How to choose a printing technique? It can depends on the fabric you intend to use. There are numerous options available and so when you print your own fabric, it’s important to choose the right technique to suit your choice of material.
Fabric made from cotton or a cotton blend is good digital printing fabric. You can find a digital printing service which uses a technique known as ‘Direct to Garment’ printing which is when your design is printed straight onto the fabric, using a printer with inks that are water-based. This is an excellent choice if you wish to print a photo or a design containing lots of colors although the fabric needs to be treated first by being coated in chemicals and then after the ink has been applied, it needs to be set and then dried.
Another printing technique which is good for natural fabric, such as cotton or a cotton blend, is screen printing. This is because natural fabrics are more absorbent of color than synthetic fabrics. With screen printing, there are two techniques; flatbed or rotary but with each technique, only one color can be used at a time. With the flatbed technique, you can choose to do the printing manually or it can be semi-automated or fully automated. Ink is squeezed through an engraved screen and onto the fabric. Using the rotary technique, the pressure is applied to the engraved roller screens to enable the ink to be applied to the fabric.
If you wish to use a digital printing service for synthetic fabrics and one which allows the colors and design to stand out most, then a technique called sublimation printing is a good option. In this process, the design is reversed and printed onto paper first before it is put on the digital printing fabric. A popular method for printing on synthetic fabrics is the use of heat transfers. Your chosen design is printed on paper and then with the use of heat, it is transferred onto the fabric.
If you wish to use an old-fashioned method and print your own fabric , then block printing may be a good option for you if you are artistic and skilled in printing. This traditional technique uses engraved blocks which are dipped in ink before being pressed onto the fabric. If you are using natural dyes, you need to use natural fabrics whereas if you are using synthetic dyes, it is OK to use any fabric.
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