Direct Transfer Film (DTF) and Sublimation | My Lessons Learned



When using Sublimation, a DTF Sheet and Powder can be the game changer! With proper setup, achieving vibrant colors on 100% cotton fabric is super easy.  I’ve only been working with this new medium for a couple of months now, but I have learned some important lessons during my short time working on the process. Both from personal experience and research I did online – so if you’re interested in knowing a few lessons that I have learned and how they work, then keep reading below

Tip #1 – DTF Print Setting

When I started using DTF, I found that the print quality was not as good as I wanted it to be. I used a high-quality print setting, and the ink would run when I was printing. I use an Epson WF 7210 that I converted for Sublimation, and I use Cosmo Ink. After researching, I realized I needed to use a lower print quality setting to get the best results. So I use just the “Normal” setting when printing my designs on the DTF Sheet.

DTF Lessons Learned WF 7210 Print Setting Screen Shot

Tip #2 – DTF Sheets

I’m not sure if this is a problem with all printers or just mine, but I found that the DTF sheets wouldn’t go through my printer. The printer feeds would not pick up the slick DTF sheets. So I learned a trick to help the DTF sheet feed through the printer. I take a piece of copier paper and attach it to the DTF sheet using painter’s tape, and it feeds through great!

DTF Lessons Learned DTF Sheet on Copy Paper

Tip #3 – DTF Heat Setting

Testing your design on a small sample is the best way to ensure that it will work well for everyone. I found myself testing at different temperatures and timing before releasing that 385°F for 30 seconds was what worked best for my heat press.

Tip #4 – DTF Pre-Setting

Once you have printed your design and added the DTF Powder, you want to Pre-Set your image. To pre-heat your DTF sheet, place it on the heat press and set the temperature to 385°F, and let the top of the heat press hover over the image for about 60 degrees. You want to ensure that the top of your heat press does not touch the design. Once it’s heated up, you’re ready to start pressing your designs!

DTF Lessons Learned Pre set design

Tip #5 – DTF Cooling

The last lesson that I have learned is a “Cool Peel.” You want to let the design cool completely before peeling – This step is essential! If you try to peel the transfer before it’s thoroughly cooled, you risk damaging the design. 

Looking back over my lessons learned with DTF sheets and powder, I realize now that one of my main lessons has been the importance of being patient and taking things slow when working with new medians. 

While there can be a rush and excitement to using new materials, taking your time to achieve the best results is crucial. So remember, let’s put the lessons learned to use and make something together.

Excited to get started on this project? Check out the video tutorial or follow the step-by-step instructions! You choose how you want to learn to do this project! The video tutorial is excellent for those who want to see the project come together, and the step-by-step instructions are perfect for those who want a more detailed look at each component. Either way, you’ll be able to create this project with ease! So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Let’s Try It!

So now that you have a few tips are you ready to try out Sublimation with DFT Sheets and Powder? Once you’ve figured out your supplies and settings, DTF printing is pretty straightforward. 


*Disclaimer: Links above are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission at no cost to you by clicking on these links. Some products may have been provided to me by vendors. However, all opinions and reviews are strictly my own.

Just follow these simple steps: 

Step #1 Design

Create your design in your favorite design software.


Step #2 Print

Print the design onto your transfer paper using sublimation inks. Remember our lessons learned on loading the DTF sheet and setting your print quality at “Normal,” Don’t forget to print your design as a mirror image.

DTF Lessons Learned WF 7210 Print Setting Screen Shot

Step #3 Add DTF Powder

Lay your design on a piece of butcher paper with the print side up. Cover the design with the DTF Powder.

DTF Lessons Learned add DTF Powder to Design

Making sure to cover the entire design with the powder. Then lift your design and shake off any excess powder.

DTF Lessons Learned Powder on Design

Pour the leftover powder back into the bag for your next project.

DTF Lessons Learned add excess DTF Powder back to bag

Step #4 Pre-Set Transfer

Now that your design is covered with DTF powder, it is time to Pre-set the design. To pre-heat your DTF sheet, place it on the heat press and set the temperature to 385°F, and let the top of the heat press hover over the image for about 60 degrees. You want to ensure that the top of your heat press does not touch the design. 

DTF Lessons Learned Pre set design

Step #5 Heat Press

Now it is time to press your design onto your garment. I used a 100% T-shirt for my design. Lay your t-shirt on my heat press plate, cover it with a piece of butcher paper, and pre-press it for 10 seconds. Then carefully lay your design face down on your garment, cover it with another piece of butcher paper, and press at 385°F for 30 seconds. 

DTF Lessons Learned Heat Press Design

Step #6 Cool Peel

Once the timer goes off, let the design cool completely before peeling the transfer paper away. 

DTF Lessons Learned Pressed Design Hot
DTF Lessons Learned Cool Peel

And that’s it! You’re now ready to start printing your own vibrant and color-rich DTF designs, and the bonus is that you can print on 100% cotton. If you have any questions about this process, leave a comment below. Happy printing! 


DTF Film & Powder is used to make the problem if you only have a sublimation printer. We will suggest you to use a DTF printer to get a best result!


Comments (2)

Hello, I have 2 questions. I an Epson 2800 converted to sublimination. After I preheat, I press the image for 365 for 30 seconds. Is this the correct heat and is it necessary to do a second heat press?


Just trying my first DTF something isnt right for me the image is not coming off the film like its suppose to what am
I doing wrong?

Michelle Collins

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