Screen printing can seem like a simple process, but finding the right plastisol ink is key to creating vibrant, durable prints. When shopping for the best plastisol ink for your screen printing projects, there are a few key factors to consider.
The first is ink opacity. Opaque inks will completely cover the fabric, while translucent inks are more sheer. Opaque inks typically require fewer passes on the screen to get full coverage. Metallic and neon colored inks tend to be more translucent.
You'll also want to think about softness. Some plastisol inks create a thicker coating on the fabric, which leads to a stiff handfeel. Other plastisol inks are formulated to remain soft after curing. This flexibility is ideal for printing on garments.
Some other aspects to look at are color vibrancy and bleed resistance. High performing plastisol inks will print crisp, vivid colors that don't fade or bleed over time after proper curing. The ingredients and ratios of the pigments and polymers have a big impact here.
When you're ready to select the best plastisol ink for your screen printing needs, ask yourself: What type of fabric will I be printing on? Do I need opaque or translucent coverage? How flexible does the ink need to be? What colors and effects do I want to achieve? Keeping these key factors in mind will ensure you choose the right ink for flawless prints every time.
5 Best Plastisol Ink For Screen Printing
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The product is ideal for screen printing white designs onto t-shirts and other fabric materials.
The product is ideal for screen printing on silk screens, textiles, and fabric using plastisol ink.
The product is ideal for printing vibrant designs on fabric materials.
The product is ideal for printing designs that glow in the dark on fabric.
The product is ideal for screen printing on silk screens, textiles, and fabric using plastisol ink.
1. Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink, 8-Ounce, White For T-Shirt And Silkscreen Printmaking
Fresh Ink! This ink is perfect for screen printing graphic tee shirt designs on 100% cotton shirts. It has a consistent texture, slightly oily but not too loose, with a good amount of absorption and a slightly matte finish. The ink looks solid and sets well with a hot iron. However, it's important to note that when it comes to white ink, cheap substitutes won't do. For white, Super Opaque is the way to go, as any other option will result in a grey appearance.
In addition to screen printing, this ink can also be used for other creative projects. One user successfully used it to paint a faded jogging stroller, achieving great results with just two coats. The ink was heat set with a blow dryer and there was no rub off at all. Three-fourths of an 8oz jar covered a significant area, and the user was pleased with the easy rinse-off from hands and brushes, comparing it favorably to latex or spray paint.
For beginners in silk screen printing, this ink is highly recommended. One user, after extensive research, found this ink to be the best choice for making t-shirts for a high school student running for ASB president. The user made approximately 15 prints with just a small jar of ink, and even after five washes, the paint remained flawless. The user shared pictures of the impressive results.
Another user used this ink with freezer paper stencils cut with a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. The white ink stayed bright and strong with only one coat on a navy blue shirt. The consistency and appearance of the ink were highly satisfactory. However, the user did encounter some difficulties with the black ink. The seal under the lid was hard to remove, resulting in ink getting on the user's fingers and work surfaces. The final result with the black ink project wasn't as pleasing, but the user acknowledged that it was likely their fault for not applying a heavy enough coat. Using a cheap undershirt that stretched also contributed to cracking the design before heat setting. The user found that using gloves with the white ink prevented any issues with the seal.
2. Ecotex® Led Green Emulsion – Ultimate Screen Printing Solution
I recently purchased the LED emulsion and I must say, I am extremely satisfied with the results. Despite coming across some negative reviews, I believe those individuals may not have had enough experience with the process.
I followed the instructions and exposed three screens using a 50w UV LED for the recommended 15 seconds, and the outcome was perfect. The waiting time was significantly reduced, which is a great advantage. I will definitely be ordering this product again when I run out.
I would like to address the negative comments made by some users who claim that this emulsion does not work properly. In my experience, I have a DIY exposure unit with UV stops that I purchased from Amazon, along with some particle board. The LEDS I used were 30watts and placed about 6 inches away from the screen. The strips were about 1 inch apart, covering an area of 20 x 24. The screen exposed within 10-15 seconds without any issues. It is worth mentioning that the emulsion is thin, so it is important to be careful with any dripping while it dries.
