hi guys --
new member here (newbie at attempting screen printing, for that matter). regarding screen printing inks for vinyl stickers, i was wondering if anyone could please explain the difference between what's often referred to as "general-purpose ink" and "modified acrylic ink."
i've researched & gotten some samples of "inktech" brand ink, which is available at a couple dealers in my area, and both types of ink mentioned above list vinyl as a suitable substrate, but the modified acrylic is said, by the dealer, to be better for stickers. both types of ink also apparently dry by solvent evaporation. i had originally guessed that the MA ink would be much milder-smelling, solvent-wise (maybe a step or two above acrylic craft paints), and that that would be the difference betwen the two types. yet when i opened some of the modified acrylic to test it by painting a bit onto the vinyl i'm using, it definitely smelled highly solvent-y -- almost like a lacquer automotive paint. smelled like a much more aggressive solvent than mere mineral spirits. so, if both ink types contain nuclear-grade solvents, in what ways are they different?
the items i'm hoping to print are something i'm not sure anybody's gonna want (this project is an experiment to, hopefully, gauge interest), and i'm hesitant to shell out the $40 per quart of the MA ink for each of the several colors i'll need. i find plastisols all over the place for sale used & such (like on ebay), but not much vinyl ink.
are there any less-expensive alternatives that'll work on this substrate? in that vein, here are 3 really stupid questions (please be patient with my ignorance and cheapness):
1. are these modified acrylic vinyl inks basically just super-thick acrylic lacquer paint, with a high pigment density? would paints, if printed through a fine mesh, work in this instance? especially since you have to thin the inks somewhat anyway?
2. have any of you ever heard of anyone printing alkyd-based acrylic enamel paint (like rustoleum) onto vinyls & getting decent results? my bit of testing seemed to show less opacity with the paint than i'd like (thin areas in the test brush marks). it hasn't dried enough yet for me to check the adhesion. i'd guess that the wimpy solvent wouldn't 'bite' into the vinyl much & it's probably not gonna stick well.
3. there's this brand of water-based acrylic inks, called "jacquard" that list vinyl as a suitable substrate. is this even possible for a water-based ink -- to get decent adhesion on vinyl? even if so, i assume i'd be unable to print it through my diazo stencils, as the water in the ink would soften the stencil? is this correct?
thank you for your time in reading all this,and for any help you could offer.