Every screen print shop needs a dependable on-press cleaner. Whether it’s for cleaning up ink spills or completing color changes, a good cleaner is always handy to have around. Sometimes printers need to print one design in multiple different colors. How can that be accomplished without creating a new screen? It’s as simple as switching out the ink on the screen. Here’s how to get it done.
WHAT IS A COLOR CHANGE?
Say a customer wants 50 shirts, half with a white design on black shirts and half with a black design on white shirts. Rather than making two screens with the same design, simply do a color change. Print the white ink on black garments first, then clean out all the ink on the screen and print the black design on the white garment.
The main thing to remember when doing a color change is that all the ink needs to be removed from the screen. Any residual ink could show up in the new design. But don’t worry. There’s an easy way to perfect the color change on the press.
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HOW TO DO A COLOR CHANGE
Remember reading that every screen printer needs a good on-press wash? Here’s where that comes in handy. A good on-press cleaner like Sgreen® Supreme Wash cleans ink from screens without leaving behind an oily residue. For water-based printers, Sgreen® Aqua Wash does the trick. Grab some shop towels or rags and you’re ready to go.
First, card off all the excess ink on the screen with a cleanup card or ink spatula. Once the majority of the ink is gone, it’s time for Sgreen® Supreme Wash to shine. Spritz the screen with cleaner, making sure to get all the areas where the ink was during printing. Wipe with a rag or towel and repeat the process until all the ink is gone from the screen. If areas of the screen are taped over, make sure to un-tape them and clean the ink out of that area as well.
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Changing color from light to dark is always the best way. Darker colors are usually more opaque and will show through if any is left on the screen after a color change. For the job mentioned above, printing the white ink first will make for an easier color change than printing black first.
Pro Tip: Red is the hardest color to erase from a screen completely. Print the red design last when printing designs that require a color change with red.
Utilizing on-press color changes can save printers time and money if done properly. Pick up a reliable on-press cleaner, some rags, or blue shop towels, and get to work.