How To Improve Your DTG Prints On 50/50 Garments

Jerzees-29M-50-50-Printed-not-PrintedIt’s fun for us to do the trade shows circuit with the Image Armor products. We often get DTG printers who stop by our booth and have never tried any of the Image Armor pretreatments. When they see what our pretreatments are capable of letting them achieve, they start to get excited.

One such example is pretreating all of your white and light colored 50/50 garments with our LIGHT Shirt Formula. Why? As can be seen in the image to the left (click to enlarge) just simply pretreating the blended shirt will allow you to achieve much richer colors, blacker blacks, and an increased image detail that will help take your prints to the next level – one you’ll be proud to offer to your customers.

Some reason that they can just do a double print to up the black intensity and color vibrancy. The problem there is that while it might help improve the image quality a little bit, you’re doubling your ink cost AND wash fastness will be even worse. There’s only so much ink that can “hold” to the garment. The LIGHT Shirt formula works to increase wash durability on 50/50’s so that over the long haul you have a better looking shirt that lasts longer.

The great thing with our LIGHT Shirt Formula is that it works with pretty much every CMYK ink set on the market today. This means if you have an older Brother GT-541 or 782 printer you can make it look like a new printer. Your reds, which on those printers actually was more of a muted red, will be enhanced to the point you’ll want to print more shirts on your DTG printer.

All DTG printers will find that they can achieve better results using the LIGHT Shirt Formula. Give it a try. Adam from Surf Signs and Designs uses it with his Brother GT-3 garment printer for all of his CMYK printing. Watch his video testimonial from an actual user!

New Image Armor Inks for DTG Printing Coming in 2015

This image was printing on a 100% polyester shirt utilizing Image Armor LIGHT shirt formula and the new Image Armor CMYK Inks. The image is incredibly bright having an almost screen printed look.

Image Armor, LLC is excited to announce that we will be releasing a new line of DTG inks for the direct to garment printing industry in 2015. What we did for the industry with our line of pretreatments we plan on doing again with our new CMYK and white ink sets.

Initially we will be releasing our CMYK inks for the modified Epson series of DTG printers. Both bulk and bag forms will be available for purchase however no pricing structures have been set at this point in time. Image Armor’s goal is to bring more affordable, better performing inks to the masses to help the DTG industry grow. We see the future of our industry and it is much bigger than anyone can really imagine. The future of DTG starts right here in 2015.

As the new year progresses, we will be releasing the white ink for the modified Epson DTG printers as well as releasing ink sets for other brands of printers such as the Brother legacy printers (GT-541) as well as their new GT3 Series of printers.

The image above was printed on a 100% polyester shirt utilizing the Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula in conjunction with our new CMYK Image Armor Inks. The results really are that bright and bold and look as though it has been screen printed.

We are proud to be a part of the DTG printing experience and helping our customers find better solutions to help them be more successful in the direct to garment business. Image Armor is committed to finding Solutions for the DTG Industry.

We would love to hear what brand of printers and type of ink systems you would like to see brought to market first. So, let us know by using our Contact Us page.

2015 is going to be an awesome year for DTG! Happy New Year and thank you to everyone for making Image Armor the success that it is!


Wishing You and Your Families a Very Merry Christmas from Image Armor

Image Armor Merry Christmas

Everyone at Image Armor would like to thank you for a great 2014 and wish you a very Merry Christmas. And we hope that 2015 is very profitable for you, your family, and your company. Here at Image Armor, we hope to be able to help you be more profitable in 2015 with several new products that are sure to help change the way you work.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year DTG Industry!

100% Polyester DTG Printing Without Different Inks

Web-Header-1160x360-100-Percent-Polyester-Printing-2Sport-Tech 100 Poly Gold Shirt on heat press

Image Armor Has Done it Again

100% Polyester Printing with Regular Dupont Inks

Doing the IMPOSSIBLE is what we’ve always strived to bring to our customers. Products that improve the DTG printing experience is what drives us to constantly improve the direct to garment printing process. Up until today, polyester printing with DTG has been limited to CMYK only on light or white colored polyester shirts.

However, in our constant pursuit of perfection, we’ve taken another step closer to the holy grail of DTG printing – white inks on black polyester fabrics. WE’RE NOT THERE YET, but the results of our process speaks volumes about the direction of the DTG market.

