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Catspit Screen Print Supply - Phoenix, Arizona
Catspit Screen Print Supply


Plastisol Inks

Plastisol Inks

all-tex-logo.jpgAll inks are tested and approved by Jonathan and Catspit Productions, LLC. These inks have been chosen for pricing, performance, durability, and longevity. When properly cured the prints from these high quality plastisol inks will outlast the garment.

Plastisol inks are limited to textiles. Most plastisol inks may be used at home when screen printing tee shirts. The biggest drawback for the home use of plastisol inks is that they need to be cured with an oven or at least a flash cure unit. Plastisol inks will never dry even when exposed to air until they are cured with heat. Plastisol ink has to reach a temperature of 320 to 330 degrees Fahrenheit so that it will cure and be dry to the touch. However, this ink is often considered to be easier to work with just because it won't dry in the screen during printing. Plastisol ink is also known to have excellent color, coverage, and durability.

There are different ways of curing plastisol inks. This is traditionally the problem for most home based screen printers. The machine of choice to have is a belt dryer. The shirt is simply pulled off the pallet and placed on a moving belt which carries it into the oven chamber where the ink reaches proper curing temperature. This is the easiest, most consistent method to cure large quantities of screen printed shirts. But it costs money and it requires space. Many home printers choose to use a flash cure unit to cure their plastisol printed shirts. This can be done on press or after the shirt has been pulled off of the pallet. Yet other residential printers use space heaters, heat guns, blow dryers and more to cure plastisol inks. Many of these "garage boy" techniques may work at home but they are not well suited for high volume commercial work. For high volume printing and faster print times a belt dryer will be necessary for best results.

Tips And Advice For Working With Plastisol Screen Printing Inks:

1) Plastisol inks are thixotropic therefore the more you mix and/or stir them, the thinner and creamier they will get. Working the ink on screen will also make it thinner as you print such as is the case with automatic presses.

2) The ambient room temperature can affect the thickness of plastisol ink. The colder it is the thicker it will be. Therefore it is wise to store inks, especially high opacity inks, at room temperature between 74 and 84 degrees F.

3) Adding reducers, soft hand base or thinners to high opacity inks will change their ink flow characteristics and reduce the opacity. Since these inks are formulated to be opaque it is illogical to add anything to the more expensive high opacity plastisol inks.

4) If you notice a clear, watery solution sitting on the top of your plastisol ink in the bucket then you need to mix it very well. The clear liquid is the plasticizer and that is what rubberizes the ink. The plastisol ink will not print or bond to the fabric properly unless mixed thoroughly so there is no clear liquids visibly present sitting on top of the ink.

5) Keep the plastisol ink containers tightly closed when not in use. Long periods of exposure to air will not only invite dust and debris but it may also thicken the ink up over time.

6) Plastisol inks begin to gel at about 175 to 250 degrees F so it is important to make sure plastisol inks do not get over heated for any reason. Semi gelled plastisol inks will not print well and may present bonding issues.

7) If your screen printing supplies dealer sells you an ink additive to solve a problem you are complaining about you should seriously consider changing suppliers. At Catspit Productions we do not sell you secondary products to fix and compensate for a product that fails to meet up to your expectations. We either replace it or take it back with a full refund.

8) Plastisol inks cure at 330 degrees F. This can take up to 1 minute or longer depending on how much ink is actually printed on the garment. Be sure to do cure tests to see that the ink is fully cured otherwise it will washout during repeated washings in the laundry.

9) When printing plastisol inks on polyester garments, you may need to use a polyester white ink under base to prevent dye migration. That’s when the dye in the shirt seeps into the plastisol ink and discolors it. This can happen with 50/50 poly cotton shirts and 100% polyester.

10) High humidity in the shop area when curing plastisol inks can be a problem. Either use a dehumidifier or run the garments through the belt dryer immediately prior to printing. Heavy 100% cotton fleece garments can hold a lot of moister and need time to dry out.