DTF Transfer Adhesive, Just the Facts and more…

In the world of custom T-Shirt printing, Direct to Film (DTF) transfers have emerged as a revolutionary technique, offering unparalleled flexibility and quality. However, the success of this method hinges significantly on one critical component – the DTF transfer adhesive. This invisible part of the transfer plays a pivotal role in ensuring that your designs not only transfer perfectly but also stand the test of time. Let’s delve into why understanding DTF transfer adhesive is crucial for anyone looking to excel in using DTF transfers.

At its core, the purpose of the adhesive is straightforward yet vital; it serves as a binding agent between the printed film and your garment. Upon application with a heat press, this specially formulated powder melts and embeds itself into both surfaces, creating a durable bond that ensures longevity and resilience against washing or stretching.

A common questions we encounter involve exploring alternatives to traditional adhesives used in DFT processes. While innovation drives us forward towards potentially new methods like liquid-based solutions; currently available substitutes often fall short regarding durability and ease-of-use compared to conventional DTF powder adhesives.

To truly master the art of T-shirt transfers using direct-to-film transfers, you will need more than just an understanding of the basics—it demands a comprehension about every element involved especially when discussing something as integral as adhesive and how it is fitted and works.For those eager to learner or wishing a deeper dive into intricacies surrounding direct-to-film printing techniques including tips on achieving flawless transfers using the right adhesive, read on…

Table Of Contents:

The Basics of DTF Transfer Adhesive

DTF transfer adhesive is changing in the world of printing. And the world of DTF transfers adhesive is getting better all the time, and the pace of improvement is amazing. 

But what exactly is DTF transfer adhesive? And how does it work? First, let’s break down the DTF transfer process. DTF stands for Direct to Film. It’s a digital printing method where images are printed directly onto a special PET film using an inkjet printer (no these are not the same as the one you have at home). This PET film is then used to transfer the printed image onto fabric or other materials. But there’s more to the puzzle than just the print – it’s the adhesive.

The Role of Adhesive in DTF Transfers

The transfer adhesive powder is a hot-melt adhesive and is the key to bonding the printed image to the fabric. The PET film is printed and while the ink used for the image is still wet the DTF powder is then applied evenly over the print. The film is then shaken to remove the excess adhesive from the film, heat is applied to the transfer and it is now cured. When fitting the transfer, heat and pressure are applied for a set time, the adhesive on the transfer melts and adheres the print to the fabric. Without the adhesive powder, the image would simply wash away or peel off. The adhesive acts as a bonding agent, ensuring the longevity and durability of the transferred design.

The Chemical Types of DTF Adhesive

In the rapidly evolving world of direct-to-film (DTF) printing, understanding the nuances of different adhesives can significantly impact the quality and durability of custom printed T-shirt transfers. Among these, thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), polyester (PES), and polyamide (PA) powders stand out as key players in creating vibrant, long-lasting prints for both commercial screen printers and hobbyists alike.

Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)

TPU is heralded for its exceptional elasticity, transparency, and resistance to oils, greases, and abrasion. This makes it the ideal choice for DTF Transfers Australia, offering a flexible yet durable bond between ink layers and fabric. Its versatility across a wide range of textiles ensures that businesses can cater to diverse customer needs without compromising on quality.

Polyester Powders (PES)

Polyester-based adhesives are praised for their strong adhesion properties. PES powders work exceptionally well with synthetic fabrics such as polyester itself or blends containing significant amounts of polyester fibres. They provide robust washability which is crucial for sportswear or any garment subjected to frequent laundering.

Polyamides Powder (PA)

  • Durability: PA powder offers excellent resilience against wear-and-tear making it suitable for heavy-duty applications like outdoor use.
  • Versatility: It adheres well not only to textiles but also various other substrates including leather and less pourous materials; expanding creative possibilities beyond just T-shirts.

This is mainly just some information for you to understand the make up of the adhesives, our wholesalers work with these chemicals and formulate the adhesive that we use, different manufactures use unique formulas to create their DTF Adhesive. So we thoroughly test adhesives as they become available, to make sure we are using the best adhesives available.

