Are you a screen printer looking for durable and versatile ink to use? Plastisol inks are a great option because they can be used on a variety of fabrics and last for years. But before you start using plastisol inks, it’s important to know their pros and cons.
Read on to learn more about this popular ink choice.
Advantages of Plastisol Inks
Plastisol inks are an extremely popular option among those who do screen printing. Plastisol inks are made of PVC resin particles that are suspended in a plasticizer. This combination gives the ink a certain qualities that make it ideal for many screen printing applications:
Advantages of Plastisol Inks:
- These inks offer more opacity than water-based or solvent-based inks, providing better coverage of the surface with fewer layers.
- This type of ink has excellent adhesive qualities and is resistant to fading, meaning prints will last longer and require less maintenance.
- It also maintains its shape even when outdoors or exposed to other harsh conditions, allowing for sharper, more detailed images on a wide range of material.
- Plastisol is also much thicker than other types of screen printing ink, making it easier to apply during the printing process.
- The curing process used with plastIsol inks requires much less energy compared to other options as well, making it an economical choice.
How to Choose the Right Plastisol Ink
Choosing the right plastisol ink for screen printing can be a difficult and tricky decision. When it comes to creating high-quality, vibrant prints and achieving desired results, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. The main and most important step is to determine which type best suits your needs.
They are one of the traditional types used for screen printing. These inks are created using a base of PVC or plasticiser which makes them so versatile and durable with a long working life thanks to their excellent coverage and opacity. They come in various thicknesses that can be altered through the addition of reducers and extenders, making them suitable for almost any job – from spot colors on textiles to all over print designs on garments. For each job, particular considerations should be taken into account when choosing plastisol ink:
- Durability – They provide amazing wash durability which makes them ideal for clothing or fabric goods that need multiple washing cycles as they will not fade easily over time.
- Color range – Plastisol inks come in a wide range of colors that provide good color coverage with bold tones, ideal for creating intricate color combinations, vibrant shades, special effects or graphics elements on different materials.
- Application – They have good adhesion properties that make it possible to use them on both light-colored fabrics like cotton or lighter garments as well as dark fabrics such as nylon or polyester without the need for pre-treatment like washing or scouring before use.
- Cost – Plastisol-based screen printing is one of the most cost-effective forms of printing due to the longevity and durability of these types of inks along with their application versatility across different materials – reducing costs associated with artwork creation and multiple preparations necessary for other types of printing processes like offset lithography or flexography prints.
In addition to these pros, there are also some cons associated with plastisol-based prints including trapped air bubbles within thick layers which may cause pin holes throughout your final product; PVC plasticizers may contain phthalates (chemical additives) which can potentially cause harm if not certified properly; it’s harder to achieve special effects such as gradient blends or halftones using this type; Finally preheating materials prior production increases chances on heat distortion when drying printings or improper temperature will affect curing process thus resulting reduced wash durability upon use over time
Storage and Maintenance of Plastisol Inks
When it comes to printing plastisol inks, proper storage and maintenance is essential for achieving the desired results. Plastisol inks should be stored between 60° – 90°F to avoid thickening of the ink. In addition, inks should not be placed close in proximity to any chemicals that may contain solvents that can absorb vapors.
For long-term usage, you can prolong the shelf life of your plastisol ink by adding a curing reducer such as Super High Grade Curing Reducer or Faster Varnish Wearing Reducer. However, you should use caution when adding a reducer as they may result in color bleeding or other unwanted effects related to adhesion and durability.
Finally, do not store any unused Plastisol ink with screens through which it was screened as this will result in the emulsion coating on screens becoming contaminated.
Tips for Working with Plastisol Inks
Despite the numerous benefits of plastisol ink, there are still some important tips to consider when working with these formulations. First, all of them should be mixed by eye or by thinning with a reducer before use. Viscosity should be tested to ensure the formula is flowing properly through the mesh and onto the fabric surface — it should not be too thin or too thick. Additionally, soft hand additives can help improve the feel of the final printed piece on apparel or other materials.
When heat setting your prints after curing, remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully as different brands will have varying temperature requirements for optimal results — this is especially important when printing on items such as mugs or other heat sensitive items that require lower temperatures to avoid warping or cracking. Lastly, never store plastisol ink without first tightly sealing it in an airtight container as exposure to air will reduce quality and increase cure time significantly.
When it comes to screen printing, plastisol inks bring a range of advantages that have to be weighed against the difficulties that come with using them. On one hand, plastisol inks provide a wide variety of colors and effects, are highly versatile and easier to handle than some other types of inks; on the other hand, they require special equipment and environmental conditions for curing as well as special additives for viscosity control.
Knowing the strengths and drawbacks of using plastisol inks is important when deciding whether they are right for your screen printing needs. Their longevity and broad range of applications have made them popular with both commercial printers and hobbyists alike. However, weighing the factors mentioned above can help ensure you get the perfect product to meet your needs.