|What is Going On?
There are many factors when pretreating you should pay attention to to ensure you get the best, possible printing surface for your white ink.In this image you can see the pretreatment has crystallized. Normally, this will not happen however there are circumstances where it will crystallize and it is easy to remedy. (NOTE: The crystallization usually will wash out in the first laundrying).
We pretreated like normal, however when we went to cure the pretreatment on the heat press we utilized a common paper – a parchment/Baker’s type paper. This necessarily would not have been an issue, however what we did next was the cause of the crystallization appearing on the shirt.
The parchment paper was left on the shirt, to cool down, trapping steam from the pretreatment under the paper and next to the surface of the garment. The steam then cooled, and crystals formed and adhered under the paper on the surface of the shirt. The result is what you see in the picture.
Another note is that you can’t re-use (it is not recommended) the parchment paper. Some pretreatment will cool on the paper and crystallize on the surface of the paper. The next time you use the paper it might transfer onto the surface of the t-shirt, revealing the crystals. Utilizing a teflon sheet and wiping it down after each pressing will remove any pretreatment residue so that it does not transfer to another shirt or print. Plus, the teflon will help give a much smoother surface on which to print.
|100% White Polyester Printing on Brother DTG
If you want to get sublimation like prints from your Brother direct to garment printer, it is now possible with Image Armor.We used a Sport-Tek 100% polyester shirt and pretreated with Image Armor (18 grams in this example) and the results were absolutely incredible – rivaling that of sublimation at a fraction of the cost of sublimation.
We did absolutely nothing different in the printing process with this print. As you can see in the image below that the left side was NOT pretreated while the right side was pretreated with Image Armor Dark Shirt Formula. The pretreatment was then heat set with two presses at 330F for 20 seconds each at a light pressure. The light pressure keeps the traditional lines from the paper and heat press from permanently being set into the fabric of the shirt (this is a well known issue with sublimation leaving transfer paper marks and heat press marks in the fabric). The shirt was printed on a GT-541 garment printer with a vivid setting of 3 and then heat set for 35 seconds at 356F. You can see the image below there is a VERY significant different between the left side and the right side. The treated (right) side has a very significant color intensity vibrancy as compared to the straight print on the left side with no pretreatment.
What this means to you is that if you own a Brother series direct to garment printer you will find that you can seriously expand your sales into the performance fabric market. Obviously you will still need to do some testing as various polyester types may behave differently and perform differently, however the results are well worth the effort.
You can find a dealer for Image Armor near you by checking out our PURCHASE page.
Update 10/31/13: 15 Washes and Drying
Below is a picture of the 100% polyester shirt form above that was printed with a Brother printer using JUST CMYK inks and our Dark Shirt Formula. As you can see, 15 washing and drying cycles and the image still looks almost like the original un-washed version. This definitely gives your sublimation a run as a viable alternative solution.
|What We Printed
In our continuing efforts to educate our customers, we wanted to show a Hanes Nano T in Lime Green printed with Image Armor Dark Shirt Formula.The shirt was pretreated with 18 grams of Image Armor Dark Shirt Formula, and heat set 2x presses for 20 seconds at 330F. We utilized a teflon cover sheet for best results on the surface of the shirt.The print itself, had the CMYK ink volume cut back to keep excessive amounts of CMYK ink being deposited onto the white ink surface. If too much CMYK is deposited, the ink will pool and need to go somewhere – think of it like pouring water onto a glass table top – it will want to run somewhere because there’s too much ink. When printing on the nice smooth surface of the white ink base, you don’t need a LOT of CMYK deposited to get good coverage.
Again, variations of where the T-Shirts are manufactured may have “non-ideal’ water supplies and how the shirts are processed can affect the pretreatment resulting in discolorations. This will be up to the end user to test and find what works best for them.
|Everyone has been asking about Image Armor and we wanted to start bringing you some informative articles on using Image Armor.The current formula on the market is Image Armor Dark Shirt Formula. It sounds like it would only be good for use on dark colored shirts, right? Wrong.The image to the left is a District Threads pink cap sleeve t-shirt. We pretreated the shirt with 12 grams of Image Armor pretreatment and heat set with a teflon cover, curing it for 2x 20 second cycles. We found that on our test printer, the color laydown of CMYK (in %) needed to be reduced as it was laying down too much ink. This obviously would be dependent upon your particular printer and testing needing to be done to ensure proper printing.
