Every screen printer wants their prints to be the best. They want the t-shirts coming off the press and through their conveyor dryer to look and feel great. When a screen print shop produces a good looking screen printed t-shirt it not only helps with repeat business, but can attract new clients. Producing fantastic looking shirts and garments requires multiple things. One of the most important of those things, is a high quality plastisol ink. By using the best screen printing plastisol ink, every printer is closer their goal of printing the best looking t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags or any other garments and promotional products.
Choosing the best screen printing plastisol ink solely based on price is “penny wise and pound foolish.” What can be a low price in the beginning quickly becomes more expensive as you have to take time (labor) and use ink modifiers (more chemicals to buy) to make the ink the consistency that you want. High quality, premier plastisol ink will have the following 6 features:
1. Shelf Life: High quality plastisol inks have a longer shelf life. This reduces the chances of ink expiring on the shelf and lets you buy in bulk. Getting 1-gallon instead of a quart, or a 5-gallon instead of a gallon helps lower price as you get volume discounts from most screen print suppliers.
2. Ink Prep & Modification: Using a Ready for Use plastisol screen printing ink requires less stirring and ink modifiers. For instance, getting a low cure ink like the Dynamic Ink RFU series that naturally cures at 270 degrees saves you from having to add a low-cure additive. You will save money by cutting down on reducers and modifiers you purchase as well as the labor spent mixing.
3. Ink Flow: When ink crawls up your squeegee, it not only slows you down but it is very annoying to have to stop production and to scrape down the excess ink.
4. Print Coverage: A better ink covers better on your shirt. This is especially true for low bleed (LB) plastisol inks. The fewer passes, and/or the less you need to print/flash/print, the faster you can print t-shirts.
5. Flashing: The best screen printing plastisol inks flash fast and are low tack. Shorter flash times increase production rates. Additionally, reducing flash time minimizes the chances of scorching your shirt. Heat sensitive material like polyester, dry fit and other moisture wicking/athletisure wear can shrink when flashed. If your t-shirt or garment shrinks too much it can affect your color registration.
6. Better T-Shirts: Most people want their t-shirt to feel smooth and look great. A high quality plastisol ink has a good hand. The best screen printing inks also are low bleed. If a plastisol ink is “low bleed,” that means it does a good job of preventing the color pigment in the shirt from coming through the ink. If you print white ink onto a red shirt and the red starts to come through, turning the white ink pink, that ink is not very good at stopping “bleeding.”
Using these 6 factors will help any screen printer choose the best screen printing plastisol ink to produce better screen printed prints — whether it is on a tee shirt, hoodie, long sleeve, tote bag or anything else. The wash fastness and longevity of your shirt or garment will be better versus an inferior ink. Putting quality plastisol ink in your manual or automatic printing press makes printing easier.