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What is UV DTF Printing? Everything to Know

If you're familiar with tumbler wraps you're probably familiar with UV DTF....whether you realized it or not!

UV DTF, uv dtf stickers, UV DTF printer

But what is UV DTF? What are the pros and cons? Read on to learn more about the UV DTF printing - the latest digital printing method to hit the craft and "prosumer" market.

UV printing has been around for a long time. A UV printer uses specially formulated CMYK+W inks, along with a primer and/or gloss, to print directly onto an object. The ink is then cured with a UV light making it extremely durable.  

If UV printing is the cousin of Direct to Garment for hard goods, UV DTF printing is Direct to Film's (DTF) UV cousin. 

UV DTF printing is relatively new. Instead of printing onto the object directly, the UV printer prints on film to create a sticker or transfer. The sticker can then be applied to any color or hard surface. 

uv dtf sticker, uv dtf tumbler wrap

One of the biggest benefits to UV DTF stickers is that they are cutless and weedless and extremely durable which means once they come out of the printer they are pretty much ready to be used.  

Some printers self laminate to apply the transfer sheet. Others don't so you would have to apply the transfer manually.

UV DTF sticker, UV DTF printer

We're already starting to see "desktop size" UV and UV DTF printers coming to market. For example the Prestige Aries 113 roll to roll self-laminating UV DTF printer was released in January 2024.  

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At print industry tradeshows in late 2023 and 2024, Epson has also shown off their upcoming desktop flatbed UV printer that can print direct to object or direct to film. A release date for the still unnamed Epson UV printer has not yet been announced, but it's expected in 2024.

UV DTF Printer, UV Printer

Given the price point, UV DTF printers are likely far out of reach for hobby crafters and even many small businesses. That's certainly one of the biggest downsides to UV DTF printing right now. 

However, just like DTF transfers, an alternative option is to purchase UV DTF transfers.

UV DTF tumbler, tumbler wrap

They're extremely popular right now on drinkware, but also hold up well on things like bike and skateboard helmets, coasters, golf balls and other hard goods. 

As a test I put a mug with a UV DTF cup wrap in my dishwasher for a month straight with daily cycles. The UV sticker is still exactly the same as the day I put it on the mug.

UV DTF mug, UV DTF tumbler, UV DTF sticker


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