Utilizing our existing Image Armor LIGHT Shirt formula, we have been able to achieve commercially acceptable white ink prints on mid-colored polyester fabrics. The process is relatively straight forward, but we are expecting the RIP manufacturers to follow suit to give end users this ability from within the RIP itself to make it much easier to accomplish. Currently we have to do a little “workaround” to make the magic happen.

STEP 1: Pretreat the Shirt

Pretreat the shirt using Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula. We utilized the Sport-Tek ST350 series 100% poly performance shirt (more on this in a minute) and applied 24 grams of pretreatment on the polyester shirt. The PT was then cured at 330F for two 20 second presses utilizing brown KRAFT type paper. I would not recommend using teflon as it will definitely shine up the shirt too much. The platen was raised to allow steam to escape and create a much more thorough and dry cure in between presses. We utilized a Stahl’s Hotronix Air Fusion heat press with 70 psi. A little experimentation might find that slightly more PT may help.

A NOTE ABOUT POLYESTER SHIRTS: We must note here at this point that some polyester shirts are better than others for printing. We did not some discoloration of the polyester fabric on the yellows and greys with the Sport-Tek ST350’s (it was not massive but some might find it unacceptable). However, we’ve seen some others that do not discolor. Sometimes this discoloration comes out in the wash, other times it does not.  You’ll need to do some research on what polyester brand and shirts work best for your shop.


100-Percent-Polyester-WashedPrinting the under base is key to getting these polyester shirts with white ink to print correctly. Normally some RIPs will print a solid under base of white under the entire design on a gold shirt like in our example above. However, for technical reasons you will get poor results if you do that with this process.

What you need to do is act as though you are printing the design (specifically the under base) on a black shirt. If your RIP allows you to utilize the black of the shirt color for the black in the printed design, then the RIP will not print any white ink where black is in the design  (the shirt would be the black ink of the design). This process generally creates awesome fades on the DTG prints. This is also exactly what we want for our mid and light colored polyester shirts as far as the under base.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but black ink does not technically need an under base beneath it to look good on any shirt. You can see on our grey shirt to the right, what this white under base looks like when printed. Notice where black would be in the image there is NO white under base – this is extremely important. FAILURE TO ENSURE THE BLACK DOES NOT HAVE ANY WHITE UNDERBASE UNDER IT WILL RESULT IN A LESS THAN DESIRABLE FINAL PRINT ON POLYESTER FABRICS.

Note, your RIP must allow you to ONLY PRINT this under base. You DO NOT want to print the CMYK associated with this RIP’d design. Why? Again, we are not printing on a BLACK shirt. That’s why. So, you must be able to separately print the under base from the CMYK.

It might be noted at this time that the more white ink your printer can put down at this stage is crucial. Set it to a maximum amount of white ink. If you try to go back and print the under base again (as in a 2x under base) there will be massive bleeding of moisture around the edges of where the white ink and polyester meet. Try to bump up the white under base so it is dropping as much white ink as possible without over saturation to achieve a solid white layer of ink film.

STEP 3: Print the CMYK and HIGHLIGHT White

Now, we need to take the same exact image and print it in exactly the same place but with a CMYK + White Highlight option. In our RIP we utilized the CMYK + White highlight as though we were printing on a dark colored shirt (such as GOLD). This would normally print a solid white under base (which we do not use) and then the CMYK as normal with the highlight white.

