Emily Crane of Xpres combines DTF and vinyl to electrifying effect

Xpres’s resident direct-to-film (DTF) expert, Emily Crane, has been looking into more creative ways to use this relatively new garment decoration technology.

In the following step-by-step guide she demonstrates how you can use DTF transfers in combination with special effects vinyl to produce high-quality prints that are guaranteed to wow your customers.



(1) Once the design is finalised, export it as a PNG file. As the Epson F2100 DTG printer was used for this step-by-step, the design was then opened in Epson Garment Creator, the image mirrored and the DTF dark garment profile selected. A sheet of Xpres DTF film was loaded matt side up onto the printer’s platen and secured with removable tape to hold it in place during printing. The image was then sent to print.

(2) Once the print is completed, carefully remove it from the platen. The Xpres DTF Hotmelt powder must be applied while the ink is still wet. There are different ways to do this, however Xpres recommends using its powder tray: fill the tray with an ample amount of powder and move it to one end. Place the film with the wet print face up in the tray and gently shake the powder to generously cover the design. Once the print is covered, lift the film out of the box and shake away any excess powder, then flick the film on the dry side to remove any remaining powder.

(3) Next, cure the Hotmelt powder and print. Xpres used the PPS Innovation desktop curer, the XP1311 DTF Cure Box, as it provides all-round heat, which the company says is required for the best, most durable results. Xpres recommends curing at a temperature of 120°C for between three and five minutes, depending on the artwork. When the powder is melted correctly it will have a glossy, orange peel appearance. Once cured, carefully remove the sheet from the curing unit.

(4) To apply the transfer to the garment, place your garment on the heat press platen and position with the Hotmelt face down on the garment. Cover with a silicone sheet, press at 160°C for 15 seconds and peel. Once this is done, place the garment back on the heat press, cover with a silicone sheet and repress at 160°C for 15 seconds for durability and to give a soft-touch, matt finish.

(5) Now the print is complete, it’s time to add some special effect HTV (heat-transfer vinyl) to the design. Xpres opened the artwork in CorelDraw and, using a Roland GS-24 Desktop Vinyl Cutter with a flock blade, cut out the design in mirror image. The HTV used here was Pearl Glitter (XP3057) in pink – to replicate this design, load the HTV into the Roland GS-24 and complete a test cut to ensure the correct cutting force is being used. Once you have set the correct force, you can send the design to cut.

(6) When the design has finished cutting, remove it from the cutter and weed away any excess material, leaving only the design on the backing sheet. Lay the printed T-shirt on the heat press and position the Pearl film over the top. Cover with a silicone sheet and press for 15 seconds at 160°C. Once pressed, remove the T-shirt from the heat press, allowing it to cool. Remove backing and repress for five to 10 seconds if required.