A Deep Dive into Silicone Screen Printing: From Basics to Advanced Techniques

In this blog, Silicone screen printing shines bright. People learn the steps of how to do it. The goal is to make folks know so much. So, pull up a chair, and let’s dive into the magic world of Silicone screen printing.

Contents hide

What is silicone screen printing?


Silicone screen printing applies a layer of silicone ink onto an item. An example is a t-shirt. That layer makes the item feel soft, and smooth. Silicone ink is heat-proof and stretchable.

The Evolution of Screen Printing with Silicone

Over time, silicone screen printing ink changed how people print designs. In the past, people used oil-based inks. Today, silicone inks are popular. They are better for the environment. Plus, silicone inks make detailed, vibrant designs.

The Fundamentals of Silicone Screen Printing

Silicone screen printing process

  • Artwork Creation:You’ll initiate screen printing on silicone rubber with a design. Usually, a high-res image at 300 DPI is vital. Vector files like AI, SVG, and EPS excel.
  • Screen Selection:Next, the type of screen is pivotal. Polyester fabric proves to be superior. Moreover, aluminum frames sustain high tension.
  • Mesh Count:The mesh count denotes the number of threads per inch (TPI). A higher mesh count, say 200 TPI, renders fine details. Conversely, 110 TPI suffices for bold designs.
  • Emulsion Coating:Now, coat the screen with a photo-reactive emulsion. Observe a uniform thickness. The emulsion reacts with UV light, creating an impermeable layer.
  • Exposure Process:Place the artwork on the screen, and then expose it to UV light. An exposure calculator provides invaluable assistance. For precision, a time range of 8-12 minutes emerges as a common benchmark.
  • Image Washing:With the exposure complete, rinse the screen meticulously. A pressure washer at 1500 PSI proves ideal. So, unexposed areas wash out, shaping the stencil.
  • Screen Drying:Expertly, dry the screen in a dark space, at room temperature. A controlled environment yields impeccable results. Relative humidity below 40% and temperature in the 68-77°F range emerge as ideal.
  • Registration Setup:Align the screen onto the printing press. Test prints on paper help ascertain alignment. Remarkably, precision in placement assures print consistency and mitigates errors.
  • Ink Preparation:Before commencing, mix the screen printing silicone spray and ink. The viscosity must be proper. Invariably, quality inks yield vivacious, durable prints on silicone surfaces.
  • Substrate Alignment:Proper alignment ensures impeccable results. Employ a substrate gauge, place items 0.5” from the screen edge. Straight items call for T-squares. Next, tweak the micro-registration knobs. Lastly, verify using film positives.
  • Squeegee Technique:Squeegees come in 50-95 durometer ratings. Opt for 65 durometers for printing most fabrics. Squeegees require a 75° angle against screens. Blades must possess a sharp edge.
  • Print Stroke:The print stroke, crucial for uniformity, warrants 1.5” of ink coverage. Achieve 30 strokes per minute. Adjust pressure according to mesh count. 110-count mesh demands less force. Additionally, fine-tune off-contact distance.
  • Ink Curing:Utilize flash cure units at 320°F for 20 seconds. Temperature strips monitor heat levels. IR thermometers suffice too. Silicone inks necessitate a conveyor dryer. The belt speed should measure 1.5-2.5” per second.
  • Screen Cleaning:Post-production, screens demand cleaning. Use press wash for ink removal. Utilize emulsion removers for stencil eradication. Screens must air dry. For storage, place screens at 10-20° from vertical.
  • Reclaiming Screens:First, remove ink with a solvent. Then, apply emulsion remover. Employ a pressure washer, ideally 1200-1500 PSI. Scrub meticulously. Let screens dry thoroughly, and store in dark rooms at 40-50% humidity.
  • Maintenance Checks:Lubricate moving parts every 50 hours. Swap air filters bi-weekly. Monitor belt tensions, update conveyor dryers quarterly. Ensure fuses rate 15 amps. Employ electricians for electrical troubleshooting.
  • Quality Control:Adopt AQL (Acceptable Quality Level) standards. QC personnel must follow ASTM guidelines. Measure the ink adhesion with ASTM D3359. Test colorfastness via AATCC Test Method 61.
Step Silicone Screen Printing Process Digital Printing Process Flexographic Printing Process Durability Cost Efficiency Speed Application
Artwork Creation Necessary; must create stencil Direct from digital file Necessary; plates creation High Moderate Moderate Textiles, products
Screen Selection Choose appropriate mesh Not required Select suitable plate High Low Fast Packaging, labels
Mesh Count Select high or low mesh count Not applicable Not applicable Moderate Moderate Very Fast Wide range
Coating and Exposure Apply emulsion, expose to light Not required Apply ink to plates High Low Moderate Textiles, products
Image Transfer Squeegee pushes ink through Inkjet applies ink Pressed image transfer High Moderate Fast Packaging, labels
Curing and Inspection Cure ink, inspect print quality Fast drying, automated inspection Cure ink, inspect print quality High High Moderate Wide range
Cleaning and Maintenance Clean screen, reclaim for reuse Minimal cleaning Clean plates, store Moderate High Slow Textiles, products