Skip to main content  Dashboard Home Updates  18 Who’s Online Who’s Been Online  Jetpack Jetpack Settings Omnisearch Site Stats Akismet  Posts All Posts Add New Categories Tags  Media Library Add New  Pages All Pages Add New  Portfolio All Projects Add New Project Types Project Tags Feedback  Portfolio All Portfolio Items Add Portfolio Item Portfolio Category  Contact Us Profiles Add New Profile Groups Email Inquiry Settings  Sweepstakes  Forms All Forms Add New Submissions Import / Export Settings System Status Extend  Theme Options  Appearance Themes Customize Widgets Menus Edit CSS Background Editor  Plugins  13 Installed Plugins Add New Editor Visitor Maps Options  Users All Users Add New Your Profile  Tools Available Tools Import Export  Settings General Writing Reading Media Permalinks Easy Columns Google Analytics Social Sweepstakes TinyMCE Advanced TinyMCE prof. Styles Countdown WP Better Emails View Counter Sharing WP Tiles  Security Dashboard Settings Advanced Backups Logs Help  Floating Social Media Settings Floating Social Media Settings Premium Misc Troubleshoot Expert Support Help  Sitemap Generator Options  Subscribe2 Your Subscriptions Readygraph App Subscribers Settings Send Email  Info Boxes Shortcode And Widget Collapse menu Skip to toolbar Image Armor DTG Pretreatment Solutions 1813 Plugin Updates, 5 Theme Updates New View Post Security  Howdy, admin Log Out Help Screen Options Edit Post Add New Enter title here Permalink:…different-inks/ ‎Edit View Post Get Shortlink  Add MediaAdd CounterContact  Add Contact Form TextVisual File Edit Insert View Format Table Tools    Paragraph   p Word count: 887 Draft saved at 3:02:53 pm. Last edited by admin on September 11, 2014 at 2:59 PM  Nimbus Featured Image Options Remember you need to attach a Featured Image for these setting to take effect.  	Include Image at the Top of the Page 	Include in Slideshow Enter a Caption:    Nimbus Sidebar Options Sidebar #	  Publish  Preview Status: Draft Edit Edit status  Visibility: Public Edit Edit visibility  Publish immediately Edit Edit date and time Enable SSL:  Publicize: Facebook: Image Armor, Twitter: @ImageArmor Edit Settings Move to Trash  Categories All Categories Most Used  Education  Customer Testimonials  Press Release  Uncategorized + Add New Category   Tags Tags   Separate tags with commas X 100%X CMYKX direct to garmentX DTGX highlightX PolyesterX shirtX white ink Choose from the most used tags  Featured Image 100% DTG Printing on Polyester with DTG Inks  Remove featured image  Append A Ninja Form   Nimbus SEO Panel Fill in the fields below to optimize your post or page for search engines.  Title:	 Keywords:	 Description:	 Recomended Characters Left: 35  Sharing   Show sharing buttons.  Subscribe2 Notification Override Check here to disable sending of an email notification for this post/page    Thank you for creating with WordPress. Version 4.0 4 visitors online now 3 guests, 0 bots, 1 members Max visitors today: 8 at 01:13 am UTC This month: 12 at 09-04-2014 10:22 pm UTC This year: 243 at 08-24-2014 02:49 pm UTC All time: 243 at 08-24-2014 02:49 pm UTC  Close media panel Insert Media Create Gallery Set Featured Image Insert from URL Insert Media Upload FilesMedia Library Drop files anywhere to upload or  Select Files Maximum upload file size: 32 MB.  Insert into postWhat this achieves is allowing the BLACK ink to print directly onto the garment since there should be no white under base in those areas. And, we also get a highlight white to help augment the optical brightness of the white ink.

Please note, you may need to reduce the white highlight percent lower to keep the CMYK (especially black ink) from mixing with the wet white highlight being printed. In our case, we utilized a 50% highlight and 100% white under base (higher values may work – some experimentation will be required). The CMYK was printed at a standard 65% setting. Your printer and ink set and polyester shirts might require some testing on settings, but it is worth it.

Once the shirt is printed, we have to heat set the ink.

STEP 4: Cure the Ink

Here is where it can get sticky. We strictly adhered to Duponts technical sheet of the cure time for their Artistri inks. 120 seconds in the heat press at 338F. I would not recommend higher temps due to the shirt dyes sublimating through the white ink. This seems to give an incredible great balance to wash ability and optical brightness, even on gold 100% polyester fabrics.

Our curing parameters we used a Hotronix Fusion heat press (non-pneumatic) at a pressure of 3-4 on the digital display. Do not use too much pressure and “kill” the inks by pushing them into the shirt.


The shirt is printed, cured, and ready to roll. We’ve found excellent washability with the white ink and CMYK prints utilizing this technique without having to purchase any additional or different ink sets while at the same time utilizing our popular IMAGE ARMOR LIGHT Shirt Formula. This reduces the number of pretreatments needed to achieve great results with all of your current equipment.

Now, since you understand our process, a little experimentation on your end and happy customers will make the hard work on this end all pay off.


Below is a picture of wash testing. The picture is a 5x wash in hot/cold and drying hot. Note the closeup inset of the picture. The ink is wrapped around the fibers of the polyester and interweaved – so it is not going anywhere. The drop in initial color vibrancy is maybe 5% like expected even on cotton but there is ABSOLUTELY NO HAND OR FEEL TO THE PRINT AT ALL AT THIS POINT.



