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The Future of Special Effects in Screen Printing

(July 2010) posted on Wed Jul 28, 2010

This month, Trimingham looks at creating special effects on garments and gives advice on how to achieve the desired results.

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By Thomas Trimingham

Production Discharge prints run identically to regular water-based inks. The ink doesn’t keep, however, so it is important to mix only what is needed for the production run. You must give the ink has enough time in the dryer to cure and/or discharge the dye from the garment. A gas dryer with a long tunnel is recommended for this style of special effect.

The shiny foil application creates the perfect accent for a discharge and water-based print on a lightweight garment (Figure 2). Foil has made resurgence in the past few years because using it is a simple process and creates one of the brightest possible reflective surfaces on a T-shirt.

Art Foil art is created by printing adhesive. Foil applications is the second step. “Watch the details and small dots. Depending upon the thickness of the adhesive layer, foil applications will sometimes gain in size or bleed together due to the pressure of the heat press,” Gaardbo advises.

Separations Separating the foil accent from a surrounding discharge print is simple enough. But if you intend to stamp foil on top of another type of print, the best method is to use a discharge or water-based print so that the foil has no chance of attaching to the ink.

Inks/Foil You can use lots of inks as foil adhesive. The most common is a gel-type ink that gets very sticky. The adhesive gel can be colored to look like the foil. If an area doesn’t release perfectly, then it will not be as noticeable. There are many types of foils, so make sure that the foil is made for releasing onto screen-printed ink from a heat press.

Production The shirt is printed with the normal process and then run through the dryer. The garment is then laid onto the surface of a heat press and a foil sheet is placed over it with a cover sheet on top. After pressing for the recommended time and pressure, the foil can be cold-peeled off of the print.


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