pink, blue, yellow, and red ink in a container

Do you have FN-INK™ on your shelves? If you do, you’re looking at an ink mixing system. 

That’s right. The classic line of FN-INK™ now doubles as a mixing system. 

Printers have loved how easy it is to print FN-INK™, how bright and vibrant colors are, how soft a print feels. With the addition of a Mixing White and Magenta, the FN-INK™ Mixing System allows printers to unlock an endless amount of colors while maintaining their favorite features.

Interested? Let’s look at why a printer would even need an ink mixing system, how to use FN-INK™’s system, and color matching. 

person mixing ink in a container

WHY WOULD I NEED AN INK MIXING SYSTEM?

Ever had a customer ask for a specific Pantone color? To meet their expectations, you’ll need an ink mixing system. 

You could try to eyeball it, but that leaves a wider margin for error. Why waste a bunch of time and ink when there’s a system designed to make life easier?

To make color match correctly, you need an ink mixing system with its software and a Pantone Coated Book to use as your reference. With a mixing system, it’s simple to make the color. All you have to do is pull up the color formula on the software, weigh out the colors, and mix. That’s it. 

If you have current customers who need color matching or want to expand your clientele, you’re going to want to invest in an ink mixing system.

RELATED: WHAT’S AN INK MIXING SYSTEM?

person mixing ink with the fn-ink mixing software on their computer

HOW TO USE THE FN-INK™ MIXING SYSTEM

Using the mixing system is straightforward. Before you begin, make sure you have the complete mixing kit, a scale, spatulas, a Pantone Color Coated Book, and mixing containers.

Alright, here’s the basics of using mixing ink colors:

  1. Pull up the mixing software on your computer or phone.
  2. Type in the Pantone number or scroll through the drop-down menu.
  3. Input the amount of grams of ink you need.
  4. Click “Load Formula.” 
  5. On the left side of the screen, the formula will appear. It’ll show the colors needed and the amounts. On the right, a lightning bolt will show the Pantone color.
  6. Place the container onto the scale and zero it out.
  7. Start adding the ink with the highest volume listed in the formula.
  8. Once the appropriate amount is in the container, set that color aside and clean off the spatula with an ink cleaner like Supreme Wash. You can also use a spatula for each color to avoid contaminating the inks.
  9. Zero out the scale again and add the next highest volume. Repeat as necessary.
  10. Once all the colors have been added to the container, use a clean spatula to mix the ink. Be sure to scrape the ink from the bottom of the cup and mix it into the rest of the ink.

See? It’s pretty easy, but there are a few nuances you should be aware of. 

pink, white, and red ink in a clear container

Your scale matters. The mixing software will display amounts to the hundredth of a gram. If your scale can measure that precisely, you’re good to go. If your scale does not measure out that far, you will have to round up or down. When rounding, you may see a color shift. 

The reason why you add the highest volume first is because a little bit of the color will remain on the bottom of the container once you finish mixing. Losing a smidge of that color isn’t a huge deal since the formula called for a large amount of it.

Add colors to the side of the mixing container, keeping them separate from the other colors if possible. By keeping the colors separate, you’re making your life easier in case you add too much of a color. You’ll be able to remove a bit of the ink without scooping out the other colors.

pantone color d50 booklet

LET’S TALK ABOUT COLOR MATCHING

When you have the color mixed, it’s time to confirm if it’s accurate. You can hold it up next to the Pantone swatch in the book, but your lightning will ultimately determine how the color will look. 

You can “test” your lighting to gauge its ability to display color accuracy. In the back of the Pantone book, there’s a page that shows the quality of your light source. If your lighting isn’t in the D50 range, some colors may look drastically different. 

Lastly, you’ll need to do a print test to ensure that the color matches. To test, print the inks through a 156 mesh screen onto white fabric. Cure the print as well to see if the color shifts. Get confirmation from your customer that it looks good to them, and you’re ready to go into production.

RELATED: WHAT ARE PANTONES?

Having an ink mixing system opens yourself up to a larger clientele. You’re able to serve people who need Pantone colors and others who don’t. Kinda seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?

What are you waiting for? Bring your art to life with an endless amount of colors.

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