With seven new specialty inks from FN-INK™, there’s a lot to explore. Gold, silver, puff, extender base, and many other inks and additives all create different awesome effects. With so much to experiment with, why not try to add as many specialty inks in one design as possible? Print expert Colin Huggins is on the case.
When designing a print that’s going to use so many specialty inks, it’s important to make sure the design looks good, not gaudy. Since Colin is going to use metallic inks, puff, and more, the design has the potential to look very over-the-top and busy.
To keep things simple, Huggins goes for a baroque design with the words “FN Specialties” in block letters. He wants to fit as many eye-catching specialties into a design as possible. The different detailed elements will allow for many different inks without being too much. Huggins uses FN-INK™ Metallic Gold mixed with Curable Reducer, FN-INK™ Metallic Silver, Pearl, and Puff. He leaves out FN-INK™ Extender Base and Stretch.
The amount of specialty inks depends on how many print heads your press has. Use as many screens as you have available and choose the best specialties for that. Huggins prints on a Riley Hopkins 300 6x4, and uses all the color heads: a white underbase, Gold, Silver, Pearl, Puff, and a brown color mixed with the FN-INK™ Mixing System.
When printing a multi-color job, print order is important. This is especially true when printing with specialty inks. Huggins wants to print some of the gold and silver over both an underbase, and directly to the black shirt fabric. In addition to this, he wants to create a brown outline around the Pearl detail.
Huggins prints the white base first, flashes, and then prints another stroke of white to create a vibrant underbase. Then he prints FN-INK™ Gold and Puff, then flashes again, making sure not to flash too long and accidentally activate the FN-INK™ Puff. Then he prints Silver and Pearl, finishing the design with a brown outline. Each color was flashed, because the metallic inks do not print wet-on-wet.
When curing this print, there’s a few things to consider. First, Huggins checks the flash consistency. This can be done by creating a heat map using FN-INK™ Puff. Every flash unit has a “sweet spot” where the heat is most consistent. To learn more about creating a heat map, check out this blog.
Metallic ink reflects heat, so the dwell time needs to be a bit longer when curing in a conveyor dryer. Because FN-INK™ Puff needs a lower cure temperature in order to maintain its loft, Huggins experimented with the dwell time in the dryer so the entire print cured and came out looking great.
This rad design incorporates five out of eight specialty inks. What about the others? Well, if Huggins was printing on a polyester shirt, he might have added Barrier Black as a blocker base to stop dye migration. If the print needed to be stretchy, he could’ve added FN-INK™ Stretch into the base or into the colors. Adding Extender Base would create a watermark or tonal effect. He also would’ve needed a few more print heads.
The only limit to printing with specialty inks is your imagination. Let it run wild and create awesome designs.