for a variety of applications, depending on the desired finish and properties of the printed design.

What are the Advantages of Using DTF Powder Over Other Transfer Methods?

DTF Powder for Printing

DTF (Direct to Film) powder transfer printing is a relatively new technology that offers several advantages over other transfer methods. Here are some of the advantages of using DTF powder over other transfer methods.

Versatility: DTF transfers set the gold standard in versatility, seamlessly bonding to everything from 100% cotton and 50/50 cotton-polyester blends to pure polyester. It bonds with both light and dark fabrics without needing special treatments or additional steps. Moreover, you can apply your custom DTF transfers to diverse surfaces, including luggage, shoes, and wood.

Durability: DTF transfer prints are much more durable than other transfer methods. While direct to garment prints have a soft feel because the ink is applied directly to the garment, DTF prints don't have the same soft hand feel that DTG can boast, but they are more durable.

Reduced production time: DTF transfers can be applied quickly and easily with just heat and some pressure, reducing production time.

Easy application: DTF transfers can easily be applied to tricky areas, such as the bottom of a curved skateboard, which would be impossible to do using other printing methods.

High-quality prints: DTF transfers produce high-quality prints with vibrant colors and sharp details.

Cost-effective: DTF transfer printing is a cost-effective alternative to other transfer methods, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.

Super adhesive and glossy: DTF powder transfer printing provides a super adhesive and glossy finish to the printed design.

How does DTF Powder Works?

DTF powder is an essential component of DTF printing that helps transfer the design onto the material. Here is how DTF powder works:

  • DTF powder is applied to the transfer film or sheet before printing to make it stickier.
  • The DTF printer prints the design onto the transfer film or sheet with the DTF ink.
  • The DTF powder is then applied to the printed design to make it adhesive.
  • The transfer film or sheet with the printed design and DTF powder is then placed onto the material to be printed.
  • The transfer film or sheet is then heated, and the DTF powder melts and sticks the design onto the material.

How to use DTF Powder?

What are the Equipment Needed For?

To use this method, you'll need certain equipment: a DTF printer, a heat press, and DTF powder. Optionally, you can also use a vinyl cutter. Here's how it works:

  • First, the design is printed onto a special kind of paper using the DTF printer.
  • This printed design is then transferred onto the fabric by applying heat with a heat press.
  • If needed, the vinyl cutter helps manually cutting out the design from the paper.
  • It's a simple process once you have the right tools!

What are the Steps to Use DTF Powder?

DTF powder is a printable adhesive powder used to transfer graphics onto materials such as cotton, polyester, and even leather. Here are the steps to use DTF powder:

  • Print your design onto the DTF film using a quality printer.
  • Spread the DTF powder onto the printed film while the ink is still wet. Make sure to spread the powder evenly.
  • Shake off the excess powder carefully.
  • Cure the powder by melting it onto the fabric using a heat press, oven, or heat gun.
  • Peel off the film after curing, leaving the design on the fabric.

What are the Applications of the DTF powders?

DTF (Direct to Film) powders have various applications in the printing industry. Here are some of the applications of DTF powders:

Printing on apparel: DTF powders are commonly used to print on t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and other apparel. They can be used to create custom designs or to reproduce existing logos and images.

Printing on home goods: DTF powders can also be used to print on home goods, such as mugs, pillows, and blankets. This is a great way to add a personal touch to your belongings.

Printing on promotional materials: DTF powders can be used to print promotional materials, such as banners, flyers, and posters. This is a great way to get your message seen by a wider audience.

Printing on other materials: DTF powders can also be used to print on other materials, such as wood, metal, and acrylic. This opens up a wide range of possibilities for creative projects.

What are the Differences between Black DTF Powders and white DTF powders?

black vs white Dtf Powder

White DTF Powder:

  • Suitable for any fabric color clothes.
  • Usually used on white or light-colored garments.
  • Made of 100% high-purity polyurethane.
  • Provides high-performance melt adhesion.
  • Extremely waterproof and can be washed and dry-cleaned.
  • Excellent flexibility, Even if the T-shirt is pulled or twisted, the printed graphics are less likely to crack.

Black DTF Powder:

  • Mainly composed of TPU rubber powder and activated carbon.
  • More suitable for black or dark-colored clothes.
  • Used on a few dark garments to block color.
  • Great to use on low-quality polyester or poly-blended shirts.
  • Can reduce vibrancy in prints.
  • Can be easily mitigated by using high-quality garments, high-quality PET film, and amazing ink.

What is Black DTF powder used for?

Black DTF powder is typically used for black or dark-colored garments. It is great to use on low-quality polyester or poly-blended shirts. Black DTF powder is also used to block color migration from bold designs on dark fabrics. It is a medium adhesive powder that is applied after printing a DTF design. Black DTF powder is suitable for powder coating small letters, but its fastness is poor. When the air humidity is high, it is easy to stick powder. Black DTF powder is stretch-resistant, waterproof, and can be washed and dry-cleaned. It is essential to use the right DTF powder for your printing needs to achieve the desired results.

How Long Does It Take DTF Powder to Cure?

The curing time for DTF powder depends on a few factors, including the type of powder, the heat press temperature, and the thickness of the powder. The general rule of thumb is to cure DTF powder for 2-3 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius).

Can I Use DTF Powder for Sublimation?

Yes, DTF (Direct to Film) powder can be used for sublimation printing, but it requires some additional steps and equipment. Here are some things to keep in mind when using DTF powder for sublimation:

DTF powder cannot properly bond to sublimation paper, as there is no adhesive layer to adhere to Therefore, you need to use a special DTF powder that has a hot melt adhesive layer, which can bond to the sublimation ink.

