June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 64 of 102

60 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Y ou've heard all about it. Water- based inks have slowly crept back into the spotlight, often taking top preference with big brands and small shops alike. Printing with water-based inks is easy, es- pecially if you're just starting out. There are no habits to break, no systems to overhaul, or whole product lines to replace. But, when you've been printing with plastisols for the last decade or so, making the switch to wa- ter-based ink is a lot like going to a foreign country where the alphabet looks the same, but you can't read any of the language. In addition to the new line of inks you have to purchase, there are a plethora of tiny differ- ences across the whole screen-printing pro- cess that need to be adjusted to turn your good plastisol printing practices into even better water-based printing practices. Fortunately, the process is much easier to learn than you may expect, and very worth the effort. CHOOSING THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT Like any job you do, the type of job deter- mines the tools you need to accomplish it. Printing with water-based inks is no different. While the printing process is mostly the same between plastisol and water-based inks, there are some differences in equip- ment required. For simple, one-color prints on light cotton fabrics you will need: • A set of basic water-based ink colors. • A forced air dryer that can handle wa- ter-based curing or a low-cure additive. • At least one screen with a high mesh count. For more complex vector or simulated process prints, or printing on garments that are not 100 percent cotton, you will need: • Water-based inks in a large variety of specialty colors. • A blocker underbase and/or low-cure additive. • A forced air dryer that can handle wa- ter-based curing or a low-cure additive. • A forced air flash dryer that can handle water-based flashing. • Your chosen number of screens with a high mesh count, one for each color in your design. DESIGNING FOR WATER-BASED PRINTING Designing for water-based printing isn't that different from designing for plastisol printing, but there are some minor changes that need to be addressed in order to get the best artwork. The biggest consideration is the number and frequency (or infrequency) of your flashes during the printing process. Printing with water-based ink is usually done with a wet-on-wet technique due to the nature of the ink, which puts some restrictions on your ability to flash in-be- tween colors. When printing with plastisol ink, most people flash once, if not multiple times, in one design. This gives you a lot of freedom while preparing your art by al- lowing you to employ a technique called trapping. This method slightly enlarges the design in each separation and uses the B Y J E S S I C A M A R S H A L L Jessica Marshall is the market- ing copywriter for Ryonet Corp., a screen printing manufacturer and retailer in Vancouver, Washington. For more information, please visit Y ou've heard all about it. Water- Printing with water-based inks is B Y J E S S I C A Jessica Marshall Taking The Leap into Water-Based Printing

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

view archives of Printwear - June '16