Below is a picture and closeup of the same shirt as above, washed and dried 10 times. There is still no noticeable difference between this and the 5x washing. The closeup reveals a better revelation of the white ink still wrapped around the individual fibers of the polyester shirt. The image is still extremely commercially acceptable after 10x washes.


[No pictures in galley]
Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula

Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula Available in 5 Gallon Cubes

Image Armor LIGHT Shirt FormulaImage Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula is available now in 5 gallon CUBE containers.

This new LIGHT Shirt Formula increases vibrancy and detail while improving wash fastness for CMYK and White+CMYK prints. It is great for achieving sublimation like prints on white 100% polyester shirts  while increasing printing options on 50/50 blends and 100% cotton white and light colored shirts.


Stop wasting ink printing two passes to achieve good opacity. The LIGHT Shirt Formula boosts the vibrancy beyond anything you though achievable with DTG printing on your white and light colored shirts.

These 5 gallon CUBES are available from any authorized Image Armor Pretreatment Dealer.

Image Armor Light Release

New Image Armor Light Shirt Formula Now Available

Image Armor Light White Background with Mirror

Image Armor is proud to announce the release of the new Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula for White and Light Colored garments.

The new LIGHT Shirt Formula expands your printing capabilities beyond anything you thought possible with increased vibrancy and wash fastness like you’ve never seen before in DTG printing.

The new LIGHT Shirt Formula gives:

  • Increased vibrancy, detail and wash fastness on White and Light colored 50/50 shirts, White and light colored 100% cotton shirts, and White 100% Polyester shirts
  • For use with CMYK only printing OR white+CMYK printing
  • No staining or scorching on white or light colored garments
  • Easy to use – no mixing required

Image Armor Light AdThe new LIGHT Shirt Formula will change the way you print DTG shirts. Using it on white shirts for just CMYK printing will yield high end screen printing like quality prints with great wash fastness. Works great on 50/50 or even white 100% polyesters shirts opening new markets for your DTG Printer. When printing on white 100% polyester fabrics you can achieve sublimation like prints at a fraction of the labor and costs. Plus, opening the door to 50/50 shirts will expand your printing options and give customers more choices over only printing 100% cotton garments.

Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula is priced just right also, allowing you to pre-treat all your light shirts for as little as $.10-.20 per shirt depending on application method, consistency and area covered. For just a little additional cost per shirt you can give your customers improved vibrancy, wash fastness and detail like never before.

Jerzees 29M and Image Armor Printing Results

As can be seen in the photograph to the left, the left side of this image was not pretreated while the right side of the shirt was pretreated with Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula. The shirt was a 50/50 Jerzees 29M white t-shirt. Previously, untreated 50/50 blend shirts left the colors dull and wash fastness lacking as much of the image faded the first wash or two. With Image Armor Light Shirt Formula you can see a definite increase in detail, color vibrancy and the wash fastness will enhance the perceived value of your garments as well as give your DTG printing business a new found legitimacy on a wider variety of garment colors and styles.

See our Dealer Network for purchasing Image Armor Light Shirt Formula.

Jerzees 29M and Image Armor Printing Results

Print White 50/50 Cotton/Polyester Blended Shirts That Look Like High End Screen Printing

Traditionally the standard 50/50 shirts has not been a great product to print with the DTG process. Untreated shirts would have very weak, fuzzy, and non-bright images. The pretreatments that were available on the market were extremely expensive and were mainly dedicated to just 100% cotton shirts. Some previous formulas just diluted a dark shirt formula or utilized a CMYK only formula that would not also work with white ink.

Image Armor Light blows all of the previous realities of printing 50/50 blends out of the water with incredible results that just have to be seen to be believed.

The new Light Shirt Formulation of Image Armor builds upon our knowledge of our successful Dark Shirt Formula. We approached the problem of a Light Shirt Formula from the aspect of the end user. We asked ourselves “What would WE WANT in a Light shirt pretreatment?”.

Image Armor Light Shirt formula takes these characteristics and brings to market an incredible product.

