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Basic Information about Ink

            Basic Information About Ink

There are three types of ink you will be dealing with: plastisol, water based
and solvent based inks.  Plastisol are dominant for textiles in the North
American market with water based being the second best seller.  In Europe,
water based inks are dominant for textiles, although plastisol ink sales are
increasing.  Water based and solvent based inks are used in graphic printing
like signs and posters. There are also UV inks for printing posters and the
like, but they require a special and expensive UV curing unit. 

Plastisol inks are composed of PVC (plastic) which is a dry white powder, a plasticizer
to convert the powder to a semi-liquid state, and pigment for color.  Those
are the basic ingredients.  There are a wide variety of additives, like
seasonings in cooking, which are added for different effects.  So a basic
ink can be converted to a puff ink, 3-D ink, athletic ink, and more.  There
is no water in plastisol inks.  Curing occurs by heat, not by oxidation.  So
an infra-red dryer will be necessary to melt the ink into the garment.  The
value of the PVC is that it bonds by melting the pigment to the garment.  For
that reason, plastisol inks are more durable when subjected to abrasion, contact
sports and aggressive soaps.  Clean up is easy with a citrus based cleaner,
but better with a soy bean liquid, both of which are biodegradable.  Properly
handled, plastisol inks are the best option for the environment, because nothing
evaporates and nothing should go down the drain.  Water based inks will
result in unused ink going down the drain.

Water based inks are basically water and pigment, but again with additives.  The water
must be dried leaving the pigment on the garment.  Drying is a cooling
process that prevents the pigment from reaching the temperature necessary to
bond the pigment to the garment.  Once the water has evaporated the remaining
pigment can rise in temperature and fuse to the garment.  This bond with
the garment is not as durable as pigment encapsulated in plastic.  Pigment
that is not in plastic also will absorb into the garment leaving a softer feel.  Pigment
that absorbs into a fabric is influenced by the color of the fabric and less
opaque.  When printing dark garments, for example, water based inks are
less desirable.  Water based inks excel on white 100% cotton garments
of uniform weave as opposed, for example, to a rib or other texture.  Water
based inks are more easily cleaned out of screens, and can dry in the screens
during the printing process.  Garments printed with water based inks can
be cleaned by dry cleaning.  Plastisol inks would be washed out of garments
cleaned by dry cleaning.

Solvent based inks are pigment in some sort of solvent that air dries.  The solvent
typically etches the surface being printed on to provide adhesion for the pigment.  The
odor of the solvent drying can be strong and objectionable, especially is closed
areas.  These inks will dry quickly in the screen resulting in the image
being plugged and very difficult to clean.  Water based inks, by contrast,
can be cleaned out of the image area with plain water and cloth.  Solvent
based inks typically are not used with textiles, but rather in graphic printing
applications like stickers, signs and the like.  Clean up requires another
strong odor chemical that is nasty.

All products are 100% Made in USA, except mesh. No mesh is made in USA. There is NO Odor from any products we sell, or risk to children and pets. All products are green. The greatest health hazard is spray adhesive, but we offer Double Tape which eliminates spray adhesive, costs less, produces better print quality and allows you to print faster. We can tell you how to reduce your electric bill, sales taxes and more. We will help you improve your business.