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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I'm new to the forum, and I started screen printing on shirts a few weeks ago.

I noticed I messed up a bunch of shirts already due to either a ink or curing problem. I'm using a gallon of speedball water based white fabric ink, and is using a heat gun. I do not have the money at the moment to purchase a heat press or flasher, nor do I want to purchase another brand of ink (I would like to use all that's in the gallon before buying a new tub of ink). My problem is when I'm printing on black shirts, I feel like the ink is drying on top of the shirt instead of dying in the shirt. The white ink is kinda thick instead of runny. When I stretch the shirt (at least 1-2 inches) I notice that the design cracks. I tried using less ink/ and also a lot of ink, however I still get the same results. Is this normal?

If not, is it recommended to spray/mist water into the ink in order for the ink to go into the shirt? Then flash with the heat gun and print again?

For curing/ I print the shirt first, use the heat gun/ print again to get a brighter white then I let it air dry. After a few hours I iron the shirt. Still, when I stretch the shirt, it stills crack.
 

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I've been printing for over 10 years, and if I try to do what you are doing I will get the same results.
If you want professional results, you need professional ink and equipment. That's just the way it is.
Curing a shirt using a heat gun or an iron is not realistically possible.

White ink has to stay on top of the fabric, otherwise the color of the shirt will show through.
The only exception to this is discharge printing, as the color of the shirt is removed.

Speedball fabric inks are not ideal for shirts.
You will not find any professional t-shirt printer using them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've been printing for over 10 years, and if I try to do what you are doing I will get the same results.
If you want professional results, you need professional ink and equipment. That's just the way it is.
Curing a shirt using a heat gun or an iron is not realistically possible.

White ink has to stay on top of the fabric, otherwise the color of the shirt will show through.
The only exception to this is discharge printing, as the color of the shirt is removed.

Speedball fabric inks are not ideal for shirts.
You will not find any professional t-shirt printer using them.
Thank you for your help. I appreciate it!!!

Maybe I'll use the speedball ink for poster designs instead to build my skills up.

This is what the shirt looks like in its original state, and also when I stretch it out.

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Are you supposed to stretch the shirt out? or is it normal for shirts to do this? I've been watching a lot of people on Youtube, and I never seen anyone really stretch their shirts (although they do have proper equipment that they probably don't need to).

If I do manage to buy a heat press and also change the brand of ink, do you think the result will be different?
 

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Are you supposed to stretch the shirt out? or is it normal for shirts to do this?
I always stretch test, and wash test too.
If cracking was acceptable, we'd all be using those laser transfer papers instead.

I've been watching a lot of people on Youtube, and I never seen anyone really stretch their shirts.
How about this?

This is not the only option by the way. It's just an example.

If I do manage to buy a heat press and also change the brand of ink, do you think the result will be different?
Screen printed shirts are best cured with a conveyor dryer (a small one will do).
However, using a flash drier or a heat press will be a huge improvement from what you are using now.
It can be done, but not as easy as with a conveyor dryer.
 

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Speedball ink is a craft level product, not full on pro ink. It is very thin, even the white, when compared with plastisol and even good waterbased ink. The problem you will have is, if you bought a screen suitable for speedball ink, it might be too fine for other inks to pass through easily.

Cracking indicates a badly cured print, which is understandable with a heat gun. Don't overflash the first layer of ink - it should be heated just enough to stop it being tacky.

Waterbased ink will give a slightly softer feel ('hand') than plastisol. Try Permaset Aqua Supercover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi All,

I just wanted to update you all one my progress so far. I manage to do some odd jobs and ask for favors to help me get a heat press. I also bought a new ink from Amazon, Ecotex: Snow White, and a small bottle of Opaque white. I tested both inks on a test shirt and the results were amazing. As you all said, speedball fabric ink is not good for printing one shirts as they crack.

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However, Ecotex: Snow White ink came out a lot better. I'm now going to use this whole bottle of ink to print my shirts because of the amazing results. Thank you all so much for the advice. I truly appreciate it!!


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