How to Print on Wood Using DTG (Direct to Garment) Printing

NOTE: This article comes from KatanaDTG.

Printing on wood is fun and easy with most direct to garment printers.  As long as you have the ability to adequately adjust the z-axis height (the relative distance between the print head and the substrate), the process is relatively simple!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Blank wood panels (the ones we used are available from Hobby Lobby and other craft stores)
  • Masking tape or painters tape
  • White gesso or water based primer
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic finishing spray to protect the printed image

STEP ONE: Wipe down each piece of wood to remove residual sawdust and other debris.

STEP TWO: Mask the outside edges of the wood with tape.

Using a low-tack masking tape, tear off small pieces and work your way around the border of the wood.  This allows you to preserve the outer bark layer, which enhances the final appearance of the printed wood.  If you are using pieces of wood without bark, you can simply tape around the outside edges to prevent runoff from the primer layer or overspray from the printing process.

STEP THREE: Coat the wood in some sort of water based primer or white gesso.

The gesso (or primer) allows the inks to adhere properly to the wood, creating a beautiful print.  You can use any sort of white water based primer, white gesso (a common painting product artists use to coat their canvas prior to painting), or even a clear gesso if you want more of the wood grain to show through.  For this example, we used a Bob Ross brand white gesso, available from Hobby Lobby and other craft supply stores.  Allow the primer coat to fully dry, prior to moving on to the next step.

STEP FOUR: Measure the wood (we’re gonna gloss right over the myriad of joke opportunities) and set the general size of the artwork in the RIP.

Measure the width and height of each piece of wood, prior to attempting to print.  Set the width / height to ensure the printed image will cover the entire piece of wood.  This step can take some practice, as you want to ensure all critical parts of the image are printed within the boundaries of the odd-shaped wood – make sure you select each piece based on its general compatibility with the desired artwork.

STEP FIVE: Print a test image for alignment.

Tape a piece of paper (or paper towel, in our case) to the platen, lower the ink volume significantly to reduce potential bleeding, then print a test print directly on the paper.  Once the image is printed, tape the wood in the desired location, directly on top of the test print – make sure you adjust the z-axis at this point, to accommodate the thickness of the wood (once again, glossing right past that).

STEP SIX: Print your image!

SOME NOTES FOR ADJUSTING YOUR PRINT SETTINGS: We used Kothari RIP on a Katana PRO printer, so we made a series of specific adjustments to get the best results on each piece of wood:

  • Printed in high resolution, 1440 x 1440 mode

  • Changed to uni-directional printing rather than bi-directional, allowing for more flexibility on the print head height

  • Lowered the color volume to 35% to prevent bleeding

  • Added a 300 ms delay between each scan line pass, allowing more time for ink to dry

Once your image has been printed, you can remove the masking tape from around the edges of the wood – your incredible wood print is nearly done, at this point!

FINAL STEP: Apply a clear acrylic top coat to protect the printed image.

You can use almost any type of clear acrylic spray coat for this step – the point is to seal in the image, since we don’t actually heat set the ink at any point.  You can purchase various types of sealants at any art or craft store, or swing by your local hardware store and purchase a can of clear acrylic spray.

HAPPY PRINTING!
BE CREATIVE!

Buy and Sell DTG Printers and Accessories in the NEW Community Marketplace!

We are working hard to improve DTG Print Solutions, with the intentions of providing the best tips, tricks and resources for the DTG printing industry.  With this in mind, we have created an area on our website called the Community Marketplace, which we hope to build into the premier marketplace for used (and possibly new) DTG printers, pretreat machines, supplies and lots more!

buy-or-sellHOW DOES IT WORK?

Anyone with a used DTG printer, accessory or assorted supplies can post ads in the Community Marketplace.  The system works similar to the popular Craigslist platform in terms of self-moderation and management; you create your own ads, upload photos and a detailed description of what you are selling, then post the ad – buyers contact you directly (you can mask your e-mail address when posting) and all transactions are handled privately.

SELL YOUR DTG PRINTER!

Guidelines for Posting Ads:

  1. Neoflex Printer in ActionBe Honest and Transparent – Don’t Skimp on the Descriptions: Make sure you describe what your are selling honestly and accurately.  Describe the condition of the equipment, and don’t leave out any flaws or broken parts.  Buyers of used DTG printers often understand what they are looking for, and any information they can get about what might need replacing will not only allow them to make an informed buying decision that is compatible with their specific business model, but also help ensure a more successful and enjoyable experience for both parties.  Any ads with false or misleading information will be removed.
  2. Be Tidy: Please be sure you delete your ad once your equipment is sold.  This will prevent a bunch of follow up leads trying to contact you after your printer has been sold, and it will allow potential buyers to focus on the most current and relevant listings.
  3. Use High Quality Photos: Small, grainy photos don’t show anything and do little to help enable a more informed decision for the buyer.  Make sure all photos are of decent size and quality, and try to highlight the important aspects of whatever you are selling.  Photos sell products, so please take this step seriously.
  4. Offer Your Buyers a Great Deal: We all know the used  DTG printer market is tough – these products tend to lose value quickly in this industry and it breaks our heart to take a major loss after (often) such a short period of time.  However, make sure you are pricing your equipment realistically, understanding that the main reason most people buy used is to save money.  Offer your potential buyers a great bargain and your listing won’t last long – the better the bargain, the faster your stuff will sell!  Also don’t forget to describe any additional supplies, equipment or replacement parts you are including in your listing (if any).

