Before you even ask…no! You don’t need to be a chemist to work with our low temperature inks such as ELT and ELT-S Series. You don’t need additives. You don’t need a professional mixer. This ink is ready-to-use out of the bucket. That doesn’t mean you won’t want to use an additive. There are certain circumstances which an additive or “ink companion” can give you an assist. Perhaps you want to print a difficult wet-on-wet job with ELT Series and you are worried about build up on the back of the screen. Out of the bucket I will admit, ELT (along with all “universal” screen printing inks) is not a great wet-on-wet ink. That is a reality. This is one of the situations which may guide you to our new line of ELT additives.
Each of our new additives is discussed below in detail. One important note I want you to take out of this conversation is that all of our low temperature additives will also work perfectly in regular/high temperature inks. Nothing to fear! Mix it in! It is all compatible. Just another bonus working with the cool cats at One Stroke Inks.
The first of our additives is wonderful to have around, especially when ink has been on the shelf a bit too long. Sure, plastisol ink gets thick when sitting around. It needs love. It needs a stir. Plastisol thins when it is stirred, heated, or hugged. ELT/ELT-S will last a long time on the shelf without thickening. However, it is still plastisol so things happen. Warehouse heat happens. When you need to thin our low temperature inks, you don’t want to accidentally raise the cure temperature. This side effect rules out so many reducers/thinners. ELT Reducer will not only keep your low temperature ink…a low temperature ink, it will also maintain the impressive bleed resistance and opacity of these inks. This is a chemical reducer which means it will take very little ELT Reducer to thin an ink significantly. One ounce can thin an entire gallon significantly.
Aside from ink being too thick, there are other uses. Perhaps you are printing through very fine screen mesh. Thin ink makes this so much easier. Maybe the ink is running up the squeegee. This implies it may be too sticky. ELT Reducer will help.
ELT Thickening Powder
Everything I just said about the ELT Reducer…reverse that. ELT Thickening Powder is like adding flour to gravy. It instantly thickens up the ink. It is like a bulking powder. This will not alter the cure temperature and that matters. We certainly don’t want to lose the benefits of ELT, right? Thickening an ink is not often necessary. However, ELT Thickening Powder will provide an assist when the platens are really hot and ink is becoming runny. If you have automated equipment with quartz flash cure units, you know what I am talking about.
This is a fun one! ELT S-Additive will make your ink far more stretchy. Add 10% ELT S-Additive into ELT Series ink and it will allow your ink to be stretchy enough for compression tees, wrestling singlets, or running apparel. This turns ELT into our popular ELT-S Series without ordering a second ink. ELT S-Additive is not a curable product so you never want to add more than 15% without testing. You cannot print this onto a fabric and cure it. Also, this will not thin your ink. It is a medium/high viscosity liquid.
ELT WOW Additive
Wet-on-wet screen printing is hard with a universal ink. This is because any ink which is effective on sportswear will be somewhat sticky. Sticky is bad when you don’t want the ink to build up on the back of a screen. Enter ELT WOW Additive. Adding this will allow the ELT/ELT-S Series to “wick” into the fabric. By wicking into the fabric, the ink is far less likely to build up on the back of the screen. Mix in 1-2% ELT WOW Additive by weight. Never exceed 5% as this is not a curable product.
ELT Stretch Underbase
This is more of a companion than an additive. ELT Stretch Underbase is a clear ink meant to print under your entire print. This will do a few things for you:
- The entire print will be more stretchy.
- Increases adhesion. This is specifically important when screen printing nylon and nylon/stretch football uniforms. Most inks will peel off. This ink prevents any problems and allows for low temperature printing on these fabrics.
- Improves ink deposit which improves durability.
ELT Stretch Underbase flash cures quickly so it will not hinder production times. Also, it’s crystal clear! You can use this as a clear gel for screen printing the “wet look” or tone-on-tone effects on dark tees. I do want to stress one thing, this ink really gives the print a nice feel whether it is used as an underbase or an overprint.
You don’t NEED any of these additives/companions. You may want to try them though. They can be helpful, even fun to play with. Today we released the ELT Companion Package which includes one gallon each of these five products. More to come later!