What do I need to know about printing on athleisure garments?

October 10, 2017 at 5:41 am Leave a comment

7100Performance4This was a question posed by a Printwear Magazine reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

  1. Plastisol inks are usually stretchy by nature, but adding a little bit of stretch additive can greatly improve its stretch-ability. This is especially true for performance and athletic fabrics, which often contain a high percentage of Lycra. Adding excessive amounts of a stretch additive, however, could reduce the opacity of the ink, so it is important to only add about one to five percent.
  2. There are new inks on the market, such as performance inks, which have been specifically formulated for these next-generation performance fabrics. These inks have great stretch-ability and allow for lower curing temperatures (275 degrees F). The ability to cure at lower temperatures helps to control any potential dye migration issues. [Check out International Coatings’ 7100 Performance Pro™ Ink)

Some of these materials and material colors may require you to print an underbase for your athletic graphics. When printing vibrant colors on black or dark garments it is often necessary to print a white under-base first. This is due to the fact that many plastisol inks do not have the opacity to cover well on dark garments. White is printed first to provide a base for the colored ink to rest on. The under-base is flash cured before the remaining colors are printed.

It’s kind of like using a primer before adding the new color to your kitchen walls. The primer seals the surface which makes it nicer to paint on. Just as important as the ink itself, you also have to select the right screen.

Kieth Stevens is the Western regional sales manager for International Coatings. He has been screen printing for over 37 years, teaching screen printing for more than 10 years and is a regular contributor to International Coatings’ blogs. Kieth is also the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Golden Image Award Gold Winner, which is given out by SGIA (the Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

International Coatings manufactures a complete line of Centris™ non-Phthalate screen printing inks, including a wide variety of whitesspecialty inksspecial effects inks,color matching systemsadditives and reducers.  In addition, International Coatings also manufactures a line of AXEON™ non-Phthalate, non-PVC special effects inks. For more information on our products, please visit our website at www.iccink.com.

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Entry filed under: General, How-To, Information, Printing Tips. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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