I have been using this emulsion for a few months now, and I have not encountered any problems. I have successfully created dozens of screens with it, and they dry within hours under the right conditions. Personally, I use an LED flood light to burn the screens in, and it only takes around 15 seconds (though times may vary depending on the application).
One of the reasons I highly recommend this LED emulsion is because it is easy to use, especially for beginners. The thickness of the emulsion makes it easy to handle, providing a smooth application process. In my case, I used my son's 20-watt LED blacklight for 20 seconds, and the emulsion washed out easily in my kitchen sink. As someone who is new to the screen printing world, I found this emulsion to be 100% better than Speedball's Diazio, which I had previously used.
In fact, I was so impressed with the results that I decided to create a review/walk-through video on YouTube, detailing my experience with this emulsion. If you're interested, you can find it under the title "LED Emulsion Review."
3. Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink, 32-Ounce, Red
I recently used the Speedball water-based ink for screenprinting, specifically for making navy blue T-shirts for nurses at the VA during nurses week. I must say, it worked absolutely great! The ink came out looking fantastic on the fabric.
One thing I really liked about this ink is its thickness. It was very easy to clean and apply, and the consistency allowed for smooth and even coverage. However, I would recommend applying a generous amount of ink to avoid any dryness issues. The excess ink can easily be put back into its container, which is a convenient feature.
As a beginner in screenprinting, I found this product to be excellent. It was my first time using it, and I can confidently say that it exceeded my expectations. However, it's important to note that this ink is specifically designed for fabric and may not work well on other items like journals. So, it's best to stick to using it for fabric-based projects.
I also found that a little goes a long way with this product. Even for large orders of 160 totes, I didn't use more than 1/4 of the bottle. This speaks to its durability and cost-effectiveness, making it a great choice for screenprinting projects.
Furthermore, I was impressed by the quality of this ink. It is not watered down, making it easy to scrape across projects without any issues. Additionally, it holds up well during washes, ensuring that the designs on the T-shirts remain vibrant and intact. I have complete confidence in this brand and will continue to use it for all my T-shirt printing needs.
4. Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink, 8-Ounce, Night Glo Original, Glow In The Dark
I have been using this glow in the dark white ink for silk screening for a couple of years now, and I must say, I am extremely satisfied with the results. The ink dries with a greenish tint and glows in the dark with a whitish-greenish color. I have used it on various colors of cotton t-shirts and sweatshirts, including white on white, dark, orange, red, and green, and it has performed flawlessly on all of them.
One of the great things about this ink is its ease of use. It is highly washable, so you don't have to worry about ruining your sink like with plastic inks. Additionally, it does not add any annoying texture to your shirts or patches. When it glows, it is incredibly bright and eye-catching. Under a black light or in a dark room, the glow effect is truly impressive. It may look slightly greenish in normal lighting, but once it lights up, any concerns about its appearance disappear instantly.
Another unexpected benefit of this ink is the ease of cleanup. If you're unsure whether you've cleaned all the ink off your screen or out of your sink or tub, simply turn off the lights and spray down the glowing spots. Cleanup becomes much easier with this feature.
In terms of quality, this screening ink is top-notch. I used to use another brand that I could only get at a local craft shop, but they no longer stock it. Luckily, I stumbled upon this ink by accident, and it turned out to be even better than the previous brand I used. Now I know where to get my screening ink without any hassle. The "glow" effect is truly bright and impressive, making it a great deal from Amazon.
