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How to Achieve Bright, Vibrant Prints Using Speedball Fluorescent Yellow Fabric Screen Printing Ink

How to Achieve Bright, Vibrant Prints Using Speedball Fluorescent Yellow Fabric Screen Printing Ink

How to Get Bright Colors with Fluorescent Ink?

Fluorescent inks can produce incredibly vibrant, eye-catching colors, but getting the most out of them requires some special techniques. Here are some tips for getting the brightest, boldest fluorescent prints possible:

Use High-Quality Inks

Not all fluorescent inks are created equal. Higher quality inks, like Speedball's, contain more concentrated pigments that pop under UV light. Avoid cheap inks with lots of fillers as they will look dull. Stick to reputable brands known for their bright fluorescent offerings.

Use Proper Screen Mesh

  • For most fluorescent inks, use a 110-156 mesh screen.
  • Higher mesh counts increase ink deposit for more vivid color.
  • A coated, high tension mesh will also give better print resolution.

Fluorescent inks show up best on white or light colored material as the colors really pop against the bright background. Stay away from dark fabrics as the colors will turn out muddy and muted.

Use With Opaque Inks

Layering fluorescent inks over an opaque white underbase will make the colors appear even brighter and more neon. The white ink provides a blank canvas for the fluorescent colors to really shine.

Cure Ink Properly

It's important to fully cure fluorescent inks, especially if printing multiple layers. Undercured ink will look dull. Use a conveyor dryer or infrared heat press to thoroughly cure the ink and maximize brightness.

Following these tips will help you get the most eye-catching results from your fluorescent inks. Vibrant, saturated colors that pop under UV lights are achievable with good technique.

How to Prevent Fading When Using Fluorescent Ink?

Fluorescent inks produce bright, vivid colors, but they are also prone to fading over time. Here are some tips to help prevent fading and extend the life of your fluorescent prints:

Use a Print Base

Printing a white or neutral base layer underneath the fluorescent ink will help anchor it to the fabric. This provides a more stable foundation for the bright ink.

Cure Ink Fully

  • Don't underture fluorescent ink - cure it fully to lock in pigments.
  • Use a conveyor dryer or heat press - aim for 320°F for 1 minute.
  • Allow prints to cool completely before stacking to prevent trapped heat fading.

Wash With Care

Handle printed garments gently when washing:

  • Wash in cold water using a mild detergent.
  • Don't use bleach or other harsh chemicals.
  • Air dry or tumble dry on low heat.

Limit Sun Exposure

UV rays from the sun can fade fluorescent prints over time. Take steps to limit direct sun exposure:

  • Store prints away from sunlight when not in use.
  • Hang prints inside rather than outside.
  • Wash printed garments inside-out.

Following these best practices for curing, washing, and storage will help fluorescent prints retain their eye-catching vibrancy for longer.

How to Mix Fluorescent Inks for Custom Colors

Fluorescent inks come in a limited color selection from most manufacturers. But you can mix your own custom fluorescent colors by combining two or more inks together. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Choose Base Inks

Select two or more fluorescent ink colors to mix together. Some good base colors are:

  • Yellow
  • Magenta
  • Cyan

Determine Mixing Ratios

Decide the ratios to mix the base inks. A starting point is:

  • 50% yellow + 50% magenta = orange
  • 50% magenta + 50% cyan = violet
  • 33% yellow + 33% cyan + 33% magenta = custom tints

Mix Inks Thoroughly

Pour the base inks into a container and mix together thoroughly with a paddle. Make sure no streaks remain.

Test On Fabric

Print a test print with the mixed ink to sample the color on actual fabric.

Adjust Mixtures As Needed

Tweak the ink mixing ratios until you achieve your desired custom fluorescent color.

Remix Before Each Print Session

Fluorescent ink mixtures will separate over time. Always remix right before printing for color consistency.

With some practice, you can learn to mix any fluorescent color for a customized, signature look. Expand your palette well beyond the basics!

How to Clean Screens After Using Fluorescent Ink

Fluorescent inks contain bright, concentrated pigments that can be stubborn to wash out of screens. Proper cleaning is important to remove ink residues that can ruin future prints. Follow these steps:

Remove Ink Buildup

On the print side of the screen, use an ink removing spray or paste to break down any ink buildup. Scrub with a brush to dissolve and loosen pigment.

Rinse With Water

Thoroughly rinse away dissolving ink residues under a strong water spray. Rinse both print and squeegee sides of the screen.

Degrease Screen

Apply a water-based degreaser and scrub both sides of the screen. This removes any remaining ink traces.

Rinse Again

Do a final rinse to remove degreaser and fully flush fluorescent ink out of the mesh.

Inspect Under UV Light

Inspect screen under a UV blacklight to detect any remaining fluorescent ink residues. Re-clean any problem areas.

Dry Thoroughly

Allow screen to dry completely so no moisture remains in the mesh before next use.

Use Ink Degradent

Add an ink degradent product to your washout area and recirculate water to help break down fluorescent ink pigments over time.

Putting some extra time into fully cleaning screens after fluorescent prints will prevent ghost images and keep screens in top shape for crisp, vibrant prints. Consistent screen hygiene is key.