Required tools and equipment

  • Screens:Silicone screen printing often requires 110 to 305 mesh/inch screens. Higher counts mean finer details. Remember, tension matters; professionals maintain 25 N/cm.
  • Squeegees:Squeegees push screen printing ink for silicone rubber through the screen. Materials like polyurethane make them last long. Durometer scale measures squeegee hardness. For instance, 70A means soft, 95A denotes hard. Blade angle also affects ink application.
  • Emulsion:In the next phase, you need to coat the screen with emulsion. Diazo or photopolymer types are suitable for silicone ink. The coating thickness is between 10 to 25 microns.
  • Exposure Unit:Then, place the screen in the exposure unit. UV light solidifies emulsion around the design. Exposure times range between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. For finer detail, use 350-420 nanometer light sources.
  • Ink Spatulas:You’ll need ink spatulas to mix and apply ink. Stainless steel is ideal. Widths range from 3 to 12”. Longer handles give better control. Stir the ink well before applying.
  • Platen Adhesive:Platen adhesive keeps fabric steady during printing. Water-based and solvent-based types are available. The former dries quickly, while the latter is for heavy fabrics. Apply a thin layer to the platen.
  • Screen Tape:Screen tape covers the screen’s edges. Using 2-3” wide tape is standard. Polyethylene material works best. Ensure the tape doesn’t block the design.
  • Washout Booth:After printing, take the screen to the washout booth. Water pressure should be 1500-2000 PSI. The booth should measure at least 32×32”. Proper washing prevents ink from clogging the mesh.
  • Flood Bars:Flood bars evenly distribute ink across the screen. Aluminum or steel flood bars are durable. A width of 16” is optimal. Use light pressure and steady speed.
  • Conveyor Dryer:In silicone screen printing, a conveyor dryer proves essential. Shirts go through the dryer’s warm chamber. Warm air circulates. T Shirts come out dry and ready. This dryer’s belt can move at 2 to 7’ per minute.

The dryer uses around 240 volts. The warm air temperature is normally between 320 to 1000°F.

  • Curing Oven:A curing oven, or “tunnel,” gets used too. It hardens the ink on products. The air inside stays hot. You set the oven to about 320°F. Curing ovens have dual-heating zones. Each zone ensures equal heat distribution. The heat transfer area is around 20 x 24”.
  • Flash Cure Unit:Flash cure units quickly dry the ink. They use infrared panels. Often, the unit measures 16 x 16”. Working distance spans 30 to 48”. These units help especially when screen printing on silicone swim caps.
  • Pressure Gauge:The gauge tells how hard the squeegee presses. It usually reads between 20 to 80 PSI. The right pressure ensures smooth, bright prints.
  • Cleaning Chemicals:Dehazers, degreasers, and emulsion removers are needed. They keep the mesh screens clean. A clean screen equals crisp prints. A pint of cleaner usually lasts for 50 screen cleanings.
  • Scrub Brushes:Enter the scrub brushes. These brushes scrub off the ink. They come in different sizes, usually, 5 to 10” long. The bristles are tough.
  • Hinge Clamps:Hinge clamps hold the screen steady. Steadiness ensures precise printing. Hinge clamps are often made from cast iron. They grip screens that are 2” thick.
  • Mesh Counters:Mesh counters tell how fine the screen mesh is. Usually, mesh counts range from 15 to 420. A higher count means finer detail. You pick the mesh count based on design needs.
  • Rulers:Rulers ensure accurate measurements. In Silicon Valley screen printing, precision matters. Rulers, often 12 to 36” long, guide positioning.
  • Laser Alignment:Laser alignment takes center stage. It positions the print correctly. Lasers ensure the design stays straight. Most lasers have a 650-nanometer wavelength. A laser guides the printing process with precision.

Substrate Preparation for Silicone Screen Printing

Pic 2

Understanding substrate compatibility

Understanding substrate compatibility Silicone screen printing needs a ready base, called a substrate. Items like T-shirts, hats, and mugs are common substrates.

Next, you will need silicone screen printing ink India has various options. To make awesome prints, choose the best substrate material, for instance, cotton, polyester, or ceramic.

On top of that, it’s smart to pick the right ink. Some inks, like 3D silicone screen printing ink, are cool for a raised look.

