Posts filed under ‘How-To’

Creating Pantone Formulas Part 1

How2Pantone 1

How Do You Create A Pantone® Color Formula? A Behind-the-Scenes Look

This article was recently published on Impressions magazine’s February 2018 edition.

How do we develop the most exact Pantone® color matches?  The short answer is that it’s not as easy as it seems and a lot of effort is involved in getting it done.  Most printers already know that Pantone® is the main color standard key used worldwide. The system consists of color catalogs containing different shades of various colors.  Each color shade is identified with a unique number, often referred to as the Pantone® or PMS color. Having such a standard makes it easy to reference a color exactly and eliminates mistakes or misunderstandings. A customer’s “lavender blue” may not correspond to a printer’s idea of “lavender blue,” but when both are referencing Pantone®7451C, the chance that the printer’s color choice matches the customer’s color vision, increases.

Colors may also look different printed on different types of substrates, so the Pantone® color catalogs are separated into coated (C), uncoated (U) and matte (M) guides to give the user as much accuracy as possible.  Most printers use the coated or uncoated values, often to simulate either shiny plastisol (coated) or matte water-base inks (uncoated).

Another important point to note is to never match a color against a color swatch online. Each monitor is different and a color image viewed on one monitor will be vastly different when viewed on another monitor.  Be sure to invest in an actual Pantone® catalog instead.

It’s not uncommon for customers to request their designs be printed in specific colors. For example, some customers ask for their logo or art to be matched to specific Pantone® colors. Rather than trying to mix and match the ink colors on their own, printers have the option of using a color matching system.

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International Coatings offers a number of color matching systems in its UltraMix® line, most notably the 7500 Series Color Mixing System.  These systems consist of a number of ‘primary’ colors that when mixed according to a formula, will produce a fairly close Pantone® color simulation.  The formulas for the various color mixing systems we carry are published on our Formulation Calculator website (http://www.iccultramix.com). Obviously, these formulas are specific to our color systems and would not match if other ink systems were used.

So how is the formula developed?  Well, we start by getting a new Pantone® book every year and then meticulously go through every color, one-by-one.  Considering there are over 1,867 existing colors, it’s a monumental task.  To complicate things, Pantone® releases over 100 new colors around March of each year!  For example in 2016 alone, Pantone® added 112 new colors.

PMS 263 C (1)-REV

Difference in PMS colors between two Pantone® books, each supposedly with the same color value

Aside from the number of colors that we need to match and manage, we also watch for color shifts in the Pantone® colors.  Many don’t realize that colors in the Pantone® booklets tend to shift with age or exposure to harsh lighting or operating conditions.  (It’s important to store the books in a protected environment and switch them out on a regular basis.)  In addition, Pantone®’s “standard” colors often do not match exactly from year to year.  This may be due to their printing process or changes in the paper they print on; but colors from a book printed last year or a couple of years ago, may be different from the book coming out this year. This may be true on only certain shades or colorways, but may present a significant shift nevertheless.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the article.

Mark Brouillard is International Coatings’ product manager and has considerable experience in formulating and manufacturing industrial compounds.  For the past 16 years, his focus has been on the formulation and product development of textile screen printing inks.

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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February 15, 2018 at 5:17 am 1 comment

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

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.

October 10, 2017 at 5:41 am 1 comment

How to Adjust Midtones on a Complicated Design

Galaxy

How do I adjust midtones on a complicated design so the print will look good? This was a question posed by a Printwear reader, and here is Kieth Stevens’ response:

Proper and consistent emulsion control is of the utmost importance in achieving good results on a complicated print. Make sure that the screen emulsion is correct, meaning there must be enough emulsion on the bottom of the screen (the side that touches the shirt) to control and contain the ink being deposited.

Think of the emulsion as a gasket; if you have a leak, then the ink will spread. This will cause the ink dots to begin to touch, commonly known as dot gain. Sometimes this can be difficult to control due to variables like the type of shirt fabric, but the better the ink containment, the better the results. This all boils down to the emulsion coverage on the screen.

 

International Coatings Blog | Forum for Screen Printing Tips, Ideas, Thoughts

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.

 

 

August 31, 2017 at 4:56 am 1 comment

How can I get started with screen-printing trucker caps or baseball caps?

There are some cap companies that offer a program where they will send you the unsewn front piece of the cap, so that it can be screen printed and sent back to them for finishing. If using this route, be sure to allow enough time for the fabrication of the caps after the printed fabric pieces have been sent.

For printing on finished caps, look for a specialized platen accessory that helps clamp the hat down during printing. Also, make sure to test whether the cap can be cured through the dryer at the temperature required to cure the ink.  For certain heat-sensitive cap materials, a low-cure additive may be necessary.

Another method is to screen-print transfers that you can then apply to the caps using a heat press machine specifically for caps.

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. 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.

July 27, 2017 at 5:06 am 1 comment

Image Washing Out After Exposure?

Be careful not to use excessive water pressure as this can also tear parts of unexposed emulsion.

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. 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.

July 20, 2017 at 9:57 am 1 comment

How do I properly clean the ink off my screens?

Try to remove as much of the ink as you can using a plastic scraper that is flat, but not sharp, to avoid ripping the screen. Many people now use eco-friendly solvents made from natural sources like soybean oil or orange oil, and some still use mineral spirits. Keep in mind that many of the natural type solvents often leave an oily residue. This can be removed with a stronger cleaning solvent and will help in avoiding any issues for the tape to adhere to the screen later on.

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. 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.

July 7, 2017 at 5:20 am 1 comment

How can I avoid separations overlapping on a T-shirt print?

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

The first thing I would check on the job is the screen tension. Screen tension has much to say about influencing the registration of images. Typically, low tension is an underestimated culprit of many things. However, the opposite can also apply. If one screen is high tension and the other ones are low, registration can also be out of sync.

If all the images align on the film positives, then the next issue is the screens. For example, if you have a five-color job and all the screens are in the correct tension range except for one, then I would expect that the one screen out of tension would be the culprit.

One other thing to check is whether or not you are using some screens with high mesh counts. Smaller mesh openings require more pressure to get the ink to pass, which in turn reduces the opacity. If the screen tension is not optimal, this can often cause blurry images because the screen mesh moves as it is being printed; which brings me back to why images don’t register properly, one or more of the screens might be off in tension.

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. 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.

June 28, 2017 at 5:35 am 1 comment

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