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Rainwear choices

Rainwear Choices

Competition for business in the screen-printing industry has seen  development of niche markets reflecting an amazing disparate collection of tastes and styles across all manner of designs. Plastisol, laser inkjet printing and other technologies have permitted printers to have ready access to templates of images that suit their preferred method. Those wishing to print photographic images favour the four-colour process. Artwork is first created then it is followed by separation into four colors (CMYK, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK) which combine to create the full spectrum of colours needed for photographic prints. Cyan is a deep greenish blue colour, magenta is a brilliant, purplish-pink colour and with the use of yellow and black they can combine to make the primary colours and the hues in between though there is sometimes a dulling from the true primary bolds as the inks are required to blend and are more translucent, meaning a compromise with the vibrancy of colour. However, it does mean a large number    of colours can be simulated by using only four screens, thus reducing costs, time, and set-up.
It would seem then that screen-printing is better value for money as more can be achieved in print than it can through stitching for your cent or penny. Also, embroidery may incur initial set-up fees that screen-printing doesn’t often apply although suppliers may vary in their arrangements with customers. Embroidery can also present problems with laundering the garment. Unless the materials are compatible and possess the same qualities there could be a loss of shape or form around the embroidered area and it may require ironing to remove the bunching around the stitches that often occurs.
Plastisol is the favoured industry ink for commercial projects; it gives fine detail with a plasticised texture that remains true to the design stencil template and is especially good for its ability to provide superior colour contrast on dark garments that might otherwise be compromised with the use of water-based inks. One of the disadvantages of plastisol is the use of PVC in its manufacture, which contains peroxide and phthalates, toxic chemicals some people would prefer to avoid. The plastisol sits on top of the fabric threads rather than actually being absorbed into them but the plastisol is durable and launders well. Water-based inks are also popular because they penetrate the fabric rather than sit on top of it and thus give a softer feel to the finish of the fabric, a major consideration for any T-shirts.
The frame, with the template cut out of the emulsion-based impermeable coating, is placed over the fabric or paper; the reservoir is filled with the desired colour of ink and by pulling a rubber blade over the mesh the ink is squeezed only through the stencil template at the same thickness as the mesh thereby giving a very fine layer to the substrate beneath. When the rubber blade reaches the back of the screen, tension makes the mesh pull up away from the substrate – the ‘snap off’ – leaving the ink on its surface.

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