Processes and techniques for substrate preparation

  • Surface Cleaning:Before printing, surfaces must sparkle! Silicone won’t stick well to dirt. So, make the item neat. People use a sponge, cloth, or air blowers. Factories use nifty machines like ultrasonic cleaners. Cleaning agents like IPA (isopropyl alcohol) work magic too.
  • Degreasing:Oil and grease are no good! Degreasing is another vital step. Degreasers break down nasty grease. That helps ink stick on the surface.
  • Material Testing:Always test the material first! Employ a swatch test for fabrics. Testing ensures materials are A-OK for printing. Sometimes, different materials react oddly with ink. Always use an Instron machine to check fabric stretch.
  • Drying:Air drying is simple but slow. So, an oven or heat gun is faster. For ink to stick well, a surface must be bone dry.
  • Adhesive Application:Adhesives make sure ink stays put. Screen printing shops use pallet adhesives.
  • Scuffing:Scuffing roughens the surface. A rough surface is good for ink grip. Factories use abrasive pads for scuffing.
  • Pre-press Alignment:Alignment helps lay ink just right. Good alignment means stunning prints. Computer systems help with laser guides.
  • Tensioning:Screen tension is vital. Think of it like a tight bedsheet. Tensioning machines pull the screen. Even tension is vital. A taut screen ensures sharp, vivid prints.
  • Humidity Control:Too much dampness can wreck prints. Control rooms with dehumidifiers. The best temp to cure the silicone by screen printing is around 320°F (160°C). Printing in a dry place gives you top-notch results.
  • Static Electricity:Before Silicone screen printing, you tackle static electricity. A quick zap at 5-15 kV (kilovolts) with an anti-static bar does the trick. Static-free fabric ensures that black silicone screen printing ink sticks well.
  • Substrate Protection:In this step, a thin film shields the substrate. Camie 610 silicone release spray screen printing is a good choice. A fine mist 12” away will coat the substrate. It stops ink from sticking where you don’t want it.
  • Pallet Adhesives:Pallet adhesives make sure the fabric stays put. Water-based adhesives are better for health. Too much glue can seep into the fabric.
  • Ozone Treatment:A high-power method is ozone treatment. It blasts fabric with O3 (ozone) gas. This makes the surface ready for printing. The O3 changes the fabric at the atomic level. Additionally, can you screen print a silicone cap? Yes, with ozone treatment for the best results.
  • Corona Treatment:Corona treatment is another high-power method. Electric sparks change the surface of the fabric. It gets the surface ready for ink. The equipment can make 1-5 kW (kilowatts) of power.
  • Flame Treatment:In flame treatment, an open flame heats the fabric. It gets rid of anything that can mess up the print. The flame changes the fabric’s surface. A 5-second exposure is enough.
  • Platen Masking:To protect the platen, use platen masking. Masking tape or special sheets can do the job. It stops ink from ruining the platen. Also, it makes cleaning easier.
  • Pre-heating:Warm-up the fabric before printing. This makes the ink stick better. Set the heat press to 325°F. Give the fabric a good 10-second press.
  • Dust Removal:Dust ruins prints. So, remove it with a lint roller or compressed air. Clean fabric is key for sharp prints. Don’t forget to clean the screen too.
  • Tack Measurements:Finally, measure the tack. Tack is how sticky the ink is. Ink with high tack sticks better. Use a tack meter to check it.

Basics of Silicone Inks

Composition of silicone inks

Silicone inks have a mix of PDMS, crosslinkers, and pigments. PDMS stands for polydimethylsiloxane, a big word for a smooth rubber. The crosslinkers bind everything together.

Then, pigments add color. Curing makes the ink harden on products. So, can you screen print on silicone? Absolutely! Objects like swim caps and phone cases love this ink.

Variety of silicone inks: differences and purposes

҉ Glossy

Glossy inks make a shiny finish. This finish looks great on custom silicon bracelets screen printed. Fashion items and promo materials commonly use glossy silicone inks.

҉ Matte

Matte inks have no shine. This ink suits products needing a classic, understated look. Kitchen utensils and silicone toys often sport a matte finish.

҉ High-density

High-density inks feel thick and raised. Similar to the puffy letters on sports jerseys! Due to the thickness, graphics pop out. Products like sweatshirts and hats benefit from high-density inks.

҉ Simulated Process

Simulated process inks juggle many colors without many screens. Remember, more colors equal more fun! This ink creates detailed images with shadows and highlights.

҉ Color Mixing

Color mixing involves blending primary colors to get new ones. Like magic, red and blue become purple! Pantone system helps in accurate color matching.

҉ Phthalate-free

Phthalate-free inks lack harmful chemicals. Safety first, always! Especially good for baby care products and food containers.

҉ Low Cure

Here, low temperatures harden the ink. Not much heat needed! Good news for delicate fabrics that don’t like heat. Low cure inks are essential for athletic wear.

