Step-by-Step Guide: How to Print Metallic Foil DTG Garments

Here's a simple, high margin technique to add some bling to your DTG products!

One of the easiest and most profitable ways to expand your product line in a DTG business is to offer metallic foil prints.  By adding a few simple steps to your printing process and a few pennies worth of foil, you can easily add $5-10 to your selling price of a garment without changing the design file.

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–  Special thank you to DTG Connection customer William Cervantes with DayOfTheDeadArtist.com for providing the graphics used in this blog post.  These graphics worked great for metallic foil DTG prints!

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Metallic gold foil

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Step 1 - Prepare Your RIP file

Be sure to set up your RIP to include a white underbase so that the foil will stick to the white ink (even if it has CMYK on top).

Step 2 - Print the Garment

Send the RIP file to your printer and follow the normal printing process.  Once the print is complete, you’ll want to move the garment directly to the heat press.  Do not allow the ink to dry before moving to step 3.  Tunnel or conveyer dryers will not work for foil prints.

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Step 3 - Apply the Foil Sheet

Before you close the heat press, apply a sheet of foil on top of the printed garment.  Be sure to apply with shinny side up.

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Step 4 - Clamp Down the Heat Press

Close the heat press with moderate pressure with normal settings.  We usually suggest 330 degrees for 90 seconds.

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Step 5 - Remove the Garment

Remove the garment from the heat press and allow it to cool to the touch.  Then, peel away the foil sheet to reveal your finished product!

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Additional Tips For Best Results

Here are a few tips to ensure you get the best results when applying foil:

  • Pre-cut your sheets of foil prior to printing (or while the garment is printing) to ensure the ink is still wet when applying the foil.
  • Always print with a white under-base when applying foil. Even if your final product will be on a white garment, you still need a white under-base because the white ink acts as glue for the foil. CMYK ink alone will not work with the foil.
  • Avoid allowing the foil to slide around on the pint so you don’t smear the ink.
  • The foil is semi-transparent. There will be a hint of the underlying color passing through the foil.  Experiment with this to enhance the look of the final garment.
  • It is important to apply a good amount of even pressure with the heat press to help the foil adhere to the garment properly. If your foil is not sticking to the garment, it is likely you are not applying enough pressure, or you do not have a white under-base.
  • Get creative by adding or removing foil on part of the graphic to draw attention to something on the garment — rather than foil the entire graphic. You can even use different colored foils on the same garment.
  • Try crumpling the foil prior to applying it to the garment for a different look. One example is to use crumpled gold foil to produce a gold bar effect.
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