Understands Underbases


Understands Underbases: The What, Why, and How

An underbase can significantly enhance the quality of your garment printing. In plastisol printing, it can prevent color interference from the shirt, provide protection against color bleeding and dye migration, counteract fibrillation, enhance color vibrancy, facilitate the creation of special effects, and improve overall print quality. However, the use of an underbase can also make a print feel heavier and may add an extra step to your printing process. The trick lies in knowing when and how to use an underbase.

An underbase, also known as underlay, is a layer of ink printed directly onto a garment. It creates a base for subsequent colors, preventing the fabric’s color from showing through the print and the inks from soaking into the fabric. This enhances the print’s opacity, which is particularly useful when printing light-colored or translucent inks on dark shirts.

Understanding when to use an underbase is important. While it can prevent various issues, it’s not always necessary or even beneficial. Sometimes, investing in higher-quality ink or refining your printing techniques can solve the problem without the need for an underbase. In certain cases, printers only need to underbase a specific part of a print, not the whole design.

When considering an underbase, keep your customer’s specifications in mind, such as the color and fabric of the garment, the design parameters, and the end use of the garment. For instance, a thicker print might be acceptable or even preferable for athletic wear but not for a fashion top.

Underbases can be solid or made up of halftone percentages. A solid underbase is easier to create but results in a thicker print. A halftone underbase allows for tonal gradation and enhanced dimension in the finished print.

Underbases are not always white. They can be grey, light blue, or other colors, depending on the printing requirements. Using a colored underbase can help maintain the tonal balance of your design and even add depth.

Creating a successful underbase requires attention to detail. Important factors include the mesh count, which can range from 80 to 305 (T32-T120), the creaminess and opacity of your inks, and how quickly they flash or dry. It’s essential to flash the underbase correctly: it should only be gelled, not fully cured, otherwise, the subsequent layers of ink won’t adhere properly.

The application of an underbase should involve a hard flood stroke, followed by a lighter stroke. It’s important not to force the ink into the garment, as this can cause issues.

Ultimately, understanding and mastering underbasing can significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of your printing process. However, avoid making the common mistakes of always assuming an underbase is necessary or avoiding it because it seems too complicated.

What is the underbase in screen printing?

In screen printing, an underbase refers to a layer of white ink applied before other colors in a design. This technique helps maintain color accuracy and opacity when printing on dark garments. By utilizing an underbase, screen printers ensure vibrant and consistent results on various fabric shades.

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As a German resident of Mauritius with a loving wife and two children, I bring more than 35+ years of experience in the screen printing industry. Although English is not my first language, I use advanced artificial intelligence to optimize the clarity of the content, and re-edit so that the factual content is accurately reflected to my knowledge.

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