In last week’s blog post we began looking at which
inks were suitable for screen printing onto dark fabrics. We used three different screen printing inks and looked at the difference between standard
and opaque inks when printing with white. All of the white inks printed well onto the black fabric – white inks are usually thicker and more pigmented.
This is not the case with coloured inks – standard screen printing inks are translucent and will therefore show some of the base colour through when
printed. When printing onto white or pale coloured fabrics this is not a problem. Most standard screen printing inks will disappear into dark backgrounds
and you’ll need to use an opaque ink in order for it to show up. Opaque Inks are more highly pigmented and thicker than standard inks. Again, we’ve
tested three inks to help you to decide which to use, this time all in yellow:
All of these inks are water-based and solvent free.
This is a standard fabric screen printing ink but shows up quite well on black cotton. The black background does show through however and the bright yellow
colour is knocked back a lot. When the ink is dry the colour will fade even more. The fabric will keep its soft handle with this ink.
Again, this is a standard fabric screen printing ink that is designed to print onto pale coloured fabrics. Although the fabric will stay soft, the
colour is really knocked back by the black background and the ink is not bright at all.
This is an opaque ink and is a lot thicker than standard screen printing inks. The fabric handle is a little stiffer when printed and the thick ink
means that a more open mesh like a 32T or a 43T is usually required. Opaque inks also tend to dry a little faster so be aware of this when printing
detailed designs and wash your screens quickly after using. The thickness of this ink, however, allows for excellent coverage and a much brighter
end result. This is the only print where the yellow ink keeps its bright colour when printed.
The screen hand prints above are, in order, Speedball, Permaset standard and Permaset Supercover.
You can clearly see that there is a large difference between the inks. The Permaset Supercover is the only print that remains bright and clear
with none of the black fabric showing through. The Permaset Standard has disappeared almost entirely and the Speedball has faded and darkened.
Use these samples to help you to decide which ink you need for your project! Revisit last week’s project for more on white fabric inks.