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Demand for Special-Effects Printing

Posted by Ryan Bolin - Outside Sales on 8/7/2014

The industry is experiencing great demand right now for special-effects printing, and Texsource has you covered!

So what is special-effects printing?  It actually may be pretty much anything outside the normal of plastisol ink printing.  Usually it involves special printing or drying techniques, or introducing new elements to be mixed or added to the ink itself.  You will see things like puff prints, glitter prints, foil overlays, textured prints, glossy prints, even glod-in-the-dark and 3D prints.  

Here are a few of the newere techniques that our customers are experimenting with and profiting from.

 - Simulated embroidery  Puff was used as an underprint, but in this case as a small portion of a much larger design to simulate embroidery on top of a print. It kept the shirt much softer than authentic embroidery could. This fairly subtle treatment didn’t overpower the graphic. This technique was not used for the novelty of the effect, but rather because it worked well with the particular graphic and reduced the cost of production compared to embroidery.

 - Heat transfer on specialty ink  A typical puff ink was used as an underprint, and a halftone blend was then printed on top of the puff after flashing. The fabric in this example had a high polyester content, so a low-bleed white ink was printed under the puff to prevent dye migration. The finished design was then lightly heat-sealed with a dull transfer paper for just a few seconds to smooth the top surface of the print slightly. This effect is much different from a solid area of highly lofted puff. This technique adds some luster and depth to the graphic without being overly simplistic and gives it a different look.

High-solids inks  Some high-solids or opaque water-based inks can work well on some polyester and most polyester/cotton blends. The potential for dye migration is minimized because these inks do not contain a true plasticizer and because the dryer temperatures can usually be a little lower than what would be required for a standard plastisol. However, you must test on a case-by-case basis before proceeding with production quantities

Foil Overlay  Using Transfer Foils on top of already printed garments can add uniqueness and value to an otherwise ordinary print.  Consider too that different colors and textures of foil can be used at the same time on different parts of the garment.  To see this demonstrated, see this video - 


As you can see, this has a dramatic effect on the appearance of this print, and also increases the value of the shirt while being quick and inexpensive to produce.  Texsource carries a full line of all products you need to get your foot in the Special-Effects Printing door!

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