҉ Catalysts

Catalysts make the ink dry faster. They’re critical for curing silicone-based screen printing inks without a conveyor dryer. Polycraft and Permaset supply catalysts for speedy drying.

҉ Pigments

Pigments are the heroes that bring color. Without them, inks would be invisible! Pigments get mixed with bases to make varied colors.

҉ Reducers

Reducers thin the ink down. They ensure smooth printing without changing the ink color.

҉ Primers

Silicone primers aid in fine-line screen printing for silicon solar cells. Thin lines, 30-50 microns wide, improve cell efficiency. Moreover, the mesh count, between 300 and 400, boosts clarity. The squeegee speed, 40-60mm/s, enhances precision.

҉ Textured

You need heat transfer silicone inks for textile screen printing on textured fabrics. Printing on sportswear requires 200 DPI resolutions. A mesh of 110 aids detail. Textured inks require 70 durometer squeegees.

҉ Metallics

Metallic silicone inks shimmer like gold. Opt for 86-110 mesh count. Moreover, a flex squeegee silicon screen print of 70-80 durometer is crucial. Additionally, a 30° squeegee angle guarantees sharp prints.

҉ Glitters

Glitter silicone inks sparkle like stars. Mesh counts of 25-40 yield high brilliance. Plus, a 60-70 durometer squeegee makes dazzling patterns. A printing angle of 15° helps.

҉ Puff Inks

Puff silicone inks create raised designs. Mesh count: 60-86 for full puff effect. The squeegee, 65-75 durometer, shapes the raised texture. Puff inks offer 3D effects.

҉ Reflective

Reflective silicone inks bounce back light. Choose a 110 mesh count for maximum reflectiveness. 65-75 durometer squeegees ensure sharp lines. A 25° angle works wonders.

҉ Foil Adhesives

Foil adhesive silicone inks attach foils to fabrics. Use mesh counts between 60 and 110. A 70-80 durometer squeegee ensures the foil bonds well. Flash cure at 220°F. Foil adhesives enrich designs with elegance.

҉ Photochromic

Photochromic silicone inks change color in sunlight. Mesh count: 110-156 for vibrant transitions. Squeegee durometer: 65-75 for crisp edges. These inks amaze onlookers with color shifts.

҉ Stretchable

Stretchable silicone inks move with fabric. Opt for a mesh count of 86-110. Squeegee durometer: 70-80 for smooth elasticity. Stretchable inks ensure comfort and style.

Storing and handling of silicone inks

  • Temperature Control:Silicone ink thrives best at 60 to 70°F. Keep ink in a cool, dry room. Temperature impacts ink viscosity and drying time, affecting your printing quality.
  • Avoid Sunlight:UV rays can degrade silicone inks. Prolonged exposure causes color fading and reduces the longevity of the print.
  • Airtight Containers:Store your silicone inks in airtight jars. Oxygen can cause ink to harden prematurely. Sealing after use maintains ink consistency.
  • Proper Ventilation:Ensure a well-ventilated space when printing. Inhaling silicone fumes might be harmful.
  • Ink Stirring:Regularly stir silicone inks. This prevents pigments from settling at the bottom.
  • Avoid Contaminants:Keep your work area clean. Dust or grease can compromise the adhesion of silicone screen printing to substrates.
  • Spill Management:Quick action is crucial for ink spills. Use absorbent materials to clean. Proper handling reduces waste and ensures safe operations.
  • Shelf Life:Unopened silicone ink can last up to two years. Once opened, strive to use it within six months for optimal results.
  • Labeling:Store silicone screen printing inks in labeled jars. Names and batch numbers should be clear. Properly labeled jars avoid mix-ups. Next, how to apply silicone release spray screen printing gets easy.
  • Safety Gear:Wear silicone gloves, masks, and aprons. Silicone inks need careful handling. Gloves protect hands. Masks keep lungs safe.
  • Waste Disposal:Dump old silicone inks responsibly. Use sealable bins. Then, contact a certified disposal service.
  • Hydration Levels:Silicone inks need moisture control. Use a hydrometer. Maintain a 45-55% hydration range. Stored inks remain fresh.
  • Stock Rotation:Keep a keen eye on stock. Older stock should go first. Shelves should be spacious and cool. A smart stock system ensures ink viability.
  • Humidity Management:Control room humidity. A 40-60% range works best. Use a dehumidifier. Perfect humidity safeguards ink properties. Now, learning how to make screen printed silicone wristbands and how to screen print on silicone turns effortless.

Screen Preparation for Silicone Printing

Pic 3

Proper screen selection

Start with picking a frame that is 20” by 24”. Next, be sure to use a mesh count of 110 threads. High tension matters for silicone screen printing. So, go for 25-newtons-per-centimeter tension.