BUY A DTG PRINTER!

For buyers, this will create a concentrated supply of options to make the buying process easier, while hopefully providing for the best possible deals and the fastest way to compare printers and accessories!  Keep the following points in mind, when considering used equipment:

  1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  DTG printing is not easy, whether you buy new or used.  Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into and find out everything you can about your potential purchase.  Ask about any parts that might need replacing and ask why the user is selling their equipment (don’t necessarily take it at face value when they say “they machine is great, I just don’t have the clients to support it”).  Go online and research any brand or model prior to making a decision, and whenever possible, try to see the machine printing in person, before you make any commitments!  This is a major decision, so take your time and be smart about the process.  Caveat Emptor (“buyer beware”).
  2. Try to See the Equipment in Action, Prior to Purchasing: Although this was mentioned above, it merits repeating.  Nothing will tell you more than actually watching a machine print, while evaluating the actual print speeds, ink costs, output quality, etc (preferably with artwork of your own choosing).  If there are any major issues, or if it takes a long time to finally get a decent print, you can understand these before you actually take the printer home.  Many people tend to remove the ink from their machines, once they decide they don’t want to do DTG printing anymore – it isn’t always feasible to ask them to re-ink their machine, but someone who wants to make the sale and who is supremely confident with the condition of the printer should be able to accommodate such a request…  After all, this is usually not a small purchase.
  3. Any Deals Made are Strictly Between the Buyer and the Seller: DTG Print Solutions is not involved in any way with any specific transaction, and we do not warrant or guarantee anything that is bought or sold through the Community Marketplace!  Just like Craigslist, we provide an open marketplace for users to buy and sell, and it is up to you to do so responsibly.  Unlike Craigslist, we provide a highly targeted stream of traffic and a very refined type of products and equipment, tailored specifically to this industry!

 

CAN I POST AN AD FOR FREE?

Absolutely!  The basic ad model is always free, which includes one photo and a short (200 characters) description of what you are selling.  However, we also offer additional ad models which allow for more photos and considerably longer descriptions, which would effectively improve your response ratio to any given ad.  Photos sell products!  Take a look at our various listing options, below:

marketplace-ad-prices

NOTE: In lieu of paying directly for your ad listings (for premium style ads), you can also purchase Credit Packs which can then be used to pay for your ads.  Credits remain on your account until you decide to use them, and packs are available for bulk sellers for as low as .50 per credit!  This means your cost for each listing would be half of what you see in the image above!  Click here to learn view Credit Pack options.

 

DOES IT HAVE TO BE USED EQUIPMENT?

No!  You can post ads for new equipment and supplies as well.

 

CAN MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS POST ADS?

Sure!  In fact, we encourage it.  However, unless you provide some sort of special offer, package deal or discount to incentive potential buyers to purchase new (rather than used), you might find it difficult to compete against the great deals on used equipment.

 

HOW DO PEOPLE FIND THE COMMUNITY MARKETPLACE ADS?

We have dedicated an entire portion of the website to the Community Marketplace, which visitors to our website can access by clicking the new link at the top of any page:

menu-bar-link

Additionally, we have integrated widgets into various portions of the website, which will constantly showing random and Featured ads while users are browsing the DTG Print Solutions website – viewers can even search listings with our powerful search interface, from any page on the site!

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Our website is a niche specialty site, focusing on a very specific portion of the market – our readers are exactly the people you are looking for to sell your used DTG printer to!  With over 20,000 page views in the last 30 days, we continue to grow our traffic to give you the greatest possibly exposure.  Remember, our viewers are highly targeted to this niche, so with your participation we can build the Community Marketplace to a thriving equipment listing in a short period of time.

 

bonus-free-creditsFor a limited time only, we are offering a FREE 30-Day “Enhanced” Listing credit to anyone with a new or used DTG printer to sell!  To receive your free credit, simply send an e-mail to info@dtgprintsolutions.com with your website account name and we will apply your credit within 24 hours!

Please make sure you have created an account on DTG Print Solutions (see link, below) and include your account name in the e-mail so we know where to apply your free credits!  Remember this offer is only for a limited time, so take advantage today and let us help you sell your printer!

Not currently a member of DTG Print Solutions?  Sign up today, for FREE!