This is a topic that may appear almost too obvious to mention again but apparently it’s not—different fabrics need different inks formulated for those specific fabrics.
What has prompted this discussion in the past and has prompted it again now is that inquiries show that printers are still surprised when their regular white ink turns pink on red Polyester or when their regular general-purpose ink cracks on Lycra. These should be rookie problems but even some seasoned printers still seem to have some of these issues; and they can be costly issues.
So, bear with me while I preach the same sermon . . . In the earlier days of textile screen printing we did not have the variety of fabrics that we now have. These days, every time that you turn around somebody has come out with a new fabric and then shortly after that customers start turning up with this never-before-seen fabric and they want you to print their team or corporate logo on it. Before you reach for the ink bucket you had better know exactly what the fabric is; and don’t necessarily assume that you can believe the label. I’ve seen Polyesters labelled as Nylon and Nylon labeled as Polyester; believing labels can definitely make a mess of your print job.
Obvious fabric characteristics like stretch, weave, mesh, and so forth can be determined right away by visual inspection, but there are also simple tests for less obvious characteristics such as whether a fabric is, say, a Nylon or a Polyester. If the nature of the fabric cannot be readily established then you should consider having it analyzed and matched with the right type of ink by Avient’s applications laboratory in Georgia. This can be arranged through any of the Stanley’s branches.
Stanley’s has textile inks for every known fabric including 100% cotton, cotton/Polyester blends, Polyester, smooth Nylon, Nylon Mesh, various athletic fabrics, stretch fabrics and a host of others. They also have inks for special effects such as high density prints, ‘crackle’ prints, suede simulation, and puff prints on various fabrics.
The bottom line here is that for a successful print that will keep customers coming back, you must know what the fabric is and then use the right ink type on it.
If you have any doubts at all about the ink to use on a certain fabric, particularly if it is a fabric that you do not often encounter, give Stanley’s a call.