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How to Print a Black and White Image on DTG Printer onto a Black Shirt

how to print a black and white image on DTG printer onto a black shirt

Printing over dark colors can indeed be a challenging task as such prints mostly turn out to be dull. How to print a black and white image on DTG printer onto a black shirt shall walk you through the process of doing so. It is certain from here on you shall be able to do it efficiently. Reading ahead shall also let you know more about DTG printing as well. 

DTG printing

DTG or Direct To Garment printing or digital apparel printing happens to be a revolutionary technology that came up around the end 90s. Just like regular home printers, these printers to prints design directly over the garments instead of the paper. It basically uses inkjet technology for printing over various garment materials and is more known for making prints over shirts and t-shirts.

how to print a black and white image on DTG printer onto a black shirt

This printer first surfaced in the US in the year 1996 in Matthew Rhome’s first ever DTG printer commercial known as Revolution. And then from there on it graduated to a more advanced level as many other brands started to bring out similar DTG printers over the years.

The market for DTG printing

This market for DTG printers over the years has brought in high trends for the customization of these printers. The market reports of 2019, before the pandemic reads:

  • The printed garments using the DTG printers represent about 9% of the entire market for t-shirts across the globe. And North America is in the lead of this industry
  • The market in North America values at more than 2.5 billion showing annual growth of 10.5 % in the year 2021
  • The demand for customization and print-on-demand is on a rapid increase
  • This cost-effective choice is bringing in greater revenue by having a huge margin of profit as the increase for such prints is becoming more and more

How to print a black and white image on DTG printer onto a black shirt

Indeed it is a fact for certain that almost every people face great difficulty while trying to print black-and-white images using a DTG printer on a black shirt. The print always tends to turn out faded and hazy. It is actually very much easier to print on light-colored garments. There is always a concern about printing over dark-colored garments such as black because the color of the ink turns out to be lighter than the garment color making the print non-vibrant. As a resolution to this issue, designers use a white under base for making it work in the case of dark-colored garments such as black shirts.

 Printing a full-sized color image or black and white image can indeed make it difficult further. This is the reason why the DTG printing designers use water-based ink for their purpose as the colors such as CMYK or black and white ink tend to be translucent.

So, to make the image visible on a black shirt or on any dark-colored garments, first, they use a white base and then put color over it to make the image bright, visible, and vibrant. Once you get the under base right, the rest of the printing job becomes easier and hassle-free.  But indeed there are a few processes before getting the dark garments printed. It also applies to light garments as well. It has been discussed below.


All garments are not meant for having every type of print as this depends on the fabric it is made of. Some fabrics can hold every color very easily while some cannot. This is the reason that makes the brighter prints and as well as the black and white prints suitable for some garments while unsuitable for many other garments as well.

You cannot get the same image printed on every garment type. The format of DTG printing is much more delicate than screen printing and so it is not possible to print the same image on different fabrics using a DTG printer.

The fabric that works best with the DTG printing methods is cotton as the system of water-based ink in DTG printers makes it the perfect combination for this type of fabric. But you can still make this printing work on fabric that is half cotton and half polyester made.

Pretreating properly

how to print a black and white image on DTG printer onto a black shirt

The two major issues that happen while you are trying to make a black and white print over dark colors such as a black shirt are that, either the print comes very faded and dull or you face issues while washing it. And this happens because of improper application of pretreatment. To pretreat in DTG printing, take the help of a handheld power sprayer and spray in the front and the back of the garment properly for a few rounds. It takes about five seconds for getting the appropriate amount of solution on the shirt.

Environment of printing

The role of humidity is important here as DTG uses water-based ink. There should be around 40 to 50% of humidity in the printing room. And the room too must have a temperature of around 72° F to make it ideal for achieving the best results.

Modes of printing

Using the RIP software you shall be able to have control over the usage of ink. Since black materials or dark materials have a white underbase so it never requires a lot of ink for printing. 

Curing of the garments

Even though the black and white print may appear great while you are printing but may turn fade during the process of curing the garment. So, use heat over the image print that shall help you to get the process of curing done. O not apply pressure while doing the heat press. Only a medium pressure will cure the ink and even turn the black-and-white image much brighter as well.