Screen mesh: what you need to know

Screen mesh choice impacts print quality. Use a 160-mesh screen for detailed prints on silicone. If printing bold images, select 110 mesh instead. Mesh counts between 110 and 160 work well for how to screen print onto silicone.

Emulsion application and exposure

Coat Screens

Wet-on-Wet Coating

Drying Racks

Emulsion Thickness

Exposure Unit & Time

Light Source

UV Spectrum

Emulsion Remover

Washout Booth

Drying Cabinet

Vacuum Blanket

Step Wedge

Light Integrator

Stencil Hardener

Diazo Emulsion

Dual-Cure Emulsion

Artwork Design for Silicone Screen Printing

The importance of color separation

In silicone screen printing, you need different layers of color. With CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), experts make all colors. A high mesh count, such as 305, is good. Mesh is like a net that holds color. Better color separation means better prints.

Converting digital designs to stencils

After color separation, one must make a stencil. Stencil is a cut-out shape for printing. Digital designs in computers turn into stencils with RIP software. RIP decides how much ink goes on each layer. Precision in stencil design is the golden key for top-notch printing.

Choosing appropriate designs for silicone screen printing

· High Resolution

High resolution means lots of pixels. More pixels mean more details. Your print looks sharp, and the image is clear.

· Vector Format

This vector format uses math to make shapes. Zoom in, and the picture stays sharp. In silicone screen printing, vector art is like a superhero saving the day.

· Color Profiles

Pick a color profile that suits your design. The color profile is a set of rules for colors. For instance, sRGB makes bright colors.

· Spot Colors

Spot colors are special inks. Pantone Matching System (PMS) has 1,867 spot colors. Each spot color has a code.

· Halftone Dots

Halftone dots are tiny dots that make shades. More dots make darker shades. Use them, and your print becomes a work of art.

· Layer Alignment

Align the layers like stacking pancakes. In silicone screen printing, alignment is crucial. Proper alignment makes sure every color stays in its lane.

· Image Registration

Ensure good image registration. Registration marks guide the printer. The printer knows where to put colors.

· Bezier Curves

Bezier curves control how a line bends. For smooth lines and curves, Bezier curves are the ace in the deck.

· Clipping Masks

In the raised silicone screen printing contract, clipping masks hold great value. Clipping masks help cut and shape designs. Your designs need sharp edges. Moreover, clipping masks protect parts that don’t need ink. Experts praise masks for neat prints.

· Raster Images

Raster images have tiny dots called pixels. More pixels mean clearer images. For instance, a 3000×2000 pixel image excels in detail. However, resizing raster images can cause blurriness. Experts prefer raster for intricate designs.

· Opacity Control

Opacity control proves essential too. Control how see-through your ink is. Use opacity settings to make light or bold prints. Combining different opacity levels creates depth.

In turn, depth enhances the print’s appearance. Too much opacity might make images look heavy.

· DPI Settings

Focus on DPI (Dots per Inch) settings. DPI affects how clean your print is. Higher DPI means more detail. A DPI of 300 is standard for crisp prints. But, rough surface squeegee silicon screen print needs a lower DPI. Lower DPI prevents ink from spreading.

· Grayscale Mode

Incorporate grayscale mode for amazing prints. Grayscale uses shades of gray. Grayscale can have 256 shades, from white to black. It’s great for adding texture without using colors.

· Underbase Layer

Underbase is the first ink layer. It makes colors pop on dark materials. White underbase is common. It’s a must for vibrant prints on dark fabrics.

· Image Scaling

Image scaling changes the picture size. Too much scaling can distort images. Scaling should maintain the image’s aspect ratio.

· Anti-aliasing

Anti-aliasing smoothens jagged edges in images. Without anti-aliasing, edges may look rough. In silicone screen printing, sharpness is key.

· Trapping Techniques

Trapping prevents gaps between colors. A 0.5pt trap is often perfect. Trapping is essential for ensuring clean color transitions. So, trapping boosts the print’s overall quality.

· Font Embedding

Embedding fonts ensures text stays the same. Without embedding, fonts might change and ruin designs. Embed fonts for consistent text styles.

Screen Printing Techniques with Silicone Ink

Pic 4

Flood and stroke techniques

Squeegee Angle

Squeegee angle matters. At 65-75°, ink lays down smoothly on screen print on silicone rubber products. Achieve sharp lines and crisp colors.

Squeegee Pressure

Using 25-35 psi, adjust squeegee pressure. Too high affects quality; too low leaves insufficient ink. Find a balance. Consistency ensures impeccable screen print on silicone rubber service.

Squeegee Speed

Control speed, usually 40-100mm/second. Fast speeds work for thin inks, while thicker inks need a slower pace.

