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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm new to screen printing! It's been a lot of trial and error to say the least. I'm using water based speedball ink. This time around I'm experience a lot of small smudging on my printed shirts after the first wash.

I've had a couple of successful attempts in the past, where I let my shirts air dry after printing for a few days (I just forgot about them), heat set the print with a regular iron, than ran them through my washer and dryer.

This time, I was a bit impatient and heat set my shirts after just under 24 hrs of air drying. I threw them in the wash and they looked fine. Then, I threw them in the dryer and all these small smudges appeared.

What might I be doing wrong? Is there a way to remove these stains?

I tried washing another set today and same thing happened. Luckily I test dried one first, and the smudges aren't as bad but they're still there. I'm just letting the wet shirts hang dry for now until I find a solution.

Textile Sleeve Font T-shirt Pattern
 

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I'd assume that the ink wasn't fully cured, so rubbed off a bit on other parts of the garment.

What do the curing instructions say for your ink?

I use different water based inks and cure it with a heat press at 340F for one minute to a minute and a half, depending on the ink.

In comparing what you do with what I do, consider that the entire print is heated for the entire time using my method, whereas your iron is in one place then another. You probably need to let the iron sit in one place for the full curing time, then move it to the next place, as opposed to keeping the thing in motion as if you were ironing.
 

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Hi all, I'm new to screen printing! It's been a lot of trial and error to say the least. I'm using water based speedball ink. This time around I'm experience a lot of small smudging on my printed shirts after the first wash.

I've had a couple of successful attempts in the past, where I let my shirts air dry after printing for a few days (I just forgot about them), heat set the print with a regular iron, than ran them through my washer and dryer.

This time, I was a bit impatient and heat set my shirts after just under 24 hrs of air drying. I threw them in the wash and they looked fine. Then, I threw them in the dryer and all these small smudges appeared.

What might I be doing wrong? Is there a way to remove these stains?

I tried washing another set today and same thing happened. Luckily I test dried one first, and the smudges aren't as bad but they're still there. I'm just letting the wet shirts hang dry for now until I find a solution.

View attachment 275030
You are air dry it and use a regular household iron to cure it?
Im not sure if it can or should be cured this way.
At least I never heard of such a technique.
I would assume that your ink is not cured, and this is why you see smudges after a wash.
A conveyor dryer or heat-press should solve this problem.
Just see the recommended curing setting for your specific ink. In most cases, waterbased inks are cured at 320-340F. Curing time will vary by the method (longer for the conveyor dryer, shorter for he heatpress)
 

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Speedball recommends curing this way because it is a hobbyist ink and their target market does not have a heat press.

The print is undercured due to your use of an iron. Get a better ink like Permaset or Matsui and if you can't afford a heat press, go to Home Depot and buy a $20 heat gun. Forced hot air is the best technique for curing waterbased inks anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone. As @splathead pointed out, I'm printing for purely hobbyist purposes and sharing some tees with friends so I'm not looking to invest in a heat press or conveyor dryer at the moment. But this is all good info to know if I ever want to get a bit more serious with it.

I also didn't know a heat gun was so affordable. Any recommendations for which one to get and what temp is best for curing? And is there a way to check whether the ink has been fully cured? I've heard of the stretch test but didn't know if it applied to water based inks. I've just been washing and finding out lol.
 

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Thanks everyone. As @splathead pointed out, I'm printing for purely hobbyist purposes and sharing some tees with friends so I'm not looking to invest in a heat press or conveyor dryer at the moment. But this is all good info to know if I ever want to get a bit more serious with it.

I also didn't know a heat gun was so affordable. Any recommendations for which one to get and what temp is best for curing? And is there a way to check whether the ink has been fully cured? I've heard of the stretch test but didn't know if it applied to water based inks. I've just been washing and finding out lol.
Stretch test works for opaque water based inks, like White (or any color of Permaset Supercolor), but generally dark water based inks do not create an ink film, so there is nothing to test for cracking.

A heat gun is good for flashing WB ink, but sort of dicey to cure with, as one could be scorching one area and under curing another and have no real way of knowing. Only time I've used a heat gun to cure was with Discharge ink, which changes color during the process, so you have an indicator that it is done. A heat gun to flash (so you don't have to let the shirts lay around for a day) and your iron to cure are probably your best bet.

There is a sort of middle ground. A Circut EasyPress 2 in the 12"x10" size is sort of a larger version of an iron. Costs a lot less than a heat press, and would probably cover your entire design at once. Should check prices at places like Walmart.

 

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Hi all, I'm new to screen printing! It's been a lot of trial and error to say the least. I'm using water based speedball ink. This time around I'm experience a lot of small smudging on my printed shirts after the first wash.

I've had a couple of successful attempts in the past, where I let my shirts air dry after printing for a few days (I just forgot about them), heat set the print with a regular iron, than ran them through my washer and dryer.

This time, I was a bit impatient and heat set my shirts after just under 24 hrs of air drying. I threw them in the wash and they looked fine. Then, I threw them in the dryer and all these small smudges appeared.

What might I be doing wrong? Is there a way to remove these stains?

I tried washing another set today and same thing happened. Luckily I test dried one first, and the smudges aren't as bad but they're still there. I'm just letting the wet shirts hang dry for now until I find a solution.

View attachment 275030
Your heat treatment was not perfect.actually you need a heat press machine to fix the colour.and if you are using iron then you put Teflon paper on print and iron it for max temp so this way you can give max heat without damaging the Tshirt.
While using fabric colour add fixer around 4percent.
To remove stains ..use toothpaste on stain and rub it gently with toothbrush but first you soak Tshirt in water.this treatment will solve your problem.
 
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