3D Printing: What is Puff Screen Printing?
Have you ever seen a hoodie with a raised design that looks like it’s popping off the fabric? That’s puff screen printing, and it’s one of the most popular trends in streetwear right now. But what exactly is puff ink, and how does it give artwork that 3D look? Let’s go over the basics of this unique screen printing method.
How It’s Made
Puff screen printing starts with either plastisol or water-based inks of any color. To get the signature 3D effect, an additive such as “Rutland NPT puff” is added to the ink, usually at a ratio between 5% and 15%. It’s important to get the ratio just right since that will dictate how much the ink will rise. The more you add, the higher up your design will pop.
Puff 3D printing uses mesh counts and oven curing to achieve its signature puff effect. The mesh count determines how much ink is pressed through the screen onto the fabric or garment. A lower mesh count will press more ink through the screen, while a higher mesh count will press less ink through the screen. After being printed the garment is then passed through an oven in order to cure the ink and make it rise to its final form. The heat causes the molecules within the ink to expand, resulting in a raised puff effect that can be felt by hand—hence why this technique is also referred to as “puff printing” or “raised print”.
How to Care For Your Custom Puff Print
Wash Inside Out with Cold Water
When cleaning your custom puff print, be sure to turn the item inside out before washing it. This will help preserve the integrity of the print itself by protecting it from any potential abrasion from other garments or items being washed in the same load. Additionally, always wash your custom puff prints with cold water as hot water can damage the fabric or fade the colors of the design. Hang Dry Whenever Possible. With proper care your puff print should outlast the garment.
Pros of Puff Ink
Puff 3D printing is an amazing technique to add dimension and texture to a t-shirt design. The printed ink molecules expand when heat is applied, creating a raised, 3D effect that looks and feels like a million bucks. It’s a fast printing technique for printing in large volumes and can be printed with other flat inks to add even more dimension. Additionally, it’s a highly durable finish and will not flake or fade over time. Puff 3D printing works with many fabrics, making it the perfect way to create professional looking t-shirts.
Downsides of Puff Ink
The downside of using puff ink is that it can be difficult to match Pantone colors accurately since you’re adding an extra layer into the mix. Some colors are harder than others because they require additional layers for darker shades and hues; getting them just right requires careful testing and adjustment from your printer. Additionally, because each layer must dry completely before another can be applied, this type of printing tends to take longer than traditional methods.
Puff Ink is not ideal for fine, detailed artwork and cannot be used to produce image (raster based) prints. Additionally, screen printing cannot be combined with foil, flock or high density print effects.
Overall, puff screen printing is an easy way to make your designs stand out from the crowd. Whether you’re creating apparel for retail sale or promotional materials for an event, this technique can add dimensionality and texture to any project while still maintaining a high level of detail accuracy. With proper care and attention to detail during production, you’ll be able to achieve beautiful results with every job!
Step By Step Process
• To get the signature 3D effect, an additive such as “Rutland NPT puff” is added to the ink, usually at a ratio between 5% and 15%. It’s important to get the ratio just right since that will dictate how much the ink will rise.