June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 6 J U N E P R I N T W E A R || 63 the screen. Ink up the screen and print. When you lift the screen you'll see if it's lined up. If it is, move onto the next screen. If not, just wipe away the print on the tape and re-register. Do this repeatedly until you get it right. By using the "dry-erase meth- od," you can avoid wasting any pellons and T-shirts on the registration step. Don't forget, once all the screens are lined up, you'll need to go back and tape off all the target marks that helped you line everything up. Otherwise, you'll print those on the garment. Next, print the de- sign in full to make sure all the colors line up and you're ready to go. PRINTING WATER-BASED INK The easiest way to start with water-based prints is to start with single-color or multi- color designs on light colored garments using only dark colored water-based inks. You don't have to change very much from the process you use to print plastisol ink. Because the ink is thinner, you will need to use a higher mesh and print wet-on-wet instead of flashing between colors. Printing with water-based ink actually makes this kind of printing easier because the ink is thinner and settles into the garment more than plastisol ink does. This prevents the ink from picking up on the back of the screen as much as with plastisol. Thinner ink means that you can move the squeegee faster, which speeds up your printing pro- cess and doesn't tire you out as quickly. The end result is effective production and a shirt that looks and feels great. After mastering water-based printing on light garments, experiment with printing water-based simulated process prints on dark garments. Water-based inks in simu- lated process printing allow you to step into more complex designs without recreating the thick shields of plastisol ink that can be found buried in the bottom of your T-shirt drawers. This is because simulated process printing typically uses higher mesh screens, more detail, and wet-on-wet printing for an overall thinner layer of ink. Water-based inks are optimized for these factors. The main difference between traditional plastisol and water-based simulated process printing is that you may have to adjust some of the underbase and highlight options to com- pensate for the more transparent inks. Jump in by printing vector style designs with bold block colors and layers that are more complex. Try printing on garments that are not 100 percent cotton. Vector printing is more complex with water-based ink. You have to be very particular about your squeegee pressure and angle, making sure to lay the ink on top of the underbase versus driving it in, as this causes the ink to thin. You will also need to flash between almost every color to avoid pickup. The print will still feel soft, but it takes longer to accomplish. You can get around this by using more opaque-base/HSA water-based ink to give your ink more body. Water-based printing can sound in- timidating if you're not familiar with the process, but with some basic know-how, research, and practice, even the most sea- soned plastisol user can master this ink. Take into account the differences outlined here, and you'll be a water-based rock star in no time. Opposite: The process of setting up your press for water-based printing is very similar to printing with plastisol, with a few minor differences. Above: Experiment with water-based printing on darker garments after mastering printing single-color or multicolor designs on light garments.

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