Ask the Expert

Screen Print Frequently Asked Questions

What do I use to clean ink from screens?

Check with your supplier or distributor for "Plastisol Screen Wash". There are several different types, including "environment friendly" screen wash products. Mineral spirits can be used for general clean up of squeegees and spatulas. We recommend that you consult your local city and state regulations for the proper storage and disposal of any screen wash products.

What is the "shelf life" of your products?

By maintaining proper storage conditions, plastisol inks can have a shelf life of 2 years or more, depending on the ink product. Two-part inks, such as nylon inks, once mixed usually have a limited shelf-life. Refer to your inks' product bulletins. After time, inks should be stirred as separation can occur.

What does "flash" mean?

"Flash" refers to when a printer heats the surface of an ink so it is dry to the touch. It also can refer to the actual "flash cure unit". Flashed inks are not cured inks!

What does "cure" mean?

"Cure" occurs when the entire plastisol ink film fuses and becomes a single solid entity. For an ink to fuse fully, the entire film thickness must reach its correct cure temperature.

Can I throw away the inks I use in the trash?

No. Disposing of inks in the trash is not recommended. Check with your local and state regulatory authorities regarding the proper disposal of ink products. Be responsible! Improper disposal may result in stiff civil or criminal penalties.

Can I intermix other companies' inks if I need a special color?

It shouldn't be a problem, but we recommend that you first test print then wash test your garment before production. Although you should be fine in most cases, there may be instances of incompatibility between different branded products. Keep in mind, it is hard to go back to an ink company for technical help after you have intermixed different companies' ink products. If you do intermix inks, try to select inks that have the same cure or fusion temperature.

Why is "off-contact" printing important?

Screen-printing was designed as "off-contact" so that the ink will release from the screen once the squeegee has passed the desired image area. Without off-contact, the screen lifts up out of the ink creating an undesirable print effect.

Are plastisol inks considered hazardous and are they safe to use on children's garments?

Plastisol inks when properly handled and used are considered "non-hazardous". Lead-free plastisol inks properly applied are considered safe for children's garments. Some children's sleepwear may require "flame-retardant" inks. Always check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for any product you are going to use.

Are your inks safe to use?

Yes, used properly according to our recommendations, our inks are considered safe. Always check the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for any product you are going to use.

How or why should I modify an ink and when?

Knowing how, why, and when to modify an ink comes with experience. Most commonly, printers modify inks with reducers to bring down viscosity when inks are too thick, or with soft hand extenders to soften the hand or feel on white or light colored garments. Be sure to follow the manufacturers' guidelines and USE a scale. Be careful! Over modifying an ink or using incompatible products will create problems.

Why are there so many different "whites"?

Because it is such a critical color, International Coatings and others formulate specific white inks to accommodate the wide range of garments and applications printers are likely to run into. Printers can select white inks based on such factors as bleed, opacity, flash and cure characteristics, or printability.

What is the best "white" to use?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Ask yourself what you want from your white ink. Your answer should depend on the garment, art, desired effect, press, dryer, etc. Then talk with your supplier or ink manufacturer about which white they recommend.

Why is my ink so thick and what can I do or use to thin it?

Plastisol inks can thicken over time, just sitting on the shelf. We recommend that you try stirring or mixing the ink. This will help break down the "false body" that inks can get after long periods of storage. If stirring or mixing is not sufficient, use our "Curable Reducer" at the recommended percentages.

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Recommendations and statements made are based on International Coatings' research and experience. Since International Coatings does not have any control over the conditions of use or storage of the product sold, International Coatings cannot guarantee the results obtained through use of its’ products. All products are sold and samples given without any representation of warranty, expressed or implied, of fitness for any particular purpose or otherwise, and upon condition that the buyer shall determine the suitability of the product for its own purpose. This applies also where rights of third parties are involved. It does not release the user from the obligation to test the suitability of the product for the intended purpose and application. Rev72600



















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