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All About Fiber Reactive Dyes in T-Shirt Screen Printing

All About Fiber Reactive Dyes in T-Shirt Screen Printing

Color in t-shirt screen printing is very important, especially when you are working with uncommon materials, such as organic fibers and water-based inks. These will have to be placed in consideration when planning the design for the t-shirt printing. The fabric’s color is very important because it will affect how the design will look.

Dark colored fabrics are more difficult to do t-shirt screen printing work on. The darkness of the fabric’s dye affects how the colors of the ink appear when they are absorbed into the fibers and embedded through the curing process.

How To Do T-Shirt Screen Printing With Fiber Reactive Dyes

Fiber reactive dyes are permanent colorants for fabrics. They do not wash off or fade easily. That is the reason why it will be difficult to apply a simple technique, unless the process involves a more complex color separation method.

You will need to discharge the fiber reactive dye from the fabric area where you plan to print your design. Use bleach thickeners, such as Monogum or liquid detergents, mixed with household bleach, or use Clorox Bleaching Pen to bleed the area of color.

When the area has been bled to a lighter color, it is ready for the printing process. Before applying the ink into the fabric, make sure the area has been neutralized, rinsed and dried. You can cure the design through heating or by air drying.

Using Fiber Reactive Dyes For Screen Printing T-Shirt Designs

Although fiber reactive dyes are used for coloring the fabric, they can also be used for printing the design on white cotton t-shirts. Like water-based inks, fiber reactive dyes have a soft hand. They also do not fade or wash off easily.

Fabric can be dipped into, sprayed with, or painted with dyes. It can also be selectively immersed in a dye bath like in tie-dyeing or batik. For screen printing, the dyes will have to be mixed with sodium alginate to thicken it to the same consistency as t-shirt screen printing inks. Without the thickener, the dyes will simply flow through the screen.

Other T-Shirt Printing Methods To Use With Fiber Reactive Dyes

When you know the t-shirts are made from fabrics dyed using fiber reactive dyes, you are much more prepared to use plastisol-coated vinyl for thermal transfer, laser or inkjet ready thermal transfer papers, or direct-to-garment digital screen printing.

Thermal transfer can add more character to the design, especially when you need to personalize the t-shirt with names or people or organizations. You can also use arts and crafts materials, such as glitter, sequins and beads to add pizzazz and glamour to your t-shirt design. The t-shirt screen printing process is so easy to do that you can work with your kids in this project.