September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 5 S E P T E M B E R P R I N T W E A R || 79 plastisol-like inks, water-based inks, and sil- icone inks. Currently, the top choice seems to be the old stand-by plastisol, but a low-tem- perature curing version of the original. I include the phthalate-free, PVC-free plas- tisol-like inks in this category as the cure temperature is in the similar range and share the same heat-related problems. The bright side of using plastisol and the PVC-free plastisol-like inks is famil- iarity. The downside is that the tempera- ture is still very close to the dye migration point and requires careful control of the heat in both the dryer and flash. Many high-quality plastisol inks include dye migration blocking agents and cure at temperatures a bit lower than we normal- ly note; 280–290 degrees F in contrast to 320 degrees F. An encouraging addition to the market is the "super blocking-low temp" plas- tisols and plastisol-like inks that have some impressive sublimated dye-blocking chemistry along with a lower curing tem- perature. Many of these inks are darker in color than you may see and use as an under base. The trick is to keep an eye on the heat as even this impressive chemistry can be overcome. One of the downsides to using plasti- sol on some performance garments is that plastisol achieves a lock into the fabric by curing into a solid and fastening itself to and into the fibers like a liquid Velcro. The smoother fibers of performance syn- thetics mean that with enough physical movement, it will eventually break its ties in the threads and start to peel away from the garment. The more the product stretches the more likely you will see this adhesion-related problem. Some decora- tors use a catalyst bonding agent to help with this, but I am not a big fan of the ex- pense or trouble of this alternate product. This image shows poly knitted fibers at 10x magnification. Note the slickness of the synthetic fibers. This portends a liq- uid resistance that only adds to the problem of heat-related color migration. (Image courtesy the author) Conversely, cotton knitted fabrics present a slightly fuzzy profile and exceptional liquid absorption, this added to an exceptional heat resistance makes for an almost mistake-proof screen printing platform. (Image courtesy the author)

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