pouring baselayr plastisol in a scoop coater

You demand excellence in every aspect of your business. Every detail matters, and that includes the quality of your equipment and supplies. Plastisol screen printers, it’s time for you to meet Baselayr Plastisol Emulsion.

WHO SHOULD USE IT?

Printers who primarily use plastisol ink should use Baselayr Plastisol Emulsion. Whether you’re on a manual or automatic press, it’ll perform great. For the emulsion to perform well, you need to have a developed darkroom. The emulsion is not as forgiving as Long Lasting, so your darkroom needs to be light-safe.

Your exposure unit matters as well. An exposure unit with a vacuum and higher wattage LED bulbs or Metal Halide lamp systems is your best bet. The emulsion can work with weaker light sources like halogen, fluorescent tubes, or black-lights. You’ll need to keep the following factors in mind:

  • Quality of light source. Weaker light sources will produce a decent screen, but the stencil will be softer. Long print runs can suffer premature stencil breakdown.
  • Detail resolution. Multi-tube light sources can cause light scatter. It would be difficult to maintain good detail.
  • Lack of proper compression. Without a vacuum lid, maintaining tight contact between the film and the emulsion is hard.

If you’re worried or notice that you’re losing details in rinse out, use Baselayr Long Lasting Emulsion. Long Lasting is designed to be more forgiving for weaker light sources and DIY darkrooms. If you use Baselayr Plastisol with a weaker light source, use Baselayr Emulsion Prep. It’ll help create a more receptive surface for the emulsion to adhere to.

Otherwise, if you used HiFi emulsion, you’ll appreciate the improvements that Baselayr Plastisol Emulsion give to your quality of stencil and performance in production.

baselayr plastisol emulsion on a table next to a spatula

WHY SHOULD I USE IT?

Baselayr Plastisol is a pre-sensitized, high performance, high solids emulsion. The high solids formula allows for superior bridging of the mesh. You’ll be able to speed up your darkroom process since it has extremely fast exposure times. Details will rinse out fast and it’ll be a breeze to reclaim it (if the screen was properly exposed). Those details will hold well on-press — manual or automatic.

One of the coolest features of the emulsion is the ability to print short, water-based runs.

You'll need to either post-expose the screen or use Baselayr Emulsion Hardener to make it work. To post-expose, dry the screen and expose it again at three times the rate you first exposed it. If you go the Emulsion Hardener route, the stencil will be permanent and should last through the job.

With application of Baselayr Hardener you should be able to easily print 100-300 shirts. Quality of the coating, exposure, squeegee pressure, and the amount of time the hardener sat on the screen will determine the actual amount. If you need to print a large water-based run, use Baselayr Long Lasting or Baselayr Complete.

person coating a screen

HOW SHOULD I COAT SCREENS?

For mesh counts below 230 or 200, coat 1x2 (one coat on the t-shirt side, two on the squeegee side) or 2x2. For mesh counts higher than 230 or 200, coat 1x1 or 2x1.

Which coating technique you choose will depend on the design and what works best for your print shop. As always, test it out before going into production.

WHAT ABOUT EXPOSURE TIMES?

When trying anything new in screen printing, you need to test it out. That rule especially applies to new emulsion. Mesh count, stencil thickness, exposure unit, mesh color, and moisture levels will affect exposure times.

Here are a few general guidelines that’ll help you dial in exposure times:

  • Lower mesh counts will need longer exposure times.
  • Higher mesh counts will have faster exposure times.
  • Yellow mesh will need longer exposure yet will produce more detail resolution.
  • White mesh will have speedier exposure times.
  • Thicker stencils need longer exposure.
  • Thinner stencils will expose quicker.
  • Coated screens with more moisture will result in under-exposure. It will be difficult to rinse out.
  • Coated screens with less moisture will result in proper exposure. It'll produce the best detail resolution.

PRO TIP: Keep humidity levels below 40% at all times in the darkroom. Use a dehumidifier to make sure the darkroom stays dry.

person putting a screen on an exposure unit

Below are suggested exposure times for different mesh counts. Screens were tested on the V2331 LED Exposure Unit and the Y3942 LED Exposure Unit. If you have an exposure unit with a weaker light source, it will take longer to expose the screens.

  • 156 White Mesh with the X-Vactor — 0:25-0:35
  • 156 White Mesh with the FX — 0:06-0:07
  • 230 Yellow Mesh with the X-Vactor — 0:30-0:40
  • 230 Yellow Mesh with the FX — 0:07-0:08
  • 156 Yellow Hi-Dro/Thin Thread — 0:35-0:45
  • 230 Yellow Hi-Dro/Thin Thread — 0:30-0:40

Start testing exposure times based on these times. You may find that you need to lengthen or shorten the time to achieve an optimal stencil. Test it out before going into production. Use a Step Wedge Calculator to discover what times achieve the best results.

Great prints need strong foundations. Take charge in the darkroom. Streamline your process with a high quality, high performance plastisol emulsion. Baselayr – emulsion made simple.

BaselayrBaselayr plastisolChoosing emulsionDark roomDarkroomEmulsionExposureExposure unitFinding exposure timeScreen printing exposureScreens