Kieth Stevens of International Coatings shares his technique for adding glitter to the print, rather than the ink

Glitter always adds a big ‘wow’ factor to any print – and Kieth Stevens, the western regional sales manager of ink manufacturer International Coatings, says the dry glitter technique promises an even bigger wow factor than when using printing glitter ink.

“Most screen printers are familiar with printing glitter ink, so what is the difference between printing glitter ink and this dry glitter application method? The main difference is that applying dry glitter to a clear adhesive ink results in much more ‘shine’ because there is no clear gel covering suspended glitter particles, as would be the case with printing a glitter ink.”

This method lends itself well to larger areas rather than highly detailed designs. “In our example, we printed a simple shirt with a stylised ‘TECH’ for a school show performance’s stage tech team,” says Kieth. Only three screens are needed to achieve this sparkling look.


(1) For this print we used Men’s Premium black shirts from Cotton Heritage

(2) First, print a white underbase. We used International Coatings’ Legacy White 7014 on a 110 mesh screen and with a 70-90-70 Saati triple durometer squeegee on an M&R Sportsman E 10-colour machine

(3) Flash it just enough to gel the ink to the touch. Do not over-flash

(4) Print a second coat using a colour that matches the desired glitter colour. We wanted to use red glitter flakes so we printed International Coatings’ Super Drake Red 7628 through a 160 mesh screen, using a 70-90-70 triple durometer squeegee. Flash the print; again, take care not to over-flash

(5) Next, print the gel that will hold the glitter. We used International Coatings’ FX Gel Gloss Clear 3809, double stroke, using a 110 mesh screen and a 65 durometer squeegee. You can also use International Coatings’ Flock Adhesive 3820 or a gel ink with our 900 catalyst added to promote adhesion when using this technique

(6) The gel ink you use needs to be able to bond the glitter to the substrate, so be sure it has adhesive properties. Always perform a wash test on a sample print prior to doing a production run

(7) For the glitter application, place glitter flakes in a shallow container such as a cardboard or plastic box. Be sure that the box is large enough to fit the printed image. Remove the shirt off the printing platen, being careful not to touch or damage the wet print. Place the print upside down into the box containing the glitter flakes

(8) Push the shirt down gently into the glitter flakes, taking care to press down over the breadth of the entire design so that there are no ‘bald’ areas of missing glitter. The dry glitter can also be sprinkled on top of the design, but it does need to be pushed firmly into the adhesive

(9) Remove the shirt from the box and tap the back of the shirt to remove excess glitter flakes

(10) Place shirt on the dryer and cure at 160-165°C for slightly longer than a minute. Glitter reflects heat, so it’s better to let the shirt dwell in the dryer for about 10 seconds longer than usual (total 1 min 10 seconds)

(11) If it’s necessary to remove residual glitter flakes after curing, use some masking tape and gently roll it over the area containing the excess flakes

(12) A very shiny glitter print