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How to Store DTF Transfers: A Step-by-Step Guide

Sep 11, 2023

how to store DTF Transfer

As the popularity of Direct-To-Film transfers continues to grow, the attention is frequently directed towards the creation and pressing stages, while the crucial storage phase often goes unnoticed. However, the distinction between an impressive transfer and a lackluster one can hinge on the quality of storage.

One notable advantage of utilizing direct-to-film technology is the flexibility it offers in terms of pressing transfers as needed. This frequently prompts a common question: "What is the shelf life of DTF transfers?" The answer lies in the intricate interplay of materials and chemicals, which includes elements such as ink, PET film, and the adhesive potency of the hot melt powder.

This comprehensive tutorial will guide you through the process of storing DTF transfers correctly. It also provides you with step-by-step instructions and valuable tips to ensure their long-lasting vibrancy and functionality. Let’s get started.

The Evolution of DTF Transfers

Direct to Film (DTF) transfers have completely changed the way of printing and design. It provides a flexible and effective means to produce high-quality graphics on a variety of surfaces.

The DTF transfer technique consists of projecting an image onto photographic film. These methods employ techniques such as optical printing, contact printing, or mechanical processes to achieve the desired outcome. This way we can transfer any image to another object like t-shirts, mugs, frames and more.

The durability and quality of DTF transfers is essential for a commercial printer or an amateur who is ready to explore creative possibilities.

Why Should DTF Transfers Be Stored (Risk Factors)? 

DTF transfers can have their effectiveness and quality affected by a variety of environmental conditions. We need to know why adequate storage is important before we get into the mechanics of storing DTF transfers. 

These risk elements consist of:

  • Temperature: The adhesive qualities of DTF transfers may be compromised in extremely hot or cold temperatures. For them to retain their adhesive power, stable temperature settings must be used for storage.
  • Moisture: Humidity and moisture can cause the film and the adhesive backing of the transfer to degrade. Moisture exposure can cause the transfer to distort, which makes application challenging.
  • Sunlight: Extended exposure to direct sunlight can cause the transfer's design to fade and lose its color. The pigments and glue are destroyed by UV light, which lowers the transfer's utility and aesthetic attractiveness.
  • Dust and debris: Dust and debris can stick to the adhesive side of DTF transfers, which will make it more difficult for them to apply smoothly. The transfer's immaculate quality is preserved through proper storage, which also helps avoid contamination.

tips for storing DTF transfers

How long can DTF transfers be stored? 

The shelf life of DTF (Direct-To-Film) transfers typically depend on various factors, including the quality of materials used, storage conditions, and environmental factors. In general, we recommend storing DTF transfers for up to six months to a year for optimal results. While it is possible to store DTF (Direct-To-Film) transfers for extended periods if stored properly.  

Tip: If maintaining ideal storage conditions is challenging, it's advisable to press our DTF transfers within 180 days to prevent any potential deterioration in quality. 

The durability of your DTF transfers depend mainly on storage conditions, the type of material, the environment, and other factors mentioned above, ensuring they remain viable for several years.

If you're new to the world of direct-to-film technology, consider starting with our introductory guide: "What is a DTF transfer?"

Not only will we analyze the maximum duration of DTF transfers, but we will also provide valuable insights on how to ensure the long-term security of these transfers.

Essentials to Store DTF Transfers

Storing DTF Transfers properly is crucial for preserving their quality over time. Thus, it's important that we take all required precautions to endure proper handling, storage, and keep them in the optimal atmosphere. 

Essentials to Store DTF Transfers

Here are some of the best ways to save DTF transfers and maintain their quality.