5. Silk Screen Sensitizer For Eco-Friendly Fabric Printing
I am extremely satisfied with this product. It is very easy to use and requires no additional additives. I have struggled in the past with achieving the right exposure for my high detailed halftone transparencies, but this product has solved that problem. I follow a simple process of applying 2 coatings and allowing it to dry in a warm and ventilated dark room with no humidity. I highly recommend investing in a dehumidifier to ensure optimal results. After drying for 4 or more hours, I use an exposure calculator to determine the correct exposure time. I personally use a 500w halogen work lamp positioned 16 inches away from the screen and film. Applying 50 pounds of pressure with a solid flat board on a piece of glass, I expose the screen and film positive. Once exposed, I spray the screen with water using a spray bottle, ensuring complete saturation. After a minute or so, I repeat the process. The image should start to appear, and then I proceed with a washout. The emulsion melts away easily, leaving no loss of halftone detail.
I am truly impressed with this emulsion. It was effortless to find my exposure time, which is 13 minutes, using a 250 watt bba #1 Eiko Supreme Photo Flood light bulb.
I must admit, I had low expectations for this product. However, I coated four new 16×20 TECHTONGDA Aluminum Silk Screen screens with the Ecotex AP Blue Emulsion, and the results were beyond my expectations. Despite my 16" Emulsion Scoop Coater Tool being slightly longer, I was able to make it work. I coated both sides of the screens with the Blue AP Emulsion using the scoop coater tool. After letting the screens dry for two days in my bedroom closet, I anxiously awaited the moment to expose them to light.
I had no idea how long to expose the screens or which light source to use. I heard someone mention 30 seconds of sunlight exposure, which seemed easier than using a 20-minute 500-watt flood light. So, I decided to give the sunlight method a try. I counted to 30 under the sunlight and then hid the screen under my bed covers while I went for a walk. When I finally decided to wash out the screen, I was pleasantly surprised to see my logo appearing. Using a brush, I scrubbed the screen, and the emulsion started peeling off easily. The end result was impressive.
I am amazed at how well this product worked. I must confess that I made a mistake in reversing the logo on one of the screens, but even with that error, the outcome was still satisfactory. I will need to treat that screen differently because of the reversed logo, but overall, I am happy with the results.
To sum up, I would like to express my gratitude to Ecotex AP Blue for surprising me with a product that exceeded my expectations. It is truly effective and has made screen printing a much easier and enjoyable process for me.
Are there any special precautions or safety measures to consider when working with plastisol ink?
When working with plastisol ink, there are several precautions and safety measures to consider to ensure a safe working environment. Here are a few important ones:
1. Ventilation: Plastisol ink releases potentially harmful fumes when heated. It is crucial to work in a well-ventilated area or use exhaust systems to remove the fumes. This helps prevent inhalation of toxic substances and promotes air quality.
2. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Always wear appropriate PPE, including gloves, goggles, and a respirator, when handling plastisol ink. This protects your skin, eyes, and respiratory system from potential hazards.
3. Heat source safety: Plastisol ink requires high temperatures to cure. Ensure that the heat source, such as a heat press or conveyor dryer, is well-maintained, properly grounded, and used according to manufacturer guidelines to prevent accidents and fire hazards.
4. Storage and handling: Store plastisol ink in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper handling, as some inks may require shaking or stirring before use.
5. Cleanliness and hygiene: Maintain a clean work area to prevent cross-contamination and ensure proper hygiene. Clean tools, screens, and equipment regularly using appropriate solvents or cleaners.
It is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the plastisol ink you are using. If you have any doubts or concerns, consult with a safety professional or seek advice from experienced individuals in the industry.
Are there any specific additives or modifiers that can be used with plastisol ink to achieve specific effects or properties?
Yes, there are several additives and modifiers that can be used with plastisol ink to achieve specific effects or properties. Here are a few examples:
1. Extenders: These additives are used to increase the ink volume without affecting its viscosity. Extenders help to reduce ink costs and improve the opacity of the print.
2. Softeners: Softeners are used to modify the hand feel of the printed fabric. They can make the print feel softer and more comfortable to touch.
3. Puff additives: Puff additives are used to create a raised or 3D effect on the print. When heated, these additives expand, creating a raised texture.
