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How to Make DTF Transfers Feel Softer and More Breathable: A Guide by Armor Ink

How to Make DTF Transfers Feel Softer and More Breathable: A Guide by Armor Ink

DTF (Direct-to-Film) transfers have gained significant popularity in the apparel decorating industry due to their versatility and durability. However, some transfers can feel plasticky, and lack breathability, which can affect the overall quality of the final product. At Armor Ink, we believe in providing exceptional transfers that not only look great but also feel softer and more breathable than our competitors. In this blog post, we'll share our expertise and outline some essential steps to achieve superior DTF transfers.

Inks & Powders

  • Quality Ink and Powder Supplies are a MUST! When it comes to creating high-quality DTF transfers, compromising on ink and powder supplies is not an option. To ensure excellent results, it is crucial to partner with a consistent provider who uses top-notch components in their supplies. At Armor Ink, we prioritize quality and meticulously source our ink and powder supplies, ensuring vibrant colors, exceptional adhesion, and unparalleled softness.
  • Less is More: To enhance the softness and breathability of DTF transfers, we use less white back layer ink. By reducing the amount of white ink, the transfer becomes thinner and is not as heavy on the shirt, which produces a better feeling shirt for our customers.  Be careful though, when you remove to much white ink then it will leave the colors faded.  We have found the perfect ratio to keep our colors vibrant while keeping the transfer as light as possible.
  • Additionally, knocking off excess powder from the transfer helps ensure a consistent soft texture, giving it a lighter feel.  We've found that this can only be achieved by using an industrial shaker with the proper setup to ensure that the shaker is doing an excellent job.  


  • Use Heavy Pressure: Applying heavy pressure during the transfer process is vital to achieve a soft and well-bonded result. By thoroughly engraining the ink into the fabric fibers, the transfer feels less plasticky and more integrated with the garment. Our industrial grade heat presses at Armor Ink allows for precise control of pressure, ensuring optimal results.  If you are purchasing the transfers for your own use and you don't have a heat press, check out our heat press blog post here.
  • Use a 2nd Press: One of the secrets to achieving exceptionally soft and breathable DTF transfers is using a second press. This additional step helps further embed the ink into the fabric, resulting in a softer and more integrated feel.  We know some other DTF sellers say that their transfers need to be pressed only once, but from our testing of their products they should absolutely be pressing twice as the longevity and feel is affected.
  • 2nd Presses Can be Tweaked with Different Cover Sheets: To provide a diverse range of textures and feels, we have experimented with various cover sheets during the second press. Parchment paper, butcher paper, spare t-shirts, and silica mats can all be utilized to give the transfer a unique characteristic. By selecting the appropriate cover sheet, we can cater to different preferences, ensuring a superior and customized experience for our customers.  We recommend experimenting with these cover sheets for yourself to produce the best results for your customers.

Editing Designs

Lion Halftone
  • Image Editing Can Work Wonders: Optimizing the design itself plays a significant role in achieving softer and more breathable DTF transfers. Using halftones allows for the creation of visually appealing images while providing space within the transfer for improved breathability. There is definitely a learning curve to understanding how to properly halftone an image but once it is done properly it is an incredible tool to have.


  • Additionally, employing a color knockout allows for more space in the design, creating more breathable surface. These methods not only enhance the transfer's feel but they result in a superior end product for the customer. 
  • Below are two example images to demonstrate how color removal works.  In this example we are going to be applying the design to a black shirt so we are removing the black from a design. 

    Halloween Monster Black Knock Out
    Halloween Monster With Black

    The file on the left shows how all of the black has been removed from the design file and you are left with large areas of nothing.  This is actually a great thing as it will allows openings in the design for the fabric to breath and use the natural black pigments of the shirt.  The file on the right shows what the image will look like when pressed on a black shirt.  This method is by far our favorite when you know the color of shirt you will be using as it produces unbelievably soft, breathable, and stunning designs that are sure to impress your customers!
  • Only at Armor Ink do you have the option to have a DTF provider to knock out the white and black colors for you on our entire catalog of transfers!

    At Armor Ink, we take pride in our commitment to providing high-quality DTF transfers that not only look exceptional but also feel softer and more breathable than our competitors. If you are looking to print your own DTFs you can just follow these steps, do a lot of experimenting, and you'll be able to print transfers that stand out in terms of quality, comfort, and longevity.  If you want to purchase DTFs and not have to struggle with all of these things, you can purchase from us and know that we have you covered! 

    Don't settle for less when it comes to your printing needs - choose Armor Ink to Defend Your Style for a superior DTF transfer experience!

    *Want to try a free sample pack?  Click Here!

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