How to Print on Denim with a DTG Printer

Try this three-step process for perfectly printed denim

Printing customized denim garments can get those creative juices flowing for most print shops. At DTG Connection, we see customers print on custom denim jackets, jeans, and even skirts. Style, position, and graphic design have varied dramatically. In all cases, though, these prints become a statement for the customers wearing them. Below, I highlight one of these prints and share the best print settings to get the job done.

Notice the vibrancy in the design. This print on the back of a denim jacket turned out fantastic. If you look closely, you can see that the print goes over the seam of the jacket effortlessly.


The great thing about DTG printing is that you can hit those seams with no loss in image quality. The print heads do not actually touch the fabric; they hover just slightly above it, allowing you to print over those seams.

Settings used for this customized denim jacket

Step No. 1: Pretreat

You can see that the print has white ink. With DTG and white ink, you need to apply pretreatment to the garment. Pretreat the garment just as if you were pretreating a regular shirt and then dry. Please note that the heavier and darker the garment, the more pretreatment is needed.

Step No. 2: Prepress and load on the printer

Once the pretreat is dry, press the area of the print down to flatten out the image as best you can. Then load on to the printer. It’s not necessary to use the hoop.

Denim DTG Printer

Step No. 3: Adjust RIP settings

Your print settings won’t vary too much with denim versus a standard T-shirt, but you should make a few adjustments. Under your white ink settings, enable “content base” and increase the white ink under the respective colors to ensure you are getting the result you want. You want those bright colors to pop on the dark denim. For your CMYK settings, it’s recommended that you change the quality settings to “super fine” if you have the option on your printer. This slows the print down just a bit but ensures the detail print over the seams comes out as intended. Then, hit print, and that’s it.

These three steps are very similar to printing on a traditional T-shirt, but these subtle changes can make all the difference and help the print jump off the denim.

Learn more: DTG Print on Canvas Bags

Karl Tipre DTG Connection

Karl Tipre

DTG Connection

Karl is an executive manager with over 17 years of sales, marketing, and financial service experience. He led the sale of AnaJet Inc. to Ricoh Corporation in 2016. Karl continued to serve as CEO of AnaJet Inc. and Ricoh DTG until June 2020. His new passion is to network DTG printer users together to grow the global digital printing community. The DTG Connection team leverages the RICOH Ri 1000 and other DTG products and services to provide a total business solution to customers.

View all articles by Karl Tipre  

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