So, as you can see in the picture, there is minimal, noticeable visual cues as to where the Image Armor was sprayed, and where it was not sprayed. The biggest sign was from the heat press markings – no real discolorations.
What does this mean? Well, Image Armor isn’t necessarily just for Dark shirts. Try different colors, different brands and you might be surprised at how well it works.
Just remember, that there are issues with where the shirts are manufactured. Some locations have “non-ideal’ water supplies and how they process the shirts can affect the pretreatment resulting in discolorations. This will be up to the end user to test and find what works best for them.
|We here at Image Armor are constantly trying to improve our products, bring new products to our customers, and help our customers understand the various aspects of pretreating that are often misunderstood.In this article we are going to take a look at the wash fastness of Image Armor and the various amounts of pretreatment applied – and how those affect wash ability.In this test we are utilizing the following settings / items:
The Image to the left/above is a photo of the image printed on the shirt, full image, pre-washed. This is our control shirt.
The Image to the right is an extreme closeup of the pre-washed shirt. This shows the incredible detail that direct to garment printing can provide, while showcasing the effectiveness of Image Armor Dark Shirt Formula.
We will be updating this post as we get wash test results after 1 wash, 5 wash, 10 wash, etc.
FIRST WASHING RESULTS 10/15/13
The above picture is after a single washing (all shirts laid next to each other and photographed at the same time – the lighting does give some variation in the shirt/print colors). The far left image (Original) is the original shirt, unwashed, 18 grams of Image Armor applied. The middle is 10 grams, the right, 27 grams. There was no noticeable color loss or image quality loss on quality. We will be posting close ups at the 5 wash point as well as another photo like the above.
WASHING RESULTS: 2X – 10/15/13
WASHING RESULTS: 10X – 10/16/13
WASHING RESULTS: 15X – 10/21/13
WASHING RESULTS: 26+X – 10/31/13
|We wanted to thank EVERYONE who has tried Image Armor and who have come back to us with glowing reports on how it has helped them increase their effectiveness in Direct to Garment white ink printing. From making it easier to apply to a garment and taking the guess work out of how much to apply – everyone has found white ink DTG printing has become easier with Image Armor. What is the secret to Image Armor’s success?There are many reasons why Image Armor is setting the new standard for white ink DTG pretreating. However, one reason is that we really care about our end customers and the quality products they produce. It is our job to help you Protect Your Image. In helping you produce the best printing – pretreated surface possible, we go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that our entire process is controlled. This control gives the highest quality, purist product we can provide.
A great product begins with a great foundation, and Image Armor pretreatment begins with our state of the art water purification system. We are able to produce an extremely large volume of pure water every day that is free from chemicals and other impurities that can and does affect the final pretreatment mixture. Many other manufacturers don’t go to the extremes that Image Armor does to ensure you get the best product. This is just another reason that makes a difference…
We think like you do. You want to provide your customers with the best possible printed product. We want to provide you,our customers, with the best possible pretreatment solution. Your success is our success.
And we won’t stop working to help you Protect Your Image.
Pretreatment in the past has been a huge deterrent for the newcomer to DTG white ink printing. You had to find “the sweet spot” or risk a failure of the print after the garment left your shop. This is not the way to run a business – not knowing if your shirt would fail and deteriorate when the customer washed the shirt.
What I end up telling people is, “Forget everything you thought you knew about pretreatment”. What do I mean by this?
Don’t assume that Image Armor is just one of the leading brands re-packaged. It is not. Anyone who has used it realizes that after the first shirt is pretreated and printed. When washed, the real results are seen. We are proud to be able to bring this technology to the DTG industry and are excited to help our customers Protect Their Image.