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6 Jan 2022  | 0 Comments

We’re all doing our part in trying to minimise our environmental impact, and you might be looking to do the same with your screen printing either at home or in your business. So how do you make greener choices for your screen printing workflow? Let’s consider why – and how – you might go about this.

Designer @imearthie in Wollongong is an environmentally friendly screen printer who prints with PERMASET eco-friendly inks

First up, why is environmentally friendly screen printing important?

People are valuing sustainable screen printing techniques more than ever before, for a couple of key reasons. On a wider social level we’re all becoming much more conscious about the products we’re buying and using. As well as the environmental and cultural impacts of these purchases, we’re also considering how they might affect our personal health and wellbeing. A few sensible changes can produce a safer, more sustainable and higher-quality product with benefits all round.

5 straight-forward ways to green up your screen printing

Massive positive change is often made through smaller incremental improvements. Wherever possible, consider these changes for your home or professional screen printing workflow.

Master your screen prep

The more precise and thoughtful you are with your screen prep, the less waste and environmental impact you’ll be producing. So:

  • Choose quality screens and accessories that won’t wear out so quickly
  • Work with environmentally friendly screen dehazer and degreaser> Franmar offer some eco-friendly options which are available from Australian Screen Printing Supplies
  • Use an exposure calculator that will give you a more accurate result the first time around.

Choose sustainable fabrics and textiles

An estimated 92 million tonnes of clothing waste ends up in landfill every year around the world. Not only that, but around 60% of our clothing production comes from synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic and nylon, which contribute to plastic fibres being distributed in waterways as far away as the Arctic. In fact, it’s believed around 35% of the microplastics that enter the ocean come via synthetic textiles – and we even ingest these fibres too! So what can be done?

As a screen printer you can do your bit by:

  • Choosing natural textiles that will break down and biodegrade
  • Printing on better quality fabrics that can be worn and used for longer (slow fashion not fast fashion)
  • Using linen, hemp or organic cotton, which uses less water in production, and
  • Selecting textiles that are composed of recycled plastics.

Choose environmentally friendly screen printing inks

If you’re committing to sustainable or organic screen printing, it makes sense to use the most environmentally friendly inks available. While PVC-based plastisol ink was once the go-to, many printers now prefer to use water based inks. There’s a reason for this change. Water-based screen print ink was once known as difficult to print with – however, innovative products such as PERMASET AQUA have made it simple to print big, bold results on textiles without any of the phthalates, PVC, CFCs and HCFCs, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents associated with plastisol inks. Not only is that better for the environment, it’s also better for your printing team – and the end user or wearer of the product. Be sure to also check out PERMAPRINT PREMIUM sustainable inks for printing on cardboard, metals and more.

Order in bulk (where possible)

It can be difficult and cost-prohibitive to order in bulk if you’re doing small or selective print runs. But wherever possible, ordering in bulk really can minimise the amount of packaging and the carbon emissions that more regular shipments would create. Consider the screen printing equipment, inks and supplies that you can order in every few months, rather than than multiple times per month, and you might even save some money on freight.

Consider ink disposal and waste water

Ink disposal and waste water has long been a concern for screen printing shops, and many studios have complex methods in place to manage the by-products of the process. Plastisol ink and traditional solvents have been known to cause health issues such as respiratory problems and skin conditions, which is why their waste water must be so carefully managed. PERMASET Inks are 85% biodegradable inks which don’t contain harmful chemicals. Still, you can manage waste in a more sustainable way by:

  • Keeping and re-using leftover ink in a clean container
  • Wiping leftover ink from screens for re-use, and disposing of rags or paper towels into landfill
  • Strain solids out of waste water and leave it in the sun to dry, then these dry solids can be disposed of into your garbage.

Visit the PERMASET FAQs page  which includes more information on PERMASET AQUA and more detail on how best to manage safe ink disposal.

Yardage printer Ink & Spindle in Melbourne put PERMATONE Inks to a composting challenge and all that remained was the zip!

Ready to try water based screen print ink?

PERMASET offers an exciting range of mixable organic ink ranges to choose from, including the PERMASET Standard Range of inks for printing light coloured fabrics, Metallic Ink colours for some shimmer, Glow fluorescent ink colours, PERMASET SUPERCOVER Inks for printing directly onto dark coloured fabrics, and the PERMASET Foil FX inks and Puff Paste inks for printing special effects.  Visit the online shop now, or find a stockist in your local area to get your hands on some PERMASET eco-friendly inks, and start printing more sustainably.

12 Oct 2021  | 0 Comments

How can you easily make the move to water-based inks?

Making a move from printing with plastisol inks to water-based inks may seem a little daunting.  With a few expert tips you can become at expert at using these eco-friendly inks for screen printing t-shirts, tote bags, yardage, posters and lots more.

Firstly, what are water-based inks?

Water-based inks are just as they sound; they’re inks made from a water-based medium as well as pigments or dye. They’re an ideal alternative to plastisol inks, which are made up of a plasticiser medium containing PVC plastic particles. While plastisol inks were once the widespread choice, water-based inks are increasingly becoming the screen printing ink of choice as they offer great vibrancy, durability, softer prints and a safer printing process.

