Shane Scott demonstrates how to print a glowing blend using Permaset ink

Screen printing blends – or split fountains, as they’re otherwise known – can produce some amazing results, points out ink company Permaset. “Put simply, it’s where you place all the ink colours of a gradient image on a single screen and blend them together into a rainbow effect. This results in each garment being unique, as each pull of the ink onto a shirt creates a ‘one-of-a-kind’ blend effect.”

This step-by-step was carried out by Shane Scott, owner of Leapfrog Inkspot Screen Printers in Sydney, Australia. He used Permaset Aqua inks in three shades: glow yellow, glow blue and glow magenta. “Permaset is a nice clean way to print and the resulting prints exhibit a nice soft hand, they actually feel like part of the T-shirt rather than a hard print sitting on top.”

As with all pigment inks, the Permaset Aqua inks should be well mixed before use as the pigment will have settled at the bottom. Shane adds that thorough mixing also helps to soften the ink and make it more pliable and easier to manage on-screen.

When creating a blend, there are a number of specific factors to take into consideration, as Shane explains: “You need to use the right mesh count for water-based inks – 43T is best for a blend to deliver a nice crisp print.

“Try not to print halftones – a blend is more about big, strong colours. And choose colours that work well together – you can blend yellow, blue and magenta to make secondary colours, resulting in an attractive ‘rainbow’ effect.

“A well coated and exposed screen is also vital, and use a 75 shore urethane squeegee rubber of medium hardness, which has a sharp edge for a crisp image. The squeegee needs to be wide enough to do the stroke across the entire screen.

“It’s also important to use less ink than you think you’ll need. If you use too much ink, the different colours can blend together too quickly or one colour can dominate the others, ruining the overall effect. You may have to reapply ink more frequently than normal, but the end result is well worth it.”

Shane adds that creating a blend isn’t difficult provided you are organised. “Set yourself up in a production line, with all inks mixed ready to go, all your T-shirt stock beside you etc. You want to start and finish your print run without unnecessary stops in between to ensure the inks don’t dry up on the screen. Have a spray bottle of water on hand for moistening the screen if necessary.”

Shane printed this design on a 100% organic cotton T-shirt from Certton, using an M&R Kruzer six-colour carousel, with Permaset Aqua Table Adhesive on the platen.


Permaset Aqua water-based ink in three colours – glow yellow, glow blue and glow magenta

Use a 43T screen for best results. Line up the screen on the platen with your design facing the right way on the shirt. Tape around the sides of the screen so no ink leaks through onto the fabric

The squeegee should be almost the same width as the screen

Place a small amount of each of the inks on the screen side by side

To make the blend, move the squeegee from side to side. This blends the ink on the edges of each colour

Practice on some fabric off cuts until you achieve the perfect print. Make sure you keep the screen flooded between prints so it doesn’t dry out

Make your first pull. One to two passes on your T-shirt is all you need for a nicely blended print

Cure the print in a tunnel dryer at 160°C for two to three minutes

The cured print