Our website and YouTube channel has tips and inspiration from a global community of eco-conscious printers who use and love PERMASET water-based inks. Manufactured sustainably with 100% solar energy. Learn more below.
PERMASET Inks are made with 100% solar energy powered by a 100 kW solar array.
Natural fabrics printed with PERMASET water-based inks are compostable.
Made Using Sustainable Practices
Paper and board, water and metal wastes are recycled at the plant where PERMASET Inks are made.
Free download: Getting the most out of PERMASET Inks
I hand screen print textiles and fine art prints. I’m an extremely tactile person which means using PERMASET ink is particularly enjoyable. It’s almost like using a really fancy face cream – the kind that you savour as you use it, knowing that it’s special. The opacity and colour is rich and beautiful and the durability and soft hand on fabric is stellar.
As one of the top printing inks for trade printing, Inks from the various PERMASET ranges can provide a wide range of high-quality and versatile inks that can be mixed within the same range.
However, when mixing between ranges, e.g. PERMASET SUPERCOVER® opaque inks with PERMASET AQUA® transparent inks, it is important to exercise caution.
First, the opacity of the print will be reduced compared, for example, to a print with PERMASET SUPERCOVER® ink alone. This will be particularly noticeable in prints over dark backgrounds.
Second, some combinations exhibit slight to significant incompatibility. As above, exercise caution and test first before embarking on a production run.
When mixing water-based inks, it’s important to use clean mixing containers and imperative to mix the inks thoroughly to ensure the new colour is consistent throughout the mixture; thus transparent or semi-transparent containers are recommended.
Finally, it is recommended that the mix formula, operator details (initials) and date are all recorded on the outside of the container and that the lid be tightly sealed after use.
PERMASET Inks are a 100% water-based and do not contain any organic (hydrocarbon) solvents.
To make PERMASET ink more translucent, just keep on adding PERMASET Print Paste (or Reducer).
If you want a REALLY translucent colour, it’s probably best to start the other way; i.e., start with PERMASET Print Paste and add tiny amounts of the coloured ink until the desired intensity is achieved. For some excellent information and further detail on making PERMASET reductions with Print Paste, check out this Blog Getting to know PERMASET textile screen printing inks: Part 1 – Permaset
PERMASET FIRST DOWN WHITE Ink has been specifically formulated for use as an underbase (flash white). It is used by trade printers who wish to print on dark fabrics but use regular PERMASET Standard colours or PERMATONE Inks to retain their superior softness and vibrancy. The First Down White should only be used by shops with multi-station print facilities where tight registration can be maintained.
PERMASET SUPERCOVER WHITE is the premium opaque white ink for printing directly onto dark fabrics. It has the highest levels of titanium dioxide pigment for use on dark coloured fabrics. Excellent opacity in a water-based ink. Despite having been the flagship product in the PERMASET SUPERCOVERrange for > 30 years, in more recent times, this style of ink has become popularly known as HSA or High Solids Acrylic.
PERMASET STANDARD WHITE is a soft handle white ink for printing onto light coloured fabrics. It delivers a significantly softer hand than the PERMASET SUPERCOVER White ink, yet still delivers a beautifully crisp white print and looks spectacular when used for white-on-white prints.
This is probably the biggest problem for people who are changing over to water-based inks, particularly from plastisols, which are very forgiving in this regard.
Prevention is better than cure, so a good first step is to keep humidity in the print area above 40-50% RH. Once the relative humidity gets below 40%, the inks will show much greater propensity to dry in and printing will become a lot more difficult. Getting an hygrometer for your print room is a great investment.
When printers first start using water based inks, they can spray a fine mist of water every 15-20 prints to maintain the moisture of the ink on the screen. Some printers swear by this method. The most important thing is to flood the screen with a layer of ink (1-2 mm; 1/16-1/10”) and to keep the ink moving; that is, work quickly (but don’t rush). If a screen has been sitting around doing nothing for a while, pull a test print from it onto a scrap T-shirt, piece of fabric or even newsprint and inspect the clarity of the print, particularly around any fine detail.
If the ink does start to dry on the screen a little, don’t panic. Just pull another print on a test piece, so that as much ink is cleared from the image area of the mesh as possible, take a damp rag and clean both sides of the screen, then remove excess moisture with another rag. Reflood the screen, take another test print and then you’re good to go again.
Mesh count is often a factor. Most garment printers use a 43T (110 tpi) mesh. All other things being equal, the higher the mesh count, the quicker the ink will dry in. However, S-meshes have been a wonderful invention for printing with water based inks. With S-meshes, higher mesh counts can be more forgiving than the same thread count with a conventional mesh. Check out the S-mesh comparison tables.
Use a good emulsion that is compatible with water-based inks and maintains its integrity and you can get good results even with a coarser mesh. With increased experience, you will eventually master 77-90T (195-225 tpi) meshes for SUPERCOVER and up to 120 T (305 tpi) for PERMASET AQUA, PERMATONE and PERMAPRINT Premium.