Types of DTF Transfer Adhesive

Not all DTF transfer adhesives are created equal. Different types of adhesive powders are suited for various applications and materials. Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of DTF transfer adhesives and when to use them. 

Black Adhesive for Dark Apparel

When printing on black or dark-colored garments, black adhesive powder is your best bet. The black adhesive blends seamlessly with the dark fabric, creating a smooth and invisible base for the printed design. This type of adhesive is perfect for achieving vibrant, full-color prints on dark apparel.

White Adhesive for Light Apparel

When printing onto white or light colour T Shirts and apparel choose the white adhesive. Any fine lines around the outside of the image will seamlessly blend into the T Shirt. The adhesive allows the printed colors to pop.

Low-Temperature Adhesive for Sensitive Fabrics

Some fabrics, like polyester and other synthetics, are sensitive to high temperatures. That’s where low-temperature adhesive comes in handy. This type of adhesive melts and adheres at a lower temperature, making it safe to use on heat-sensitive materials. It allows you to transfer designs onto a wider range of fabrics without the risk of damage or discoloration. Low-temperature adhesive is a game-changer for printing on performance wear, swimwear, and other synthetic garments. Choosing the right type of DTF transfer adhesive can make or break the quality and durability of your prints. The wrong adhesive can lead to issues like being able to see a fine line of the adhesive colour around the print. It’s crucial to consider the fabric type, color, and intended use of the garment when selecting an adhesive to be used on your transfers. Using the appropriate adhesive ensures that your transferred designs look great and last wash after wash.

While low-temperature adhesives offer a solution for heat-sensitive fabrics, they also come with their own set of challenges.

Compatibility Issues with Specialty Films

One issue with low-temperature adhesives is compatibility with certain films. Some films, like those with a speciality finish, may not work well with low-temp adhesives. Low-temperature adhesive works best with our true hot peel films that are designed to release at a lower temperature. 

Advanced Techniques in DTF Transfer Application

Applying DTF transfers is both an art and a science. While the basic process is straightforward, there are some advanced techniques that can take your prints to the next level.

Removing Excess Adhesive

One common issue with DTF transfers is excess adhesive around the edges or on the design. If excess adhesive has been transferred to the finished garment, it will normally be removed during the finishing press. But if excess adhesive still needs to be removed, simply place a sheet of normal copy paper over the transferred design and press for a few seconds with a heat press. Then, peel the paper away while it’s still hot. This hot peel method will lift away any excess adhesive, leaving a smooth and clean finish. 

You should do some practice when trying this process for the first time, as it is not a straight forward process like it sounds.

The Future of DTF Transfer Adhesive Technology

As DTF printing continues to evolve, so does the technology behind the transfer adhesives. One exciting development on the horizon is the emergence of liquid adhesives.

Liquid Adhesive – A New Frontier

Currently, DTF transfer adhesives come in powder form. But what if you could apply the adhesive as a liquid instead by just printing it? Liquid adhesive technology is still in the early stages of development for DTF transfers. The idea is to apply a liquid adhesive that can be applied directly to the print, dot for dot where the design has been printed. This could potentially streamline the transfer process and eliminate the need for a separate adhesive application step, as the Printer will apply the adhesive while printing the transfer. It’s an exciting prospect that could revolutionise the way we approach DTF printing. 

Practical Tips for Screen Printers and Hobbyists

Whether you’re a seasoned screen printer looking to expand your offerings or a hobbyist exploring the world of DTF transfers, there are some practical tips to keep in mind. First, always do tests before committing to a large run. This allows you to assess the quality and adhesion of the transfer and make any necessary adjustments. Second, pay attention to the temperature and pressure settings on your heat press. Different fabrics and adhesives may require specific settings for optimal results. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different adhesives and techniques. DTF transfer technology is constantly evolving, and there’s always room for innovation and creativity. The key to successful DTF transfers is not just in the initial application, but in the long-term durability and quality of the prints. To ensure the longevity of your transferred designs, it’s important to follow proper care instructions. 

