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  1. #1

    Arrow A few questions on printing on fabric (mesh/ink/etc)

    OK, so I have this idea of printing on fabric for making soft toys and pillows. Pretty small operation, so nothing like printing bolts of fabric, but probably precut lengths. Waterbased ink is what I'm looking for because that'll give a soft feel and besides I don't have a proper setup for plastisol anyway (we're a home-setup, here).

    I silkscreened on muslin panels a few years ago, somewhere between 160-195 mesh typically (was in a group setting, lots of screens, didn't pay too much attention on average), with waterbased poster ink (Createx Lyntex handmixed, or Speedball in a pinch). It worked fine, but then again they weren't really meant for being washed. This time I know I'll need stuff meant to be washed, although not as often as T-shirts, obviously.

    So this is what I'm wondering. What inks work well with printing on a light colored fabric, probably a sturdy cotton or smooth linen or something? Speedball seems like a default choice, and that's fine, but I'm also curious about a couple of mediums by Golden (the Silkscreen Fabric Gel) and to a lesser extent Createx (Textile Medium) because I'm more used to handmixing my colors with pure pigments. Any other suggestions are also welcome-- but as a limitation I only have a hot iron and a clothesdryer on hand, so it'll need to be settable through one or both of those options. And also, will I need to buy screens of a different mesh count? I currently have 195's and 230's-- on first guess I figured I'd need 110's, but I'd like to know for certain what would be best for printing-- we're talking brushy lines and solid fills of color here, probably not any halftoning or any of that jazz, at least to start.

    Thanks in advance!
    -meg
    meghunt.com: your number π friend

  2. #2
    squeegeethree's Avatar

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    To make your fabric toys really soft you need to mix in lots of lead like the chinese do.

    Really though I'd try a dye ink rather than acryllic.

  3. #3

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    Haha, good one. Any suggestions on the dye ink then? I don't know of any....

  4. #4
    squeegeethree's Avatar

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    We've used unidye from Union Ink. It cleans up with water but smells like oil. There's a catalyst. But really you should be able to print with almost any fabric dye.

  5. #5

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    Well, I'm kind of torn between buying fabric paint or textile ink-- I couldn't find much about printing with a dye. I'll work that out in time I guess...

    Can somebody tell me what would be the right mesh to get for printing on cotton, linen, flannel, something like that? Trying to work out my budget and i'm not totally clear if I'll need a 110 mesh or something higher. You guys are awesome-- thanks!

  6. #6
    squeegeethree's Avatar

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    the lower your mesh count the more ink you'e gonna put down and the less soft it'll feel.

  7. #7

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    OK, that makes sense definitely-- but does that mean 110 will make it too hard feeling? Can I get away with a 196? Thanks for all your insight, squeegeethree...

  8. #8
    squeegeethree's Avatar

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    Depends on how rough your fabric is, smooth fabric you should be able to do it. Maybe play it safe and go 156 mesh

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