Start Here November '21

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 102 35 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 2 1 sort of "irons" the still-hot ink and pushes down fabric fibers, cre- ating a smooth print. To create a mat-down screen, coat a 160-mesh screen with emulsion, dry it, and expose it to harden. Use general purpose lubricating grease in place of ink and a hard squeegee. The trick to successfully achieve a smooth print is to flash the ink just until the ink is gelled or dry to the touch. Then, immedi- ately "print" using the mat-down screen while the ink is still hot to smooth the print. Use extra off contact on this screen to help the mesh peel away from the image before lifting the screen. If the ink sticks too much, it may be under or over-flashed. With the correct settings, you will notice the improved difference. Be careful that the ink is not over-flashed or cured. Otherwise, you may end up with intercoat adhesion issues. That's when the next layer of ink will not adhere to the cured layer below and may crack or come off in the wash. Ink Ink is usually the most consistent part of the equation but is blamed for 90% of the problems. Be sure to invest in quality ink. What do I mean by that? Quality ink may cost a bit more but generally contains fewer fillers. That means the ink usually performs better, is more opaque, and may leave less residue on the screen. For the printer, it may mean a better-quality print, Always test after curing by first doing a stretch test. Cured ink should not crack or flake when the fabric is stretched. fewer strokes, less time to "fix" issues during production, and faster printing speed. Choose the right ink for the job! This is crucial, depending on what you are printing on. Don't use a cotton white to print poly blends or 100% polyesters. Nor should you use a poly white to print cotton shirts. Inks are specifically engineered to func- tion for specific types of textiles. A cotton white, for example, usually does not have bleed-resistant characteristics. Similarly, a poly white may cause ghosting issues when printed on cotton. Curing Process When curing, follow the manufacturer's suggested tempera- ture and time parameters. There are low-cure or regular-cure inks nowadays but test with a temperature gun to make sure the entire surface of the ink reaches the desired/required curing tem- perature. Depending on the size of the print area or the thickness of the ink deposit, you may need to increase the dwell time in the dryer to make sure that the entire ink layer has reached the cure temperature. Always test after curing by first doing a stretch test. Cured ink should not crack or flake when the fabric is stretched. The second test I recommend is to wash the garment 24-48 hours after curing. Properly cured ink should not come off or flake off in the wash. The 24–48-hour lapse is crucial as the ink continues to cure during this time and may come off in the wash if washed sooner than 24 hours. Practice makes perfect. If you keep these pointers in mind and use them, you'll master your white prints in no time! Consider that for a good paint job, most of the work is done upfront or in preparation. When done correctly, the actual painting is easy. The same goes for screen printing. When you have perfectly prepared screens, the actual printing can be fun. As the old saying goes, if you find something you love to do, you'll never work a day in your life. I've had a lot of fun over the years.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of GRAPHICS PRO - Start Here November '21