Printwear

October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Printwear 2013 Q&A D2 New equipment makes it possible to digitally print on shoes. (Image this page and opposite courtesy GarmentTools.com) Why do I have to pre-treat a digitally-printed shirt if I am printing white ink? Pre-treatment is the cornerstone of direct-to-garment printing; proper application yields better results. It is a liquid solution that allows the printing and washability of white ink and is used for full color images on a variety of colored shirts, most commonly, black shirts. The pre-treatment acts just like primer does for paint. It allows white ink to adhere to and sit on top of the shirt. If white ink soaks into the shirt, it doesn't come out looking white and does not provide a smooth surface for the CMYK inks to print on. Pre-treatment also reacts with white ink. This reaction is similar to when a screen printer uses a "flash" unit to semi-cure plastisol ink so the next colors printed on top don't smear or mix together (a result of printing wet-on-wet). The pre-treatment "flashes" the white ink so that it becomes more or less a 98 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 98 semi-solid surface. When CMYK inks are printed on top of the white ink, it doesn't mix and look muddy. Brian Walker, i-Group Technologies, LLC I'm a screen-printer and I also have a digital direct-to-garment printer. Can I use both processes on the same garment? If so, what is the best way? There are digital printers that are made to interface with a manual or automatic screen print press for exactly this purpose. The digital print head is cantilevered over the shirt board (on the screen print press), allowing a digital image to be printed on the garment. The screens then are registered to the digital image, which allows standard plastisol or special effect inks to be printed around the digital print in tight register. For those with a standard digital garment printer, the garment October 2013 9/18/13 12:59 PM

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