October '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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72 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 6 DIRECT-TO-GARMENT I'm not getting bright white prints on dark shirts from my direct-to-garment printer. Why? There are three main reasons for dull or muted prints. 1. Your printer is not producing an acceptable nozzle check. A nozzle check and appropriate head cleaning are mandatory every time you start your printer. If you are unfamiliar with how to do a nozzle check and head cleaning, be sure to review the user guide. 2. You have not properly pretreated your garment. Pretreating your garment is a simple process, but it must be done properly to ensure the white ink bonds well with the fabric. The key to pretreat is to ensure complete coverage of the area you intend to print. There can be no gaps or dry areas and the garment must be 100 percent dry before you print. You must have consistent, complete coverage. Coverage is key. Be sure to iso- late the single layer of fabric where you intend to print. 3. You are using a blank that does not accept white ink well. This is often the main culprit for dull white. People always ask why they don't receive good results on certain kinds of inexpensive blanks; budget-quality blanks will yield poor- quality results. Budget blanks generally use thick, open, yarn and ink does not stick well to this type of yarn. They are also dyed with lower- quality dye that once cured under the heat press, will migrate through the print, dulling and muting the colors. The solution is to use ring-spun or 30-singles materials. Look for 100 per- cent cotton or blends of higher-quality materials. High-quality blanks have better yarn, better dye, and yield a far better result. JOHN LeDREW, MELCO There are plenty of things that could cause you to not receive bright prints on dark shirts. (Image courtesy Melco) Once a shirt has been pretreated, how soon do I need to use it? It is always good to try and do the pretreating as close to when you are doing the printing as possible. While the shirt sits around, it will start to retain moisture, and moisture in a shirt can create poor results. If you don't plan on using a pretreated and dried shirt right away, make sure you do the following: 1. Place the garments in a plastic bag to keep any extra lint or contaminants from getting on the print area. 2. Before you print on the garment, heat press it for 10–15 seconds to remove any moisture and wrinkles. Pressing before you print will also flat- ten down any fibers that may be standing up again. Fibrillation or fibers sticking up can cause small dots in your print when cured, or even a fuzzy-looking area in the print. 3. When you press the garment before printing on it, make sure you do not see steam still coming off the shirt. If you do a quick press before you print and you see a decent amount of steam, you should press the shirt again for another 10– 15 seconds. Lots of steam means there is still some moisture in the shirt and it needs to be removed. PAUL GREEN, OMNIPRINT INTERNATIONAL

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