Flood Stroke

In flood stroke, ink floods screen mesh before printing. Typically uses 30-50 psi. Prepares screen for optimal ink release.

Print Stroke

In print stroke, squeegee forces ink through mesh onto substrate. Key in obtaining clean, sharp images, it influences ink thickness and coverage.

Double Stroke

Utilize double stroke for greater ink coverage. Two passes deposit more ink.

Snap Distance

Maintain 0.125-0.250” between screen and platen. Higher snap distances avoid smudging; lower ones provide sharp images.

Push Printing

Push printing involves pushing squeegee away from you. Offers better view of print area.

Pull Printing

In pull printing, pull squeegee towards you. More control over pressure and angle.

Techniques for Managing Ink Build-Up

Ink Viscosity

In Silicone screen printing, ink thickness matters. Less gooey ink needs 300-350 CPS for perfect results. Professionals use thick ink for a screen print silicone grip.

Screen Openers

A clogged screen is bad. To free the mesh, apply screen openers like ER-35. They clean the screen.

Ink Retarder

Ink dries too fast sometimes. Ink retarders slow drying. Add 1-3% retarder to ink. Now, ink dries slower.

Humidity Control

Too much moisture affects ink. Keep humidity below 50% RH. Drier air means ink settles better.

Temperature Control

Heat plays a role too. Keep room temp between 65-78°F. It helps ink performance.

Screen Clearing

Screen clearing is essential. Printers use press wash PW-305. It cleans ink from the screen.

Ink Volume

Control ink on screen! Less ink is best for fine details. More ink for bold designs.

Screen Angle

Tilt screen to 20°. It controls ink flow. Better flow means even prints.

In-Press Cleaning

In-press cleaning prevents clogs. Use screen print wet on wet silicone spray like ER-80.

Silicone Catalyst

Catalysts make ink durable. Mix 2-4 parts catalyst with ink. Now, ink bonds to fabric. Your prints will last through washes.

Solvent Wipes

Use solvent wipes for cleaning. TS-305 wipes are great. They remove ink from screens.

Press Speed

Press speed matters. Keep it at 900-1200 IPH. Too fast, details get lost. Too slow, ink may dry.

Anti-Static Sprays

Use anti-static sprays like AS-400. Static causes ink clumping. Sprays remove static. Now, ink flows smoothly.

Substrate Pre-treatment

Pre-treat the fabric with PT-1000, which makes it ready for ink. The ink will bond well.

Exploring Multi-Color Silicone Screen Printing

Pic 5

Step-by-step process of multi-color printing

҉ Artwork Separation

҉ Screen Selection

҉ Registration Marks

҉ Screen Alignment

҉ Color Sequence

҉ Test Prints

҉ Underbase Printing

҉ Flash Curing

҉ Overprinting Technique

҉ Pallet Adhesive

҉ Squeegee Settings

҉ Mesh Count Selection

҉ Ink Mixing

҉ Cool Down Phase

҉ Final Curing

Special Effects with Silicone Screen Printing

Creating texture with silicone inks

Incredible art springs to life with silicone screen printing! Remarkably, silicon ink for screen & pad printing binds to fabric. So, designs stay fresh. Screen printing silicone transfers makes durable prints. Utilizing liquid silicone rubber overmolding can add an extra layer of protection and texture to the prints.

