The Effects of Humidity on Screen Printing

screenAnother recent article published in ‘Printwear‘ by John Levocz. It’s that time of year again when everything in your shop seems to be wet due to high humidity, and this humidity can cause several problems in your shop that you should be aware of.

First, screens will take a lot longer to dry after degreasing and also after coating with emulsion. Do not rush the coated screens. Make sure they are dry all the way through the emulsion coating. If they are tacky to the touch, they need more drying time. Rushing the screens can cause pinhole and emulsion washout issues.

Second, when using plastisol inks, the moisture in the garments need to be driven out before the curing process can start to take place. Shops with smaller dryers and very little airflow can expect to see their cure time increase, so it is important to re-check your cure before blaming the ink.

John Levocz is North East regional sales manager for International Coatings. For more information, visit iccink.com and read the company’s blog

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of non-phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 31, 2015 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

A Simple Test for Screen-Room Lighting

Screen2

Here’s a recent article published in ‘Impressions‘ by Keith Stevens:

My background is in halftone photography, and when I was using this old-school technology, it was imperative to have the proper light in the dark room where the film was handled.

It also was extremely important to have no unfiltered light entering the room either from cracks under the door, a vent or any other source. The film must be protected and inside its original box if ever the door was opened.

I’m not the know-it-all expert in screen making, but I have coated tens of thousands of screens, so I have a little experience. In light of the requirements when it comes to the screen room, it amazes me to see how forgiving many of today’s emulsions are when it comes to ambient light. That’s not to say they are immune from all light, but I’m amazed at what the common screen room can get away with.

In my perfect world, I would only use light that is filtered with a red filter — something like a Rubylith. There also are special bulbs that are made for film use. Why am I so paranoid, you ask? Well, if you’ve made as many screens as I have, in as many environments, you get a feel for how it can affect your screens and productivity.

If you have unfiltered or poorly filtered light in your screen-coating room, then a freshly coated-and-dried screen from this morning may work fine. But if that same screen were to sit on the shelf for a few days, you may find that you’ll have trouble getting the same printing results.

Here’s a simple test you can use to see if your screens are slowly getting exposed in your screen coating or coated screen-drying room:

1. Coat a 160 screen in the typical way. (I suggest two coats on the shirt side and two coats on the ink side.)
2. Dry the screen with the shirt side down horizontally.
3. Turn the screen upside down with the shirt side up.
4. Place six quarters separated by a few inches on the freshly coated-and-dried screen and leave them there for 24 hours. (You can substitute dimes or other coins instead of the quarters, just as long as they are opaque.) Ensure that you won’t have to move the screen for the duration of the test.
5. Remove one quarter, but take care not to move any others. Leave the screen in place for another 24 hours.  Repeat this until all the quarters are gone.
6. When you have finished your test, go directly to the washout booth. Don’t expose the screen with any type of light. Now this is where you need to pay close attention: While you’re washing out the screen, it should all wash out at the same time. If you, in any way, can see where you placed the quarters, then the ambient light in your screen room is not correctly filtered.

The point of the experiment is to minimize one important controllable variable — one that is often overlooked or misunderstood, in my opinion — in the screen-making process. Inconsistencies in this process can be extremely frustrating, and can cost time and effort to fix.

Looking at your bottom line, that extra time and effort may result in a loss of money in the long run.


Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. He also won a 2014 Golden Image Award from SGIA. For more information, visit iccink.com and read the company’s blog at internationalcoatingsblog.com

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of non-phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 23, 2015 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

New Video: Stretchy Puff Print

Puff is back in style! But instead of the stiff puff prints of yesterday, here is an instructional how-to video featuring Kieth Stevens, on screen printing a stretchy puff design. Learn how to print a puff that stretches with the fabric and won’t crack.  The print has also been enhanced with Crystalina flakes for extra effect.

This video was also recently featured on Impression’s Screen Printing Video section as well.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of non-phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

July 14, 2015 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing you a safe and Happy Independence Day 2015! 4TH OF  JULY 2015From all of us here at International Coatings.

June 30, 2015 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

International Coatings – Closed – Friday, July 3, 2015

IC CLOSED JULY 3 2015

We Will Be Closed July 3rd!

In observance of the 4th of July U.S. Independence Day holiday, our offices will be

closed Friday, July 3, 2015. We will return on Monday, July 6th.

June 26, 2015 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Happy Father’s Day

From all of us at International Coatings.

HAPPY FATHERS DAY 2015

June 20, 2015 at 4:00 am Leave a comment

How Do I Test to Make Sure My Inks Are Properly Cured?

We get this question all the time about how one can make sure that the ink is properly cured.  A “Wash Test” is the best method.

Here’s how to do it:  Take a sample print, cut it in half, and wash it 3 to 5 times in a conventional washing machine with 3 pairs of (old) jeans or towels.

wash test

Left side: Unwashed sample, right side: Washed sample

Set the washer for ‘Hot Wash/Cold Rinse’. Set the dryer for ‘Cotton/High’ and dry for 30 minutes. Complete 3 to 5 wash cycles and compare the “washed” sample to the “unwashed” sample. If you see cracking of the ink film or ink loss, your inks are likely under-cured.

For more information and FAQs, please visit our website @ www.iccink.com and click on the ‘How-To & Techniques’ link.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of non-phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whites, specialty inks, special effects inks, color matching systems, additives and reducers. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

June 11, 2015 at 4:00 am 2 comments

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