The new MagnaPrint Emboss ink allows printers to create an embossed effect straight out of the pot

Embossed designs, where a design is imprinted on a fabric to create a 3D design, are a great way of making garments stand out from the crowd. Creating them, however, involves heat and a metal die and counter die. Until now.

At the end of August this year, MagnaColours launched MagnaPrint Emboss Ink. This special-effect, water-based ink promises embossed designs “straight out of the pot“ by simulating heat-set embossing and pleating processes through creating raised patterns on polyester fabrics.

The ready-to-use printing ink is printed straight onto the fabric – MagnaColours recommends using 32-43T mesh screens with rectangular squeegees for the best result, and notes that stronger effects are achieved by using several printing strokes. The company also recommends that the fabric is cured for a minimum of 2 1/2 minutes at 165-170°C, and then washed thoroughly as soon as possible following curing to remove the ink for the strongest effect.

“Instead of requiring an extra process, Emboss Ink can create this effect for screen printers straight out of the pot”, says MagnaColours. “Suitable markets include fashion/ retail brands and sportswear for developing shape and form to polyester garments.”

Step-by-step: Printing with MagnaPrint Emboss Ink

A 43T (110) mesh is most suitable for MagnaPrint Emboss Ink. Make sure the screen is fully clean prior to printing. 

Only 100% polyester garments can be used with the Emboss Ink. The ink works by expanding, which contracts certain areas of the polyester fabric to create a permanent, embossed effect. 

Ensure there is around 5mm of off-contact distance between the screen and garment. Using a medium 65° shore rectangular squeegee, set the blade angle to 15°. 

Enough ink should be added to ensure that the screen-mesh is fully flooded. 

Print two strokes followed by a four-second flash cure at 100°C, followed by another two strokes. Magna used an eight-station M&R Sportsman EX press. Make sure excess ink is collected and the screens are cleaned thoroughly. 

Before the curing stage the printed area will appear flat and semi-translucent. For the best results, cure the garment at 170°C for 2-2 1⁄2 minutes. Magna used an M&R MiniSprint 2000 dryer.

Once cured, the ink will have turned white and the 3D embossed effect will be apparent on the garment. The remaining ink now needs to be washed off the garment. Magna recommends a one-hour cycle at 60°C and 1,400rpm, including a pre-wash setting. It used a Miele domestic washing machine and an optical brightener-free washing powder.

Once dry, the final printed design is visible on the fabric and the excess ink has now been removed. Note the permanently raised, 3D-effect areas in the design.