Let’s talk about ink in the world of screen printing! Before the 1970’s, water based ink was predominantly used. Many printers lean toward water based printing mostly because of the environmentally friendly advantages and soft hand. But, what about plastisol ink? Plastisol ink has its advantages too.
There are tons of water based inks that are exceptional for printing but the biggest difference between the two is that you don’t always get the burst of color you can with plastinol ink and that’s due to the fact that they settle down into the fibers. Although water based inks have greatly improved since the 1970’s, what’s made plastinol ink popular is the ability to create vibrant prints that stand out on top of the garment.
One of the main complaints of the plastinol inks is that they are thicker than water based inks and therefore, more difficult to push through with a squeegee. To alleviate this issue, you could mix the ink before a print run. Modulating the ink creates friction and makes the ink smoother and more manageable. Another alternative is to thin the plastinol ink by adding a reducer. However, something to keep in mind is not using too much reducer because not only will thinning the ink affect its opacity but as a result, it will not appear as vibrant on dark garments.
Unlike water based inks, another advantage of using plastinol inks is that you can leave the ink in you screens (water based inks do not dry if left out). Be cautious though because the ink can attract dust and contaminants. Protecting your screen by covering it would be a good idea of you intend on leaving it out or if you store them in a dusty environment. Also, remember to clean the ink from the stencil ares of the screen because it can become thick and difficult to clean when you are ready to use them again. Curing plastinol ink is simple; the integral ink layer must be heated to 320˚ F by using a flash dryer or conveyor dryer. Using this method will eliminate the need to purchase a forced air model. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages whether you choose to use plastinol or a water based ink. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have regarding screen printing, Imagescapes Embroidery is always happy to assist you with your screen printing needs.