TIPS & TECHNIQUES 60 images AUGUST 2019 W e could argue that every time we decorate a garment, it’s ‘special’. Today’s clients request a different edge to the print they want. It needs to look different and visually set itself apart from the other prints produced day in day out and, ideally, it also needs to be tactile. One of the first things we do to a new print is to touch it: watch the next time you show a new print to someone – they look then they touch. Tactile or ‘touchy’ prints can add another dimension to a great design. I would narrow them down to two basic groups: chemically- lifted and stencil-generated. All puffed up Chemically-lifted prints use an additive in the ink to raise or ‘puff’ the design. The amount and strength of additive can be adjusted to achieve a wide range of different results – from a soft suede or fabric-look to a blown-up 3D image. The basic requirements of using this ink are a Industry expert Tony Palmer gives his advice on how to add special effects to your printed designs Extra special good EOM stencil and open mesh – the more ink we can get onto the fabric, the better it’s going to rise. The lift happens in the dryer, so temperature is also key. The ink is always best printed last in the colour order or, if the customer insists on multiple special effects, it must be flashed to ensure no ink is lost on a wet-on-wet pick-up by the following screen. As the ink passes through the dryer it blows, puffs, expands, lifts or occasionally bobbles. The strange thing with this ink is that it lifts first and then falls, very much like my many failed attempts at baking! This makes correct temperature setting and time spent in the oven critical, as often the ink looks like it hasn’t risen at all when in fact it has risen and then dropped. My top tip here is to play with lots of settings and use your speed as well as your temperature controls. As the ink lifts it rises like a Yorkshire pudding, so a crisp edge is not really possible as the ink lifts up and out, creating a rounded top. Crisp edges Stencil-generated tactile (high-build) prints use the physics of the printing process to achieve a super-thick layer of ink on the garment with a crisp edge and a defined lift. This is done by creating a deep well in the screen, either by building up multiple coats of emulsion using the coat-dry-coat method, or by investing in some capillary film in the thickness you need. Four hundred microns is my favourite, but multiple layers of lower thickness film can deliver great results. The application of thick capillary film has been covered in many video posts and online blogs and I’m not going to profess to know the definitive method, but my preference is to use a flat surface and a squeegee to apply a thin layer of emulsion for the film to adhere to. Don’t forget to remove the plastic protection layer or you will have the thickest, most expensive drying cabinet floor in the industry. Yes, I have done this, nobody is perfect. With a nice, crisp, thick stencil you can Special effects can add another dimension to your printed designs