You will need a sublimation printer and sublimation ink to print your design onto the DTF transfer sheet.

After printing, the DTF transfer sheet will have wet sublimation ink on it, which allows the DTF powder to stick to it.

Cover the sheet with DTF powder and tap off any excess. Cure the DTF powder to melt it. This is usually done in a curing oven with an air filter, which is recommended for health and safety. You can also cure DTF powder under a heat press by letting the top platen hover over the DTF film sheet for a minute or so.

Once the powder is cured, you can transfer the design onto your fabric using a heat press or other transfer equipment.

Is DTF Powder Toxic?

DTF powder is not toxic, but it can generate dust and fumes during the printing and curing process. It is important to take proper safety precautions, such as wearing respiratory protection and ensuring proper ventilation, to minimize the risk of exposure to dust and fumes.

Here are some safety precautions to take when handling DTF powder:

  • Wear a dust mask or respirator to protect your lungs from the powder.
  • Wear gloves to protect your skin from the powder.
  • Avoid contact with your eyes.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the powder.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Do not heat the powder above the recommended temperature.

What is the Particle Size Range of Dtf Powder?

Fine DTF Powder:

  • Particle size: 0-70 microns (like flour)
  • Good hand feel on fabrics
  • Suitable for small lettering and details
  • Weak fastness, especially in high humidity
  • Prone to sticking to blank areas of the film
  • Mesh size: Typically -80 mesh, with an actual particle size below 170 microns

Medium DTF Powder:

  • Particle size: 70-170 microns (like table salt)
  • Most common type used in DTF printers (80-160 microns)
  • Easy to shake and clean compared to fine powder
  • Good balance of hand feel and durability
  • Mesh size: -150 mesh, with an actual particle size below 200 microns

Coarse DTF Powder:

  • Particle size: 120-240 microns (like sugar)
  • Features:
  • Thickest adhesive layer, resulting in stronger adhesion
  • Can feel slightly rougher on fabrics
  • Not ideal for very fine details
  • Mesh size: -200 mesh, with an actual particle size below 250 microns


What is the Melting Temperature of the DTF Powder? 

The melting temperature of DTF powder isn't a single set point, but rather a melting range that can vary depending on the specific powder and its composition. However, the typical range generally falls between 95°C to 135°C (203°F to 275°F).

Low-temperature DTF powders: These melt around 95°C to 115°C (203°F to 239°F) and are good for delicate fabrics or situations where you want to minimize heat exposure.

Standard DTF powders: Most commonly used powders fall within the range of 110°C to 130°C (230°F to 266°F). These offer a good balance of adhesion, ease of use, and temperature compatibility with a wide range of fabrics.

High-temperature DTF powders: These powders melt at around 125°C to 135°C (257°F to 275°F) and are best suited for situations where strong adhesion is critical, like on highly durable fabrics or for washing resistance.

What is the Recommended Thickness of Dtf Powder for Bonding Materials?

Here's a general guideline for DTF powder thickness based on fabric type:

  • Thin fabrics (silk, chiffon): 0.5 - 1.0 mm
  • Medium fabrics (cotton, polyester): 1.0 - 1.5 mm
  • Thick fabrics (canvas, denim): 1.5 - 2.0 mm

Is DTF Powder Wash Resistant?

Yes, DTF (Direct to Film) powder is known for its excellent wash resistance. The powder is designed to maintain its adhesion and other properties even after washing, making it suitable for applications where wash resistance is essential, such as garment printing. 

Does DTF Powder Stretches with Fabric for Increased Durability?

Yes, DTF powder does have some degree of stretch to accommodate fabric movement, enhancing the durability of the transferred design. This stretch ability is due to the thermoplastic nature of the powder. When heated during pressing, the powder melts and forms a strong bond with the fabric and ink. As the fabric stretches, the adhesive layer within the DTF print also stretches slightly, preventing cracking or peeling.

What is the Average Cost of the DTF Powder? 

Here's a rough estimate of the cost of DTF powder based on these factors:

  • Small quantities (500g): $10-$20
  • Medium quantities (1kg): $20-$30
  • Large quantities (5kg): $50-$100
  • Black or specialty colors: $30-$50

How to Store DTF Powder?

Storing DTF powder properly is crucial for maintaining its quality and preventing accidents. Here are some key tips:

Container:

Use a tightly sealed container like a resealable bag, plastic bucket with a lid, or gamma lid container. These prevent moisture and dust from entering, which can clump the powder and affect its performance.

Avoid using cardboard boxes or paper bags, as they are not moisture-proof and can contaminate the powder.

Environment:

Choose a cool, dry place for storage. Ideally, aim for temperatures below 30°C (86°F) and humidity levels below 50%. Avoid storing the powder in direct sunlight or near heat sources.

Control moisture: Consider placing silica gel packets inside the container to absorb moisture and prevent clumping.

Other Tips:

Label the container: Clearly mark the type of DTF powder, date of purchase, and any relevant expiration dates.

Minimize exposure: Only open the container when you need the powder. This helps prevent moisture and dust from entering.

Don't mix powders: Avoid mixing different brands or types of DTF powder in the same container.

Clean up spills: Promptly clean any spills or powder dust to maintain a clean and safe work environment.

What is the Shelf Life of the DTF Powder?

Most high-quality DTF powders have a shelf life of around 12 months when stored properly. This means their performance and adhesive properties remain optimal within this timeframe.

What are the Signs of the Expired DTF Powder?

Clumping or hardening: Expired powder might clump or form hard chunks, making it difficult to use.

Reduced adhesion: The adhesive properties of the powder might diminish over time, leading to poor transfer and peeling of the design.

Color changes: Discoloration can be a sign of degradation, potentially impacting the vibrancy of your transferred designs.