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The Advantages of Using Plastisol Ink

Before plastisol ink made its way into screen printing in the 1970’s, printers primarily used water based ink. Today printers are leaning towards water based printing again, because of its environmentally-friendly advantages and soft hand. However, let’s not forget that plastisol ink has it’s advantages.

Water based inks have improved since the 1970’s, but what made plastisol ink popular was that it gave printers the ability to create vibrant prints that stand up on top of the garment. Many water based inks are fine for printing on light color fabrics, but you don’t always get the burst of color you can with plastisol ink due to the fact that they settle down into the fibers. A primary complaint against plastisol inks is that they are thicker than water based and more difficult to push with a squeegee. One way to help with this is to mix up your ink before a print run. Modulating your ink creates friction makes your ink smoother and easier to work with. You can thin plastisol ink by adding a reducer. Caution, though, too much reducer can not only thin the ink but affect its opacity. As a result, it will not appear as vibrant on darker garments.

Another advantage is that you can leave plastisol ink in your screens. Unlike water based ink, it does not dry if left out. Be mindful, though, the ink can attract dust and contaminants. It is a good idea to cover your screen or protect it if you plan on leaving it out or if you store them in a dusty environment. Remember to clean the ink from the stencil if you intend to keep ink on the screen for an extended period of time. If it is left over the stenciled area of your screen, it can become thick and difficult to clean when you are ready to use the screen again. To cure plastisol ink, the entire ink layer must be heated to 320˚ F. Using a flash dryer or conveyor dryer can help you to achieve this without needing to purchase a forced air model.

Check out this video and Ryan can show you step-by-step.

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