Shirts need to stick to platens in order for printers to achieve clean, consistent prints. This concept is simple. Many adhesives exist in the world of screen printing, but many are harmful to the printer’s health and the environment. 
One adhesive that’s long-lasting and friendly to the printer is Sgreen® Water-Based Pallet Adhesive. This adhesive lasts longer, has friendlier chemicals, and works just as well — if not better than — spray or aerosol adhesives. In this blog, we’ll cover the benefits of using a water-based adhesive and best practices for use.
two bottles of water-based adhesive on a platen


Water-based adhesive is a liquid adhesive that helps shirts stick to the platen. An adhesive is essential when screen printing. Shirts can move around on the platens during printing, ruining the print and creating a mess. 
While adhesive helps shirts stick, it isn’t glued. The shirts won’t bond to the platen. The adhesive is tacky enough to keep shirts in place during printing, but not sticky. It won’t hang on to shirts when printers are ready to remove the shirt and head to the curing process. 
printer drizzling water-based adhesive on a platen


As mentioned before, there are plenty of different adhesives for screen printing. The most common types are spray adhesive and water-based adhesive. Spray adhesive is quick and handy. Simply pop open the aerosol can, spray the platen, and get printing. However, these types of adhesives are harmful to printers’ health and the environment.
Think about it: when you spray the adhesive onto a platen, you’re also spraying anything in the trajectory of the mist. That means your press, the floor, and even your shop dog if he or she is close enough. Particles from this mist linger in the air and can cause discomfort when breathed in. Convenience isn’t always worth it. 
Water-based adhesive, on the other hand, takes a little longer to apply. Since it’s a liquid, it requires a couple of extra steps for application. The upside? It won’t get all over the place — including your lungs. Water-based adhesive can also be re-activated using a little water, a scrub pad, and heat. 
printer spreading water-based adhesive across a platen


Here are four easy steps to apply water-based pallet adhesive: 
  1. Pour some water-based pallet adhesive onto the platen. Don’t pour too much: use enough that it’ll cover the platen when you spread it.
  2. Spread the glue around the platen with a cleanup card, foam roller, etc., and make sure it’s a smooth surface. Any texture on the platen will show through the print.
  3. Heat the glue by letting it rest under a flash dryer. Leave the platen under the flash just enough to evaporate the water and get the adhesive tacky.
  4. If you’ve just changed out the platen tape, lay the second layer of pallet adhesive onto the platen. This gives the platen extra tackiness and the glue will hold longer.
platen underneath a flash
TIP: Water-based pallet adhesive is best used for t-shirts. You can use it for hoodies, but you may need to clean off the fuzz from the sweatshirts often—sometimes after every garment—to keep the adhesive tacky.
Through the course of a run, you’ll notice lint buildup on the platen. You’ll need to clean the lint off in order to keep the water-based adhesive sticky. 
To do this, mist the platen with water and grab a scrub pad. Scrub the area you printed on with a scrub pad until the link comes off. Once the lint is all of the platens, put the platen under the flash again to re-tack the glue. 
printer scrubbing a platen
A water-based pallet adhesive is a great tool that doesn’t cause a mess in your shop or in your lungs. Use and re-use this liquid adhesive in your shop for a clean, low-stress production run.