This includes washing garments inside out in cold water and avoiding harsh detergents or bleach. It’s also crucial to use high-quality inks and films specifically designed for DTF transfers in the creation of the T Shirt Transfers. 

By investing in quality supplies and following best practices for fitting and garment care, you can create DTF transfers that look great and last for years to come.

Common Misconceptions

Despite the growing popularity of DTF transfers, there are still some common misconceptions surrounding the process and the use of adhesives. One myth is that DTF transfers are only suitable for small, simple designs. In reality, DTF printing can produce full-color, photo realistic images on a variety of garments and materials. 

Another misconception is that DTF transfers are not as durable as other printing methods. When applied correctly with the right adhesive, DTF transfers can withstand multiple washes and maintain their vibrancy and integrity. It’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to DTF transfers and adhesives. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of the technology, you can make informed decisions and achieve the best results for your projects.

The FAQ’s of DTF Transfer Adhesive

Lets go over some of the FAQ’s that we are currently being asked.

What is DTF transfer adhesive?

DTF transfer adhesive refers to a specialized powder polymer used in the Direct to Film (DTF) printing process. This adhesive is applied to the printed film, melting and bonding under heat to adhere the ink onto various fabric types. It ensures durability, flexibility, and vibrant color retention of designs transferred onto garments.

What does DTF adhere to?

Direct-to-Film (DTF) transfers exhibit remarkable adherence to a wide array of fabrics, including but not limited to cotton, polyester, and blends. This versatility extends its utility across various textile applications, ensuring a robust bond even on substrates traditionally challenging for other printing methods. Consequently, DTF’s adaptability makes it an invaluable asset in the customisation and embellishment of garments and textiles.

What can you put DTF transfers on?

Direct to Film (DTF) transfers are versatile, adhering to a wide range of fabrics including cotton, polyester, and blends. They’re suitable for T-shirts, hoodies, caps, and even non-garment items like canvas bags. Their flexibility allows for application on various textures and surfaces, making them ideal for both professional screen printers and hobbyists seeking diverse printing solutions.

Can you print my Transfers without the adhesive?

NO, The adhesive is the glue that makes the transfers stick to the substrate that they are being fitted to, so if we print the transfers without the adhesive they will not stick.

Can I fit the adhesive myself before I fit the transfers?

NO, The transfers are printed and while the ink is still wet the adhesive is applied, and the top layer of the ink and the adhesive bond together during the curing process, so as you can see the adhesive has to be added at the production stage. 

Key Takeaway: 

DTF transfer adhesive is crucial for vibrant, durable prints on any fabric. Choose the right type—black for darks, white for lights, low-temp for synthetic material. Experiment, test and practice to perfect your technique.


So, we’ve journeyed through the vibrant world of DTF transfers, exploring every aspect of adhesive types to application techniques. It’s been a informative journey – one filled with revelations about how this print method isn’t just another trend but a revolution in textile printing with the use of technically advanced adhesives.

The truth is, DTF transfers are not your run-of-the-mill printing technique; they’re the bridge between creativity and technology. With the right adhesive powder by your side, those vivid designs you dream up? They don’t just stay on paper – they come alive on fabric.

We’ve debunked myths and shed light on common misconceptions because let’s face it: knowledge is power. And armed with this newfound understanding of adhesives’ roles and choosing wisely for your project needs… well, that’s half the battle won.

Whether you’re a seasoned screen printer or a hobbyist looking to step up your game, remember: quality prints start with selecting the perfect adhesive. This might seem like small beans compared to designing itself but trust me – it makes all the difference.

As we wrap up our exploration into DTF transfers Australia (see what I did there?), take these insights as more than mere words; see them as tools in your arsenal for creating stunning prints that last longer than any fleeting trend. So go ahead — make waves with colors that pop off every garment!

finishes each time feel free explore further reading here: DTF Process Explained.

Call Now Button