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Hi there,
After a over a year of researching and learning screen printing I have figured out most of the main hurdles except one: most of the designs I screen end up with a thick "plastic" feel to them. So far I have only used the cheap ink at my local screen printing supply shop (I think its plastisol, very thick and gunky), and also Speedball (which is lighter and more liquid), but with both I get the same noticeable thick hand feel.
Is this because I am printing on dark fabrics that require opaque ink? Are there other brands of ink that you know can work on dark garnments and leave less of a hand? Our shirts are 4.5 oz, being so thin and having a noticeable hand is not a good combo. I greatlely appreciate any help/suggestions.

Thanks,

Max.
 

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Is this because I am printing on dark fabrics that require opaque ink? Are there other brands of ink that you know can work on dark garnments and leave less of a hand? Our shirts are 4.5 oz, being so thin and having a noticeable hand is not a good combo.
part of it is the inks but also partly do to your technique i'm assuming.
What mesh count are you using? the lower the mesh count, the more ink deposit you will get.
are you using proper off contact on your press?

printing on dark ground is a challenge if you want soft hand with bright colors. using Discharge and water based inks will give a very soft hand on dark grounds.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions/questions. This weekend I was using regular 110 mesh, I do have several other screens (160 to 230)...I had not thought of it being that big of a factor, thanks for pointing that out. I do have proper off contact on my manual printer...
I have heard before about discharge ink, is the hand difference really noticeable? I have used the regular cheap Speedball fabric and opaque ones, they are water based but I did not see a lot of difference (still feels thick).
Any other suggestions on technique and/or ink brands/types are very appreciated!

Max
 

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I have heard before about discharge ink, is the hand difference really noticeable? I have used the regular cheap Speedball fabric and opaque ones, they are water based but I did not see a lot of difference (still feels thick).
I haven't used speedball inks before so i can't comment on that brand of ink.

Discharge ink is sort of like printing bleach, it removes the dye from the fabric so that you are printing on a light ground color rather then the dark garment dye color. You then print (they do have a color discharge ink now) a water based ink for your colors.
Water based inks have little to no hand feel but aren't great for dark garments (i believe there's an opaque water based ink that's good for darks but the hand feel isn't very soft)

i haven't personally worked with waterbased inks before but from my understanding they are fairly translucent. If they are formulated to be more opaque i'm guessing that means more solids and that would result in a hand feel.
 

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Great! Thanks for the explanation on discharge inks. So it this a 2 step process then? 1.to remove the shirt ink, 2. to actually screen the colors? If so are the colors I already use or are they special in any way?
You are right about water based (Speedball one are), they are very translucent and the opaque ones are a bit thicker, thus the hard hand.
Do you know of any brands in particular for discharge ink?

Thanks again for the help,

Max.
 

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Discharge is good I like it very much. Discharge will pretty much break the emulsion down kind of fast so exposing it a second time is a good idea or adding a screen hardener. It also has a pot life not a good idea to work with it beyond then so make sure you don't mix up a huge amount we do small batches until the job is done. Make sure you always clean your tools and screens don't let them sit for days.
CCI also has a plastisol discharge that is almost fool proof might check that before waterbased discharge because it is easier to work with.
 

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Discharge / plasticharge are good but that doesn't mean you need to abandon plastisol. If you were using a 110 mesh that's the main issue right there. Start with a 160 or 200 mesh with a good white ink, flash it, then step on it with a blank screen (no image, base instead of ink and a regular squeegee), then follow with the last white on a 200 or 230. That should be a lot better than what you did before. You realize water based inks take a lot more time to cure than plastisol?
 

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Discharge & water based inks will have the softest hand. If you do not want to use discharge or water based inks & want to get the softest hand with plastisol, I recommend trying these inks:

- Rutland Silky Cotton (or Low Bleed) White
- Wilflex Epic Quick White
- OneStroke Comfort Fast Flash White
 
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