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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a beginner at screen printing and am currently laying orange plastisol ink on different colored shirts. I started with darkish-brown shirts and they came out ok but I noticed that it seemed like not enough ink was passing through to make a thick layer. I then moved on to white shirts and changed nothing about my setup or process and they all turned out amazing - very nice thick layer of ink on all of them. After I finished those I moved on to my black colored shirt (again not changing anything about my setup or the way I was doing anything) and they looked even worse than the brown shirts. For some reason it seems as though more ink is being applied on the lighter colored shirts even though im not changing anything.

The shirts are all made out of the same material (50/50 blend) and I have already added reducer to the ink to make it easier for it to pass through the screen (110 mesh). I have even messed around with the off-contact and nothing seems to help - it seems like its purely the color of the shirt thats making the final result bad. Has anyone had this same issue or perhaps know what else I could try to solve it? Thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There's a reason painters use white canvas for their creations. It creates the truest, most vibrant image.

Same with plastisol. If you are not getting the results you want, start with a white canvas; lay down a white ink underbase.
I see. So from what I am reading you need a bright underbase if you are printing on dark garments. Since I only have a single color screen printing press that makes it kind of difficult. I am wondering if it has to be white ink, or if I could use my orange ink as an underbase, (it is quite bright), flash it with a heat gun, and then apply a second layer of the orange ink and put it under a flash drier to cure. Thanks for the information I was not aware that people used underbases for dark garments
 

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I see. So from what I am reading you need a bright underbase if you are printing on dark garments. Since I only have a single color screen printing press that makes it kind of difficult. I am wondering if it has to be white ink, or if I could use my orange ink as an underbase, (it is quite bright), flash it with a heat gun, and then apply a second layer of the orange ink and put it under a flash drier to cure. Thanks for the information I was not aware that people used underbases for dark garments
Typical inks are not all that opaque, thus the need to underbase with white (which is absolutely loaded with pigment to ensure that it is opaque).

Alternatively, some brands offer opaque versions of colored inks. They cost more, as the pigment load is high, but they save having to underbase.

Either way, you'll likely need to Print/Flash/Print on dark garments.

For dark garments, I use opaque inks and no underbase (water based in my case, but that doesn't matter).
 

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I am wondering if it has to be white ink, or if I could use my orange ink as an underbase, (it is quite bright).
Your orange would be better than nothing. End result is a more opaque print as NoXid spoke about above. But nothing beats white.

flash it with a heat gun, and then apply a second layer of the orange ink and put it under a flash drier to cure
Why are you using a heat gun to flash when you have a flash dryer? :giggle:

I was not aware that people used underbases for dark garments
99% of the time for major commercial production runs.
 

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One more point that came to mind. Using 50/50 blends also creates the risk of dye migration. It's where the polyester dye seeps into your orange image. You won't necessarily see it right away. Sometimes the garment has to be washed some before it presents itself.

If you are printing these for paying customers, you should do some wash tests before they are delivered.

Those who use white underbases can reduce the probability of dye migration by using a low cure dye blocking white ink. It's an underbase specifically formulated for polyester content garments. You can also get in other colors, maybe even your orange.
 

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The shirts are all made out of the same material (50/50 blend)
Splathead beat me to it... but it is dye migration.

Those who use white underbases can reduce the probability of dye migration by using a low cure dye blocking white ink. It's an underbase specifically formulated for polyester content garments. You can also get in other colors, maybe even your orange.
If you use low cure plastisol, all the layers have to be low cure.
When using opaque inks, the under-base is not strictly necessary.
Having said that, some fabrics (lycra content for example) need a dye blocker, even when low cure plastisol is used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One more point that came to mind. Using 50/50 blends also creates the risk of dye migration. It's where the polyester dye seeps into your orange image. You won't necessarily see it right away. Sometimes the garment has to be washed some before it presents itself.

If you are printing these for paying customers, you should do some wash tests before they are delivered.

Those who use white underbases can reduce the probability of dye migration by using a low cure dye blocking white ink. It's an underbase specifically formulated for polyester content garments. You can also get in other colors, maybe even your orange.
With my current setup the flash drier does not extend high enough for me to flash the shirt on the screen press and I do not want to move the garment (I built my own table and probably did not think this far ahead, it is pretty tall). Right now I am only doing one layer per shirt so I apply the ink, take it off the screen press, and place it under the flash dryer to cure it using a temp gun. I will see today if having an orange underbase will make the print better and use the heat gun for these trial shirts. If it works then I will probably have to cut the legs of the table down so I can just use the flash drier.

Thank you for all of the useful information, it seems as though the best solution is to get a multi color screen press ASAP so i can lay a white underbase on my garments. I have been doing wash tests every step along the way, sending customers shirts that wash out or look bad after they get washed is the last thing I want to do. I really appreciate the help and will let you know if I have any more questions!
 

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Others have addressed your vibrancy issues well. I just wonder why you're adding reducer to orange ink, especially with 110 mesh. The only color I tend to reduce is white and I'm pushing it through either 155 or 230 mesh. 110 is very open and orange (at least the Wilflex ink I have) is pretty viscous as it comes in the bucket after a little bit of stirring. Over reducing can also add to your opaque problems.
 

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I just wonder why you're adding reducer to orange ink, especially with 110 mesh.
Thin ink is just easier to print, and easier to steer.
You can definitely print opaque plastisol through 110 mesh, but adding reducer makes it effortless.
For me personally, if I cannot print with one hand, the ink is too thick.

I used to work on my own, printing up to 600 shirts per day on a manual press.
Try doing this with opaque ink straight out of the bucket, and you will soon become a reducer addict as well.
 
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