Techniques for 3D or raised printing

High-Density Inks

Thick Stencils

Multiple Passes

Angled Squeegee

Slow Print Speed

Mesh Count Selection

Off-Contact Control

Foam Inks

Ink Additives

Heat Application

Texture Screens

Layer Building

Gel Inks

Specialized Emulsions

Stacking Method

Producing glossy and matte finishes

Glossy Overprint

Matte Overprint

Clear Base Inks

Surface Texture

Curing Temperatures

Specialized Squeegees

Silicone Additives

Light Reflectivity

Surface Pressure

Surface Sheen

Ink Layering

In-Press Finishing

Specialty Plastisols

Silicone Screen Printing on Different Materials

Pic 6

  • Polyester Fabrics: In silicone screen printing on polyester, heat matters. The typical heat setting is 320°F. Too high or low alters the print. Next, mesh size is critical. Using a 110-160 mesh count yields the best results.
  • Cotton Fabrics:When printing on cotton, a silicone bracelet screen printing machine excels. Printers set the machine’s pressure at medium for optimal results. The right squeegee angle, generally 45°, ensures even ink distribution.
  • Nylon Materials:Screen printing on nylon requires special attention to silicone curing temp screen printing. Typically, 275-325°F is used for nylon. A low cure additive is needed too. A 305 mesh screen balances detail and ink flow.
  • Lycra/Spandex:For Lycra and spandex, silicone gel screen printing is key. Use a 60-80 durometer squeegee for perfect ink application. Printers apply light pressure to prevent ink bleed. Precise off-contact distance, 1/16″, avoids blurring.
  • Blended Fabrics:For blends, you must adapt settings. A silicone grip ink screen print works well. Ink opacity needs adjustment, often 90-95%, for best color show. Control squeegee speed to manage ink deposit.
  • Polypropylene:Polypropylene needs high opacity ink for vibrant prints. With a 90 durometer squeegee, get even ink deposit. Maintain screen tension at 25-30 newtons. Use an optimal off-contact distance of 1/8″.
  • Leather:On leather, screen tension of 20 newtons works best. A lower mesh count, 85-110, helps with ink deposit. The curing temperature is crucial, typically at 320°F.
  • PVC:For PVC, use a medium durometer squeegee. The optimal mesh count is 200 for detailed prints.
  • Acrylic:In acrylic screen printing, use a 70 durometer squeegee. Opt for a 230 mesh count screen for fine detail. Precise off-contact distance, typically 1/8″, assures clear prints.
  • Glass:Glass printing needs specific care. A 305 mesh screen provides precise details. Squeegee speed impacts the print quality.
  • Metal Surfaces:On metals, use a 70/90/70 triple durometer squeegee. Mesh count of 305 enhances detail.
  • Rubber:For rubber, a 45 durometer squeegee is needed. Optimal off-contact distance, 1/16″, ensures quality prints. Keep mesh tension at 20-25 newtons.
  • Wood:Wood printing requires a 60 durometer squeegee. A lower mesh count, 110, helps with bold prints. Proper off-contact, typically 1/8″, improves print quality.
  • Ceramic:Ceramic screen printing involves a 70 durometer squeegee. Use a higher mesh count, 230, for crisp prints. Maintain the curing temp at 325°F.
Material Adhesion Durability Flexibility Finish Look Drying Time UV Resistance
Polyester High 80-90% Moderate Glossy 25-30 min Good
Cotton Excellent 90-95% High Matte 20-25 min Moderate
Nylon Moderate 70-80% High Semi-glossy 30-35 min Low
Lycra/Spandex Low 60-70% Excellent Glossy 40-45 min Low
Blended Fabrics High 85-90% High Matte 25-30 min Moderate
Polypropylene Moderate 80-85% Low Glossy 15-20 min Excellent
Leather High 95-100% Moderate Matte 40-50 min Good
PVC High 80-90% Low Glossy 20-30 min Excellent
Acrylic Moderate 75-80% Low Semi-glossy 15-20 min Good
Glass Low 80-85% Low Glossy 10-15 min Excellent
Metal Surfaces High 90-95% Low Glossy 10-15 min Excellent
Rubber High 80-85% High Matte 30-40 min Moderate
Wood High 85-90% Low Matte 30-40 min Moderate
Ceramic Low 85-90% Low Glossy 10-15 min Excellent

Table on Silicone Screen Printing on Different Materials

Troubleshooting Common Issues in Silicone Screen Printing

҉ Pinholes

Use silicone ink for screen & pad printing to shun pinholes. Pinholes, tiny dots, wreck prints. Screens need degreasing before emulsion. A pressure washer, at 1200 PSI, gets screens super clean.

҉ Image Bleeding

When silicone ink for silk screen printing bleeds, prints look fuzzy. Reduce ink viscosity. Hence, 18-20 N/cm² squeegee hardness is ideal. Also, mesh counts between 160-230 work great.

҉ Poor Adhesion

Poor adhesion makes silicone ink screen printing work peel off. Mesh tension should be 25-30 newtons. Remember to clean substrates. Adding catalyst to ink boosts adhesion. Drying at 300°F for 3-5 minutes ensures the best bond.

҉ Ink Smudging

Ink smudging ruins sharp prints. Reduce off-contact distance, about 1/16”. The right squeegee angle, 75°, helps. Maintain 90 lpi halftone dots. Utilize lower mesh counts, like 110.

҉ Clogged Screens

Mesh clogged? Your silicone inks for screen printing won’t pass through. Screen openers, like ER-35, unclog. Humidity above 40% helps. So, store ink at 65-78°F. Clean screens after 50 prints.

҉ Double Imaging

Double imaging blurs prints. Tighten the mesh to 25 N/cm. Stabilize the press at 72-76 PSI. Keep off-contact distance below 3mm. Use 70/90/70 durometer squeegee blades.

҉ Uneven Coverage

Prints need even ink! A 10-25mm squeegee pressure ensures it. Calibrate pressure settings fortnightly. Use triple durometer squeegees. Consistent print speeds, around 8-12” per second, get perfect coverage.

