Tote of Many Colors

Rick’s post yesterday on printing tote bags made me think of a tote print we ran a few years ago, the Dolly Parton “Tote of Many Colors”.  The text is a play on Dolly’s hit song “Coat of Many Colors”.  This print is one of my favorites for a number of reasons:

1. It’s a great design

2. It actually is clever

3. I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan (yes, I’m serious, “Coat of Many Colors” is one of the best albums ever made)

That said, printing this graphic on a denim tote did present a technical challenge (aka: it was a bitch to print).

We have successfully printed many full color jobs on totes over the years and, to be sure, this work always presents a certain degree of difficulty for the reasons that Rick mentioned in his post.  If you’ve never printed simulated process/CMYK/halftones on canvas (or similar porous substrates) think of the inherent difficulty involved in these print methods increased by a factor of 10.  And yet I find that printing a graphic consisting of many butt-registered spot colors atop an underbase with multiple flash stations can be just as/more difficult than the aforementioned print methods (I find this to be true regardless of substrate).  Maintaining registration, color saturation, and image clarity are the main obstacles. The keys to success are proper mesh selection, ink selection, and most importantly, controlling flash/pallet temperatures.

Here’s how we approached the “Tote of Many Colors”:

1. Opaque White Underbase (w/ dulling paste for fast flash and matte finish) – 135 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 5˚ (the goal is to produce a very thin ink deposit)

2. Flash

3. PMS 673 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

4. PMS 311 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

5. PMS 144 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

6. Flash

7. Cool

8. PMS 7429 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

9. PMS 7517 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

10. PMS 7417 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

11. Flash

12. Cool

13. PMS 604 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

14. PMS 368 – 180 Mesh – 75/95/75 squeegee @ 10˚

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