4. Metallic or glitter additives: These additives can be used to add a metallic or glittery effect to the print, giving it a unique and eye-catching appearance.
5. Anti-migration additives: These additives are used to prevent the migration of dyes or other substances from the fabric into the print, ensuring the print remains vibrant and clear.
It's important to note that the specific additives and modifiers used may vary depending on the desired effect or property, as well as the specific brand or type of plastisol ink being used.
Can plastisol ink be mixed or blended to create custom colors?
Yes, plastisol ink can be mixed or blended to create custom colors. Plastisol ink is a type of screen printing ink that is widely used for printing on textiles, especially on garments. It is a thick, PVC-based ink that is known for its durability and opacity.
To create custom colors, you can mix different plastisol inks together. Start by selecting the base colors that you want to use as the foundation for your custom color. Then, using a spatula or ink knife, mix the inks together on a palette or ink mixing board.
Gradually add small amounts of each color until you achieve the desired hue. It is important to mix thoroughly to ensure uniformity.
To ensure accuracy and consistency, it is recommended to keep track of the proportions and colors used in your custom ink mixtures. This way, if you need to reproduce the color in the future, you can refer back to your records.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that some ink manufacturers offer pre-mixed custom colors, which can save you time and effort in color matching.
Can plastisol ink be used on various types of fabrics?
Yes, plastisol ink can be used on various types of fabrics. Plastisol ink is a popular choice in the textile industry due to its versatility and durability. It can be used on natural fibers such as cotton, as well as synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon.
Plastisol ink adheres well to most fabrics and provides excellent color opacity. It is particularly suitable for screen printing applications and is commonly used for printing on t-shirts, hoodies, and other types of apparel.
However, it is important to note that plastisol ink may require different curing temperatures and times depending on the fabric type, so it is advisable to consult the ink manufacturer's guidelines or conduct a small test run before large-scale production.
How does plastisol ink achieve a soft hand feel on printed garments?
Plastisol ink achieves a soft hand feel on printed garments through a few key factors. Firstly, the ink itself is composed of PVC particles suspended in a plasticizer, which gives it a smooth and flexible texture.
This allows the ink to adhere to the fabric fibers more evenly, creating a softer touch.
Secondly, the ink is applied in thin layers during the printing process. This helps to prevent a heavy build-up of ink, which can result in a rough or stiff feel. By using multiple thin layers, the ink can penetrate the fabric more effectively and create a softer finish.
Additionally, the ink can be modified with additives such as softeners or extenders. Softeners help to further enhance the softness of the printed design, while extenders can improve the ink's elasticity and reduce stiffness.
Overall, the combination of a flexible ink composition, thin application, and optional additives enables plastisol ink to achieve a soft hand feel on printed garments.
How does plastisol ink compare to other types of inks used in screen printing?
Plastisol ink is a popular choice for screen printing due to its versatility and durability. Unlike other types of inks, plastisol is a PVC-based ink that does not dry on the screen, allowing for longer print runs without clogging or drying out. This makes it ideal for high-volume production.
Compared to water-based inks, plastisol offers superior opacity and vibrant colors, making it suitable for printing on dark or colored garments. Plastisol ink also has excellent adhesion to a wide range of fabrics, ensuring long-lasting prints that resist cracking or fading over time.
However, it is worth noting that plastisol ink contains certain chemicals and may require the use of solvents for cleaning, which can raise environmental concerns. Moreover, the ink has a thicker consistency and can result in a heavier feel on the fabric.
Ultimately, the choice of ink depends on the specific requirements of the project. While plastisol ink excels in terms of durability and color vibrancy, water-based inks may be preferred for their eco-friendliness and softer feel on the fabric.
What are the advantages of using plastisol ink for screen printing?
Plastisol ink is widely used in screen printing due to its numerous advantages. Firstly, it offers excellent color vibrancy and opacity, allowing for vibrant and opaque prints on various types of fabrics. This makes it ideal for creating bold and eye-catching designs.