  • Ziplock Bags with Silica Gels: Place DTF transfers in ziplock bags along with silica gel packets. Silica gel helps absorb moisture, creating a dry environment within the bag. Seal the bags tightly to prevent air and moisture from entering.
  • Resealable Bags: Use resealable plastic bags designed for archival purposes. These bags are durable and offer airtight protection against moisture, dust, and other contaminants.
  • Parchment Papers: Place DTF transfers between sheets of parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together. Store these parchment paper layers within a sealed container to protect against moisture and dust.
  • Airtight Plastic Bins: Store your DTF transfers in airtight plastic bins with secure lids. Ensure that the transfers are placed flat and not excessively compressed, as this can damage the designs.

How to Store DTF Transfers to Maintain its Quality for a Longer Period? 

Here's a step-by-step guide for proper storage of transfers:

  • Keep Them Dry: Store transfers in a dry location to prevent premature peeling from the paper.
  • Optimal Temperature: Maintain a consistent room temperature; avoid exposing transfers to extreme temperatures (except during pressing).
  • Avoid Sunlight: Protect transfers from direct sunlight, as it can cause fading and adhesion issues due to heat.
  • Sealed Containers: Use sealed containers mentioned above to shield transfers from dirt, debris, and dust, ensuring a clean pressing after storage.
  • Lay Flat: Store transfers on a flat surface to prevent film curling over time, avoiding vertical or angled storage.
  • Avoid Stacking: Refrain from stacking a large number of transfers on top of each other, as it may cause them to stick together, potentially ruining them. Storing them in smaller stacks of 50-100 or fewer reduces this risk.
  • Shelf Life: For best results, use transfers within three years of purchase, provided you follow these storage instructions.
  • Troubleshooting: If your transfers don't stick well after pressing, the peeling process is tough, or the film appears wrinkled or warped, it means they're likely old. It's time to get fresh transfers from DTF Transfers.
  • Gang Sheets: If you have rolls of gang sheets, store them as they are and cut when needed, as long as they're in an airtight bag. You can find different-sized cylindrical bags online and seal them with twist-ties.
  • Use of shelves and organizers: To keep your DTF transfers organized and within reach, use shelving and organizers from office supply stores. Look for shelves designed for letter-size papers or larger items.

Note: If you follow the above storage steps, your transfers will last for a longer duration. 

Conclusion | Storing DTF Transfers the Right Way 

Storing DTF transfers require a combination of knowledge and careful implementation. If you adhere to the storage tips for DTF transfers, you can ensure stunning and long-lasting prints that will genuinely astonish your customers. Protect them from sunlight, extreme temperatures, and moisture using our recommended methods.

Keep in mind that even well-stored transfers have a shelf life. Press them within the suggested timeframe, keep enough in stock, and reorder from DTF NC when needed. At DTF NC, we firmly believe that investing in effective storage techniques is crucial for achieving exceptional printing results.


Q. What is the DTF transfers' shelf life?

A: DTF transfers have a variable shelf life that can range from a few months to a few years. Their utility can be considerably increased with good storage procedures. Although we recommend using the transfers within a year, our transfers have a shelf life up to 3 years.

Q: How do I know if my DTF transfers are still usable?

A: Check for any signs of adhesive degradation, warping, discoloration, or loss of vibrancy. Perform a small test application before using stored transfers for larger projects.

Q: Why are my DTF transfers not sticking?

A: Improper storage, exposure to moisture, or the use of outdated transfers can lead to adhesive issues. It may also be that your heat press pressure is not adequate. Ensure your storage conditions are optimal and test the transfers before use while using a proper heat press.

Q: Can I store different types of DTF transfers together?

A: Absolutely, there is no side effects to storing different types of DTF transfers together.

Q: How long do DTF transfers last in storage?

A: The storage lifespan of DTF (Direct-To-Film) transfers can vary based on storage conditions. Generally, when stored appropriately, DTF transfers can last anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. 

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  • Kevin Lauenstein
    Oct 17, 2023 at 16:38

    Do I order a special gang sheet if I am doing mugs, tumblers or other hard surfaces?


  • Kevin Lauenstein
    Oct 17, 2023 at 16:38

    Do I order a special gang sheet if I am doing mugs, tumblers or other hard surfaces?


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