҉ Fading Prints

Fading prints lack vibrancy. Use high-opacity inks. Cure at 320°F for 60 seconds. Under base print with a 156 mesh screen. Halftone counts at 45 lpi preserve brightness.

҉ Ink Migration

Ink migration makes colors wander. Low-bleed inks stop wandering. Flash cure prints for 3 seconds between colors. Use polyester screens, 110 mesh count. Print at 35 PSI for stability.

҉ Screen Breakdown

Screen breakdown halts printing. Emulsion at 250-300 micron thickness lasts long. Proper exposure, around 7-10 minutes, prevents breakdown. A 70 durometer squeegee extends screen life.

҉ Squeegee Bounce

Squeegee bounce spoils prints. Adjust pressure between 15-20 PSI. 70/90/70 durometer squeegees offer control. Proper 15° squeegee angle keeps bounce away. Also, 40-50mm squeegee size is the best.

҉ Pallet Lifting

Pallets lifting disrupt print alignment. Tighten pallet brackets. Apply adhesive at 250°F to secure pallets. Pallets with aluminum cores ensure durability. Inspect pallet levels every 50 prints.

҉ Ink Flaking

Ink flaking ruins your designs. Mix inks at 2000 RPM for 5 minutes. Cure inks at 325°F for 2 minutes. Flash cure between colors for 4 seconds. Lower the squeegee pressure to 10 PSI.

Advanced Silicone Screen Printing Techniques

Pic 7

Hybrid Printing

Hybrid printing mixes two methods. Start with silicone screen printing on garments. Then, add DTG (Direct To Garment) printing. DTG uses eco-friendly inks. Combining them, garments last longer. Silicone patent screen printing gives stretchy, crisp images.

Simulated Process

Simulated Process makes detailed prints. Here, silicone rubber screen printing squeegees push inks through mesh screens. Each color uses a different screen.

Notably, between 305-355 mesh count makes sharp images. Tension settings of 25-30 Newtons keep screens tight.

Index Printing

Index printing thrives with dots. Specifically, colorful silicone dots create images. Each dot is one color. A 230-thread mesh screen is ideal. Silicone release spray screen printing is important.

The spray stops inks from sticking. So, dots remain sharp.

Discharge Inks

Discharge Inks remove fabric dye. A silicone screen print paste goes on top. Zinc formaldehyde sulfoxylate removes the dye. Then, heat sets the ink. Use mesh counts of 110-160 for solid colors.

Split Fountains

Split Fountains make rainbow prints. Place different inks in a screen. The squeegee blends inks while printing. The print has gradient colors. Use 156 mesh count screens.

Glitter Inks

Dazzle with Glitter Inks. Mix glitter particles with silicone screen printed spandex inks. Use a low mesh count, around 30-60. Thus, more glitter passes through.

Reflective Inks

Safety meets style with Reflective Inks. Microscopic glass beads in inks catch light. A 110-200 mesh count screen works. Silicone keyboards mac leaving prints on screen highlights the effect.

Importantly, ensuring a material safety component list is adhered to guarantees that all components are safe for users and the environment.

Foil Application

Foil Application adds metal shine. First, print adhesive ink. Then, press foil sheets onto ink. Heat binds foil to ink. Use 60-110 mesh count screens for adhesive.


Inks Silicone screen printing makes the fabric shine at night. Phosphorescent pigments light up the ink. Clothes stay bright for about 5 hours. ASTM E2073-10 tests prove the ink’s strength.

Marbling Effect

Swirling colors make the marbling effect. Two or three inks blend together. Silicone ink, retarder, and a 230-thread mesh screen are vital.

Ink Layering

Ink layering uses multiple layers of ink. Silicone inks get stacked on fabric. 320° Fahrenheit cures the ink. Thicker layers create cool textures.

Oversized Printing

Oversized printing covers more fabric. Large screens, squeegees, and platen sizes are essential. Prints go over seams and zippers.

All-Over Printing

All-over printing makes continuous designs. Entire shirts get covered in ink. Belt printers and jumbo screens are required.

Water-Based Inks

Water-based inks feel smooth and light. Cotton fabrics work best with them. A 305 mesh screen lets ink through.

Grayscale Technique

Grayscale technique uses shades of black. Halftones make different grays. CMYK inks and 200 LPI screens are important.

Tone-on-Tone Printing

Tone-on-tone printing uses similar colors. Light blue on dark blue, for example. A 156 mesh count is ideal.

Metallic Inks

Metallic inks shine like metal. Gold, silver, and bronze are favorites. Additives make the ink glitter.


Now, brains are filled with new wisdom. Silicone screen printing is an art and science mix. From artwork creation to ink curing, precision matters. Different inks for sale make fabrics look amazing. Need top-notch silicone screen printing open now? or Where to buy silicone screen printing ink? Go to LEGENDAY for the best.

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top