Screen making is vital to good apparel decorating, since the quality of a screen-print design will be very influenced by, if not dictated by the quality of the screen.FULL STORY
Screen Printing: Process + Techniques
Why Low-Cure Plastisol Screen-Printing Inks Are NecessaryIf you as an apparel decorator aren't utilizing low-cure plastisol for your screen printing, you may be missing out
Having the right screen-printing supplies is important for all screen-printing business. One of the best supply items you can have is low-cure plastisol inks. Non-cotton fabrics, such as polyester and other synthetic performance and moisture-wicking materials are growing in popularity. While they are popular with customers, screen printers quickly realized that these materials are prone to dye-migration, also known as bleeding (the shirt color coming through the screen print ink).
The Screen Printing Problem of Dye-Migration and Bleeding
The screen print challenge many printers face is that these synthetic fabrics are not “dye-stable.” When the t-shirt or garment is not dye-stable, a chemical reaction called sublimation occurs. When heat is applied, the dyes in the shirt become a gas and start to evaporate from within the fibers of the shirt. For screen printing specifically, this occurs during the ink curing and drying process. The result is what the screen printing industry calls “bleeding.” Two classic examples of this are when white ink turns pink on red garments and a white print becomes grey on black garments.
These synthetic, heat-sensitive fiber garments begin to “gas-out” at temperatures typically ranging from 295°- 330°F. The problem screen printers face is that standard plastisol ink cures right around 320°F. This puts the garment directly in the “bleeding zone.”
The Screen Printing Troubleshooting Answer to Dye-Migration and Bleeding is Low-Cure Inks
To solve the dye-migration and bleeding problem, it is important to use low cure screen printing inks. Doing so will allow you to set your conveyor heat tunnel to a temperature below the dye-migration and bleed temperatures. Include low cure screen print inks that dry around 280°F during your next screen printing supply order. Doing so will let you successfully screen print on polyester, 50/50 and other dye-migration/bleed prone t-shirts and garments.
Article updated Oct. 30, 2023
More Process + Techniques News
Quality control is an essential part of growing any manufacturing business and maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty. Screen printing has its challenges, but that’s what separates the good from the excellent.FULL STORY
In Part 1 of this series, step-by-step techniques were listed for everything from press setup to preparing pallets and applying pallet adhesive. In Part 2, we'll start with emulsion practices and sufficient coverage on screens.FULL STORY