When glitter or shimmer inks fade after washing, it’s easy to blame the ink, but curing is often the culprit: under-cured ink can wash off the fabric during the wash cycle.

Inadequate curing is one of the biggest underlying causes of print issues, especially with shiny inks such as metallics, glitters, reflectives and shimmers.

Why do these inks need special treatment? The metallic flakes or coatings on the beads that are mixed into these inks’ bases actually reflect heat. As such, the underlying ink may not reach the required curing temperature.

Here are some simple tips on curing shiny inks:

• It is important to remember that ‘time is your friend’ when it comes to curing: Slow down the dryer belt and run the print through the dryer a bit longer. The extra time in the dryer will allow the ink to absorb more heat and cure correctly.

• Be sure to set the temperature no lower than 160°C when curing plastisol inks. However, don’t set the temperature too high, as that may scorch the fabric as you slow the dryer speed.

Kieth Stevens | International Coatings