Secondly, plastisol ink has a long shelf life and does not dry out in the screen, which means it can be used for extended periods without the need for constant replenishment. This makes it highly cost-effective for screen printing businesses.
Additionally, plastisol ink is known for its durability. Once cured, it forms a strong bond with the fabric, resulting in prints that can withstand repeated washings and maintain their color intensity over time. This makes it suitable for high-quality, long-lasting prints.
Moreover, plastisol ink is easy to work with and provides good coverage on both light and dark fabrics. It also allows for precise control over print details, as it does not bleed or spread during the printing process.
Overall, the advantages of using plastisol ink make it a popular choice for screen printers looking for vibrant, durable, and cost-effective printing results.
What are the best practices for cleaning screens and equipment after using plastisol ink?
After using plastisol ink, it is important to clean screens and equipment properly to maintain their longevity and ensure optimal print quality. Here are some best practices for cleaning screens and equipment after using plastisol ink:
1. Remove Excess Ink: Use a spatula or scraper to remove as much excess ink as possible from the screen or equipment. This will make the cleaning process easier.
2. Use Appropriate Cleaning Solution: Use a specialized plastisol ink cleaner or a mild solvent-based cleaner to dissolve and remove the remaining ink. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the screens or equipment.
3. Scrub the Screens: Gently scrub the screens using a soft brush or sponge. Pay attention to the mesh and ensure that all ink is removed from both sides of the screen.
4. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the screens and equipment with warm water to remove any remaining ink and cleaning solution. Make sure all traces of ink and cleaning agent are completely washed away.
5. Dry Properly: Allow the screens and equipment to air dry completely before using them again. Avoid using excessive heat for drying as it can warp or damage the screens.
6. Regular Maintenance: Perform regular maintenance on screens and equipment to prevent ink buildup. This includes cleaning screens after each use and monitoring for any signs of wear or damage.
By following these best practices, you can effectively clean screens and equipment after using plastisol ink, ensuring their longevity and optimal performance.
What is plastisol ink and how is it used in screen printing?
Plastisol ink is a type of ink commonly used in screen printing. It is made up of PVC particles suspended in a liquid plasticizer. This ink is known for its versatility and durability, making it a popular choice in the industry.
When using plastisol ink in screen printing, the ink is applied to the fabric using a screen or mesh. The design to be printed is transferred onto the screen, and the ink is then forced through the open areas of the screen onto the fabric below.
Plastisol ink requires heat to cure and achieve its final form. After the ink is applied to the fabric, it is then placed on a heat press or conveyor dryer, where it is exposed to high temperatures. This heat causes the liquid plasticizer in the ink to evaporate, leaving behind a solid, vibrant layer of ink that adheres to the fabric.
One of the advantages of plastisol ink is its ability to create vibrant, opaque colors on both light and dark fabrics. It is also known for its excellent washability and long-lasting durability. Additionally, plastisol ink can be used on a wide range of materials, including cotton, polyester, and blends.
It is a versatile and reliable choice for screen printers.
What is the recommended curing temperature and time for plastisol ink?
The recommended curing temperature and time for plastisol ink can vary depending on the specific brand and type of ink being used. However, a general guideline for curing plastisol ink is to heat it at a temperature between 320°F (160°C) and 330°F (165°C) for approximately 60 seconds.
This temperature range ensures that the ink is fully cured and bonded to the fabric, resulting in a durable print that withstands multiple washes.
It is important to note that different factors such as ink thickness, fabric type, and desired print quality can affect the curing process. Therefore, it is always recommended to consult the manufacturer's instructions or technical data sheet for the specific ink being used.
Conducting small test prints and adjusting the curing time and temperature accordingly can also help achieve optimal results.
If you are unsure about the recommended curing temperature and time for a particular plastisol ink, it is best to reach out to the ink manufacturer or supplier directly. They can provide you with accurate and detailed information based on their product specifications.