One of the most common mistakes printers make when using a direct print reflective ink is to print an underbase. Never use an underbase and never print-flash-print. This is because part of the process in printing reflective directly onto a garment is that the clear part of the ink, the vehicle or carrier of the glass beads, should be pushed into the garment, thus allowing the beads to ‘float’ on top of the garment and allow the most reflectivity. If an underbase is used, the absorption of the bead carrier into the garment cannot happen and the print cannot achieve the optimal reflectivity. This is also true if the reflective ink is printed, flashed, and printed again. Instead, I suggest print stroking the ink twice without flashing and always using as much pressure as possible, which is the opposite to correctly printing standard inks.

Kieth Stevens – International Coatings (ICC)

See the November 2016 edition of Images magazine for more tips on printing with reflective inks