We’ve tested over £2000 worth of DTF transfer film from 23 different manufacturers in 6 different countries and most of it was rubbish, despite the fact every manufacturer claiming to have the best material.
As you can see by the photo, even visually, there is a large variety of different film circulating the DTF market. Generally speaking, more opaque film resulted in better results because it tends to have more ink absorbing coating, however there were a few exceptions. One brand in particular sold us a roll of “DFT film” which looked perfect at first glance however after the first test it turned out that their coating was actually repelling the DTF ink. Usually this happens when you accidentally print on the wrong side of the film, however this was not the case. It was almost as if the film was coated in that new nanotube water repellent spray. Ink was being deposited in tiny droplets, combining into large droplets and then running straight off the film without leaving a trace. This was actually pretty impressive.
A lot of the film had loose powder coating which resulted in uneven prints and some areas just refused to take in. Handling such film was difficult with powder constantly being shaken off and fingertips leaving fingerprint marks all over the film.
Some films started off perfectly but then warped and bubbled during curing process. This one type of DTF film in particular seemed to have melting temperature below that of a DTF powder. We ended up melting the film before the powder and that was at 150C. Maybe it was designed for lower melting point powder? Bu then surely that would affect washability at high temperatures. This other type of film warped so much, it lifted itself up 10cm and stuck to the top of the oven, setting itself on fire and ruining the heating elements.
Finally, a few films did great during all the test but when it came to transferring the print onto a garment they would stick so hard to the t-shirts it almost created their own new thick and glossy heat transfer printing technology.
Out of 23 different types of DTF heat transfer film we’ve tested only 3 passed all check marks. This is a new and emerging technology so hopefully with time quality will improve.