  • Works with 100% White Polyesters, White and light colored 50/50 shirts and white and light 100% cotton shirts
  • No staining or “burning” or shirt color shifts that are common with other pretreatments.
  • Printing with only CMYK produces great results
  • Printing White + CMYK also works great
  • Super easy to apply either by hand or by automated machine.
  • It is Ready-tTo-Use right out of the container

As can be seen in the following picture there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between untreated and treated shirts. Our example below is printed on a Jerzees 29M 50/50 white t-shirt. The left side has NO pretreatment while the right side has the Image Armor Light Shirt Formula. We laid down 15 grams of pretreatment and heat set for 2 presses of 20 seconds each. Then, we just printed the default CMYK ink settings. As you can see, the results are dramatic.


The question now becomes…Why would you NOT pretreat every shirt – including white 50/50 or 100% cotton shirts? With Image Armor Light Shirt Formula the visual and washability difference is incredible. These improved characteristics raise the level of quality you are giving your customers and will result in higher end customer satisfaction. And that brings customers back to you again and again.

Image Armor Light is Ready-To-Use and will be available from all of our distributors December 1st, 2013.

This is what happens when pretreatment is not applied correctly

What happens when pretreatment is not applied correctlyImage Armor thought that many new users might be able to learn what happens when ink is printed over an area of a garment with no pretreatment. When pretreatment is not applied or not applied correctly to a shirt the results usually render the shirt unsellable.

In the photo above the difference is easily seen between non-pretreated and pretreated areas. What happened in the above example is a case where the image was printed over an area where the pretreatment had ended. The result of printing white ink and CMYK on top of a non-pretreated shirt (left side) results in poor coverage, the white ink not “flashing”, and a totally unusable portion of the print. Where the pretreatment had good application (right side) the print is crisp with bright whites and colors.

The lesson to learn here is to apply the correct amount of pretreatment, evenly as possible, to your shirts before you print. Otherwise, you just wasted a shirt, ink, time, and money that should have been in your pocket.



15X Wash and Dry Test of Light Shirt Formula on 100% Cotton

15X Wash & Dry for New Light Shirt Formula Soon To Be Released

15X Wash and Dry Test of Light Shirt Formula on 100% Cotton15X WASH/DRY CYCLES – 100% COTTON FABRIC TEST PRINT
Here’s the 15X washing and drying of our soon to be released Light Shirt Formula. This formula is designed to be applied to white and light colored shirts that are 100% cotton, 50/50 blends and 100% polyester garments.The photo to the left is printed on a 100% cotton fabric (click image to enlarge). The top half of the image is the unwashed control sample with the left side having NO pretreatment applied and the right side pretreated. The bottom half of the picture is the same shirt washed and dried through 15 cycles. As can be seen in the photograph, there is a slight loss of color between the unwashed and washed versions on the pretreatment and un-pretreated sides. The close-up inset shows a better image of the washed and not treated/treated sides. You can see the blacks are still very black versus the much grayer looking non-treated side.

Below is the 100% polyester shirt sample showing the same scenario of the cotton shirt above. The new Image Armor Light Shirt formula gives sublimation printing a run for its money at a more economical cost while maintaining incredible vibrancy wash after wash. Click on the image below to enlarge it for better viewing.

15X Wash and Dry Test of Light Shirt Formula on 100% Polyester

We are expecting Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula to be released early December 2013.

10x Washing Update on Soon To Be Released Light Shirt Formula

10X-Washing-Polyester-Sample-Test-#39100% POLYESTER FABRIC TEST PRINT 10X RESULTS
Here’s the 10X washing and drying of our soon to be released Light Shirt Formula. This formula is designed to be applied to white and light colored shirts that are 100% cotton, 50/50 blends and 100% polyester garments.The photo to the left is printed on a 100% polyester fabric (click image to enlarge). The top half of the image is the unwashed control sample with the left side having NO pretreatment applied and the right side pretreated. The bottom half of the picture is the same shirt washed and dried through 10 cycles. As can be seen in the photograph, there is a slight loss of color between the unwashed and washed versions on the pretreatment and un-pretreated sides.Again, a significant difference can be seen on the washed version between the pretreated/no pretreatment versions. As can be seen, there is a significant difference between pretreating and not pretreating a garment.

Below is the 100% cotton shirt sample showing the same scenario of the polyester shirt above. The new Image Armor CMYK formula really enhances the end results of the DTG print. Our goal is to continue to improve and further the direct to garment printing industry’s ability to provide our customers with the easiest to use, best performing products we are capable of manufacturing.



We are expecting Image Armor LIGHT Shirt Formula to be released early December 2013.