There’s no doubt that Puff ink is awesome. It’s a favorite for printers of all types because it can be added to so many different types of prints. Whether the design is block text or fine-line detail, Puff makes it stand out. How much detail can you achieve with Puff? Print expert Colin Huggins wants to find out.
MECHANICS OF PUFF
A puff additive is made of tiny spherules that expand when they reach a specific temperature. When the spherules expand, the ink rises or puffs.
Puff ink expands out at all angles. A design with super fine lines or dots can get lost if placed too close together. The first test Colin performs is simply to see how Puff performs at different line widths. One effect he didn’t expect was an accordion effect. The Puff ink creates a ribbing effect, shrinking the shirt underneath.
When the puff expands, it puckers the shirt material underneath it. The more puff is printed in an area, the more the shirt will pucker.
Now that the line tests have been completed, Colin has some ideas for printing Puff ink with great detail.
PRINTING HIGH DETAIL
Colin prints multiple designs. The first is a test of puff’s high-detail capability. The design has detailed tentacles, stars, paisleys, and more. Puff ink should be mixed at a maximum of 20%. Since Colin is printing fine detail, he mixes Puff at 15% with FN-INK™ Black and uses a softer squeegee blade with a sharper angle.
The fine details in the design turned out amazing. The puff ink creates loft, while still preserving details in the star and paisleys. With the detailed test print completed, it’s time to take it one step further.
LARGE DETAIL PRINTS
First, Colin shows off a skull design, printed with 20% puff. It has tons of loft, and since the design is open, the print doesn’t show that it has puffed out as well as up.
Next comes an oversized moth print with incredible detail. He used a 157 thin-thread mesh screen, which will allow a lot of detail while still laying down a decent ink deposit. The print speaks for itself.
A bonus effect when printing highly detailed Puff designs are the hand feel. The print feels spongy and soft. It flexes with the wearer.
Getting a lot of detail out of puff inks takes some experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try things out and make mistakes. Use your imagination, geek out, and have fun with high-detail puff printing.