Stretching and Blocking – Fun with Spandex (and Dye Migration)

All purpose ink that works for everything? Fahgettaboudit

Today’s post considers a new dye blocking ink to print with a little more smooth, soft, and stretchy results.

These days if you only want to print basic t-shirts you will go out of business. Polyesters, spandex, bamboo, rayon, triblends, wicking, ringspun, open end and all kinds of new things all the time are finding their way into the garments we see in our shops. To get the kind of results that folks want to see whether retail, team, organization, or promotional now requires you to have a full complement of inks to help you get through each and every situation you encounter.

We printed a nice fashionable top, a garment containing “elastica” which is a fabric we were not familiar with. This garment was from American Apparel and they are pretty good about giving direction to decorate their garments, but many manufacturers are not and you just have to protect yourself, particularly in regards to dye migration (the dye of the shirt going into the ink, sometimes taking weeks to do it.)

So this new ink (Endurance Plus) from Rutland is a polyester ink. We often use their regular barrier grey as the best tool we have to prevent dye migration, but it can be a little tough to use and you can’t really add any reducers to it to make it print easier. It also does not cure to be particularly soft and it is not particularly able to stretch. The new Endurance Plus poly ink both in the grey dye block and white  give us a tool to stop all but the worst dye migration while giving a smoother softer print and also giving us extreme stretchability.

Nice bright white print, no dye migration even after 24 hours on top of our oven.

Nice bright white print, no dye migration even after 24 hours on top of our oven.

Grey underbase to deter dye migration.

Grey underbase to deter dye migration.

White Polywhite Ink for Polyester fabrics needing some stretchability and more soft type of print.

White Ink for Polyester fabrics needing some stretchability and more soft type of print.

Grey barrier down first

Grey barrier down first

Nice smooth grey barrier with this ink

Nice smooth grey barrier with this ink

Flash at either quicker time or lower temperature than your usual plastisol

Flash at either quicker time or lower temperature than your usual plastisol

Print grey, flash and then print this polyester over white.

Print grey, flash and then print this polyester over white.

This poly ink like many others, cures at a lower temperature, 280 instead of  traditional plastisol ink temp of 320. Typically that would mean turning your dryer down about 40 degrees from your "normal" settings.

This poly ink like many others, cures at a lower temperature, 280 to 290 instead of traditional plastisol ink temp of 320. Typically that would mean turning your dryer down about 40 degrees from your “normal” settings.

In a lab you can put a shirt in a special oven for 24 hours to check for dye migration, the poor man's version is just throw it in a box on top of your dryer

In a lab you can put a shirt in a special oven for 24 hours to check for dye migration, the poor man’s version is just throw it in a box on top of your dryer

Not just a good bright cured ink, but it also will stretch with this fabric containing "elastica"

Not just a good bright cured ink, but it also will stretch with this fabric containing “elastica”

 

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