fn-ink mixing white and blue ink containers next to a person on their computer looking up a color on the fn-ink mixing software

Is it really necessary to have a mixing white? What’s the difference between a mixing white ink and regular white plastisol ink? Can you use a regular white to mix inks? Print expert Colin Huggins talks about the differences and why printers want a mixing white in their ink arsenal.

WHAT IS A STANDARD WHITE PLASTISOL INK?

Before we get into the specifics, let’s get back to basics. What is white plastisol ink?

The standard white plastisol ink is designed to be opaque and bright. The white ink will matte the fibers of the shirt to create a vibrant white with only a couple of print strokes. If you need an underbase or a print requires white in the design, then you need to use regular white ink.

RELATED: RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT FN-INK™ IS THE MOST OPAQUE PLASTISOL INK

fn-ink mixing white open container

Photo by Press or Dye.

WHAT IS MIXING WHITE?

A mixing white ink is balanced for the purpose of mixing Pantone Colors. It has a different chemical makeup than regular white ink. It's design to color balance, which makes it essential for an ink mixing system.

Say you’re printing 100 grams of PMS 186c. According to the FN-INK™ Mixing System, you’ll need 4.99 grams of FN-INK ™ Mixing White. Since this ink is balanced and designed for Pantone mixing, you’ll be able to mix PMS 186c to the exact shade every time. No color shift in sight.

RELATED: UNLOCK ANY COLOR WITH THE FN-INK™ PLASTISOL INK MIXING SYSTEM

a scale with a container on it with white and blue ink in it. yellow, mixing white, blue, and red ink around it

Photo by PRNT SCRN.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MIX PANTONE COLORS WITH A REGULAR WHITE INK?

Mixing White is important to a mixing system because of its chemistry. Regular white is designed to be opaque and vibrant. If you try to use it as a mixing white, your final color might not match the color you’re trying to mix. White ink is not created to be color-balanced like a mixing white, so the same amount of white plastisol ink will not create the same color batch to batch.

a white underbase print on a shirt on press

Photo by Aerogant Prints.

CAN I PRINT A MIXING WHITE DIRECTLY ONTO FABRIC?

Mixing white is not designed for printing direct-to-fabric because it is not an opaque, stand-alone white. If you print the mixing white onto a shirt, light will penetrate through the ink layer more and it will look more faded on the shirt. So if you’d like to make a print look vintage, you could use the mixing white. If you’re looking for a bold, bright, white, then you need to use a standard white ink.

Mixing white is necessary to mix Pantone colors with an ink mixing system. A standard white ink is required for prints that require a bright, opaque white. Printers need to have both inks if they want to provide a full array of color matching services. 

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