Why choose water-based inks?

Water-based inks are safer for people, both during the screen printing process and for the subsequent wearer of the printed textiles. They’re also safer for the environment. For example – PERMASET water-based inks don’t include any PVC or phthalates or require the use of harsh solvents to clean up, as is common with plastisol inks. PERMASET’s PERMATONE range of inks have passed the OEKO-TEX Class 1 standard with 60% to spare, and as such are safe to use on baby clothes, underwear and swimwear. You can explore more here on why water-based inks are the better choice.

PERMATONE Inks have Approval of the Soil Association of the UK

How to make the move from plastisol to water-based inks

You might have heard that printing with water-based inks is more difficult than printing with plastisol inks, but ink technology has evolved a whole lot in recent years. All you need is to keep a few basic tips in mind.

    1. Water-based inks can be a little thinner (or less viscous) due to their water content.
      This means when screen printing, you might choose a screen mesh of between 43-120T (110-305 tpi) depending upon the application. This allows the ink to flow easily while minimising the risk of clogging. Choose a water-resistant emulsion when preparing your screens to avoid issues during your print run.


  1. Water based inks can dry out a little faster than plastisol inks.

There are two handy techniques to save your water-based inks from drying out too fast:

  • Keeping a spray bottle handy to rehydrate the ink as you’re working with it, and
  • Keep your screen flooded with ink in between screen prints.

If you’re screen printing a large job using water-based inks, you might also consider investing in an ultrasonic humidifier to keep the air in the room from drying out.

Water-based inks can produce amazing vivid colour with the right preparation

For light coloured fabrics you can print PERMASET AQUA Standard colours straight on, for a lovely vivid print that’s also soft to the touch. For dark coloured fabrics use PERMASET Supercover Inks which are an opaque formulation specifically developed for printing onto dark fabrics without using an under base. However, if you wish to print the PERMATONE Ink colours onto dark fabrics you will need to print an under base of PERMASET Supercover First Down White first, flash the print and then print the PERMATONE colours over the top.

PERMASET water-based inks can produce amazing vivid colour

It’s still important to cure water-based ink prints with heat

You can ensure a colour-fast print when printing onto fabrics by heat curing using a drying tunnel, heat press, tumble dryer or even an oven to carefully ‘bake’ the fabric for a short period of time.

Printers love working with water-based inks

Not only does the eco-friendly aspect of your finished prints appeal more to your customers, but it’s also a great feeling knowing your print team isn’t constantly exposed to harsh solvents and chemicals. What’s more, a thoughtful printing process can result in clear, detailed prints that are beautifully soft and made to last.

To get started with PERMASET water-based inks, explore the full range today.

12 Oct 2021  | 0 Comments

Eco-friendly inks

Why is everyone talking about eco-friendly inks – and what makes them so different to conventional inks? We thought we’d round up all you need to know about eco-friendly inks in one handy article, right here. Let’s begin!

What exactly are  eco-friendly inks?

As the name suggests, eco-friendly inks are those that have minimal impact on the environment.  These inks are so differentiated, because for many decades the printing industry has used petroleum-based options such as plastisol screen printing inks. While plastisol inks produce a durable result, they can cause harmful environmental and health impacts during printing and handling: including emitting Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM) fumes as they’re heat cured. Most plastisol inks also include phthalate plasticisers, which are found to cause harm to humans and other living organisms. Plastisol inks and the cleaning solvents used for plastisol inks often require specialised disposal because of their environmental impact.

In comparison, eco-friendly inks are designed to produce a vivid, durable print without these harmful effects.

What are the advantages of eco friendly inks?

There are plenty of advantages of choosing a greener ink option. Here are just a handful of the benefits:

  • Printed clothing is far safer, without phthalates leaching onto skin or into your laundry water
  • If you’re a professional printer, you can proudly promote your sustainable use of inks
  • Customers are increasingly turning to eco-friendly products and processes
  • You and your shop staff can enjoy a safer workplace without breathing in harsh fumes
  • Eco-friendly screen prints on clothing tend to be far softer to touch and nicer to wear (another plus for your customers)
  • Eco-friendly inks are vegan: ingredients are not sourced from animals and inks are not tested on animals
  • There’s far less need for specialised disposal methods if you’re running a print shop.

PERMASET eco-friendly inks are vegan

What are the most eco-friendly inks available?

This depends a little on what you’re planning to use the inks for. There are three key options when it comes to environmentally friendly inks:

 Water-based inks

Water-based inks tend to be the best option for colourful screen printing and fabric printing because they can be heat cured for durability and washability. Made from pigments suspended in a water-based medium, water-based inks are easy to clean up and can produce wonderfully vivid prints on fabric and paper: just explore these eco-friendly design ideas as examples.

