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Screen Printing onto Dark Fabrics with Yellow Ink

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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:

Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink, Permaset Aqua Screen Printing Ink and Permaset Aqua Supercover Screen Printing Ink.

All of these inks are water-based and solvent free.

1. Speedball Fabric Screen Printing Ink in Yellow

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. 

 

2. Permaset Aqua Screen Printing Ink in Mid Yellow

 

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.


3. Permaset Aqua Supercover Ink in Mid Yellow

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.