Dye Migration, the Screenprinter’s Nemesis. Part 4. Barrier Grey as a Partial Solution

So you have a bad bleeding shirt on your hands, now what? Yesterday I went over silicone inks as a possible solution and the pluses and the minuses of that approach. Most often in our shops we reach for Barrier Grey Ink. We use the Rutland version but I believe there are similar products out there.  When used properly I have seen it stop dye migration in all cases except for the rare certain sublimated camo shirt. As with all the ink solutions, there are great reasons to use it and also limitations…

On the Plus Side:

– Great at stopping virtually all dye migration in all cases

– Let’s list that again, it stops dye migration on virtually all types of fabrics in nearly every situation. We use it on 100% polys that bleed, on garment dyed shirts  that have issues, on crappy 50/50’s, and just about anything we get very worried about and it nearly always works.

– If you know how to print plastisol you know how to print barrier grey, you don’t need any special equipment or settings.

 

On the Minus Side:

– It prints like plastisol, but like plastisol that concrete has been added to. It is thick and not creamy at all and many printers find it tough to print.

– It will not print at a higher mesh than 160 and works best on lower meshes than that.

– You need a white after it, so for white on a shirt that means printing grey, white, and white again.  In other words it takes up lots of stations, always one additional screen and possibly another flash and another cool down.

 

On the advice side:

– Don’t be tempted to thin it, that can reduce the effectiveness and you don’t want dye migration surprises.

– It is a great “insurance policy” if you are not sure of dye migration issues, as it will almost always protect you.

– Many a printer starts with “I can’t print this stuff,” but eventually you can figure it out if you work at it.

It looks a little creamy in this photo. It isn't. The stuff is thick. 160 is the very highest mesh you can use and you'll struggle with that.

It looks a little creamy in this photo. It isn’t. The stuff is thick. 160 is the very highest mesh you can use and you’ll struggle with that.

This is the barrier grey we use at our shops. It stops just about every damn dye that wants to bleed into your ink.

This is the barrier grey we use at our shops. It stops just about every damn dye that wants to bleed into your ink. Note the dirty bucket, rarely are our shops as clean as we wish they were.

We didn't have time to test this Hanes 100% polyester shirt so we used barrier grey as an insurance policy against dye migration and you can see that it stayed nice and white even after a month.

We didn’t have time to test this Hanes 100% polyester shirt so we used barrier grey as an insurance policy against dye migration and you can see that it stayed nice and white even after a month.

Here is a shirt if you look closely, it was a test shirt and you can see that regular plastisol on the bottom bled and the white ink turned pint, the top print had barrier grey and did not.

Here is a red polyester shirt. If you look closely, it was a test shirt and you can see that the regular plastisol on the bottom bled and the white ink turned pink, and in contrast the top print had barrier grey and did not bleed at all.

Next ArticleDye Migration, the Screenprinter's Nemesis. Part 5. Endurance Grey as a Partial Solution