Wait, it comes in black!?!

giving thanks for black dtf powder

Giving thanks for black dtf powder

"Does it come in black?"

-Bruce Wayne

The last quarter of the year is absolutely my favorite. Halloween in October, Christmas in December, and in between those two holidays we have the great Turkey Day, Thanksgiving. I like to use November as a time to reflect on the past year and be thankful for the things I have. This year I’m thankful for my family, my health, Innova’s Star Thunderbird Distance Driver, and the direct to film process.

DTF Station Hot Melt Powder for Direct to Film - BLACK 1 KG

There are a cornucopia of blogs, articles, and videos out there concerning the ever popular direct to film’s TPU powder. Also known as hot melting powder (or simply DTF powder), this stuffing is absolutely necessary for the direct to film process and a permanent fixture on my desk at work.

Now, what if I told you that the powder on my desk was a totally different color. That’s right my extended family, I have a full serving of BLACK DTF powder that was dropped on my plate, my fork, and the floor. 

Wait, it comes in black!?!?! That’s weird, why?

I’ll answer your question in a moment. We must do a quick definition with the appetizers: TPU is an acronym for “Thermoplastic Polyurethane”. This is another term for fancy plastic; TPU hot melting powder is essentially a specially formulated and bonded plastic that is ground really fine. 

Ok, why black?

Well, right out of the tin can, you can see the obvious reason:
  • Black powder is best for use with BLACK or DARK colored garments.
  • White powder is best for use with WHITE or LIGHT colored garments.

Oh, ok. So it’s just for color matching. But the white powder works on everything, dark and light garments. Doesn’t that defeat the point?

Hold on. There’s a really good, non-obvious reason to be thankful for with darker powder: Dye-Migration prevention on polyester or poly-blended shirts.

Another quick definition: Dye migration occurs when dye from polyester fibers bleed into the ink that is printed on the garment. It can occur on polyester and poly/cotton blend t-shirts when the garment is heated to temperatures above of 265°F (130°C), essentially the dye-sublimation process (which doesn’t work well with the DTF process). 

DTF Station Hot Melt Powder for Direct to Film - BLACK 1 KG

Black powder can help block out those migrating dyes from poor quality poly garments. The dyes can stain (or sublimate) onto the white powder where the color of the shirt starts to bleed through the designs. It is difficult to stain something that is already black (you’ve already maxed out all colors).

Full disclosure: black DTF powder has the potential to reduce vibrancy in your prints (colors “pop” more on white powder). This can be reduced significantly by using high quality garments, high quality PET film (PET or polyethylene terephthalate, another form of fancy plastic), and amazing ink. This is a minor issue but can be easily mitigated by purchasing good quality ingredients.

So wrap this up for me…

Black DTF powder is great to use on low quality polyester or poly-blended shirts, otherwise there is no big difference between the two colored powders. 

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Steven De Hoff

Content Writer & Editor

Steven has 10+ years of experience in the E-commerce space with an emphasis in storefronts and product listings. A classical connoisseur of the internet, Steven spends his free time staying away from it, instead choosing to be a dad and disc golfer.

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