 Soy and vegetable based inks

Vegetable and soy-based inks are ultra low in volatile organic compounds compared to petroleum-based products. They’re typically made from natural oil extracted from plants, mixed with other eco-friendly compounds such as resins and waxes. Soy based ink in particular is popular for newspaper and document printing, but does not produce ultra vivid colours in all settings.

UV inks

UV inks are applied as a liquid form but turn solid within seconds once they’re exposed to UV light. One of the biggest benefits of UV inks is the speed at which you can print with them; all without having to worry about VOCs or harsh solvents in the process.

We’ve dedicated a great deal of time to developing our PERMASET AQUA®, PERMATONE®  and PERMAPRINT Premium® ink ranges, which are all water-based. None of these inks contain toxic chemicals, lead or heavy metals. Our PERMATONE range of inks has passed the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 Class 1 with flying colours, meaning they’re safe to use even on baby clothes and underwear. In addition, our PERMATONE® range of ink has also been granted Approval by the Soil Association of the UK, meeting the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS 6.0) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.

Vegan brand @care.wears uses PERMASET eco-friendly inks because they aren’t
tested on animals and contain no animal products

We’re delighted that our range of eco-friendly inks are in use by hobbyists and professional screen printers alike, right across the world. Explore the range for yourself today, or read our 5 quick tips for working with safe to use, eco friendly inks.

8 Aug 2021  | 0 Comments

Keen to make your very first screen print at home? We’ve rounded up essential tips to help you get started, from choosing supplies to curing your cool new print.


You can go as DIY or as professional as you like when gathering your supplies, but ultimately, you’ll need the following elements:

  • A screen. This could be a purchased screen or a simple DIY wooden frame with 100 polyester mesh stapled tightly across the top – just keep in mind that the screen mesh will need to sit flush against one side of the frame for a successful print.
  • A squeegee to consistently slide and push ink through the screen.
  • Quality screen printing ink in your preferred colours. Water-based screen-printing ink is a great choice, because it’s both easy to clean up and safer for you to use and for the environment.
  • Some tape to attach your stencil design to the screen or to tape the outside edges of the screen so that the ink doesn’t go into the corners of the screen
  • Paper, fabric or textiles to print onto. To start with you could use a pillow case, a calico tote bag, a blank tea towel or a plain white t-shirt.

Tip: The PERMASET complete screen printing kit is the perfect way to get started with textile printing, including a silk screen, squeegee, stencil paper sheets, masking tape, instructions and 6 PERMASET AQUA colours that mix together beautifully.


complete screen printing kit

The PERMASET Complete Screen Printing to contains everything you need to start screen printing



You can create your design and prepare your screen in a number of ways, but here are the two most common options. Both create distinct sections where the ink can and cannot pass through the screen onto the printing surface.

  1. The first method, which is great for home beginners, is to create a physical stencil which can then be taped against the screen. You could simply print out a design and then use scissors to cut the shape or shapes out. This is a fantastic option if you want to reuse your screen for multiple designs or for printing different coloured inks in your design.physical stencilWatch this video shows you how to screen print onto fabric using paper stencils by Handprinted UK print onto fabric
  2. The second method, typically used by professional screen printers, uses a light-sensitive photo emulsion to prepare the screen. You’ll need to coat the screen with a thin layer of emulsion and let it dry in a dark place. Print your design onto an acetate or transparent sheet, place it reversed onto the screen and expose it to a light source as instructed. Then, wash out the uncured emulsion with water and let the emulsion fully dry and harden. You should see your design clearly at this stage. Here is a link to a video showing an easy way to prepare a design for screen printing using emulsion.

Tip: Your design could be a minimalist one-colour print or use multiple layers to build a complex design with a number of colours – however it is best to start simple!


Screen print time! Use some Table Adhesive to secure your paper or fabric to the table, then line up your screen so the design is positioned correctly with surfaces sitting flush. While professional screen printers use a screen printing press, at home you could use clamps to hold the screen in place. Place a decent amount of ink at the top of the screen. Using water-based inks it is a good idea to flood the screen with ink.  Checkout this short video showing you how to flood the screen with ink. Draw the squeegee towards you without pressure to first flood the screen with a consistent amount of ink. Then, draw the squeegee towards you again with firm pressure at a 45-degree angle, which will squeeze the ink onto the layer below.  It’s good to do two layers of ink, that is two pulls. Lift up your screen carefully and admire the results, before giving your screen and squeegee a thorough rinse with water. Water-based inks must be washed out of the screen with water quickly so as not to dry in the screen

Tip: If printing onto a T-shirt, be sure to slip a piece of cardboard inside first to avoid ink seeping through to the second layer.


Screen print



You’ll want to let your design dry thoroughly and then cure it to avoid the design washing or rubbing off over time. Fortunately, with PERMASET water-based inks you can cure designs easily by applying a hot iron on the the cotton setting for 2-3 minutes, or by leaving the print in the heat of the sun for a few hours up to a full day.  There are number of ways you can cure your print outlined here.  Now you can sit back and bask in the knowledge you just aced your first screen print!

Checkout this video detailing how to screen print simply using PERMASET Inks.


screen print simply using PERMASET Inks


Keen to get started? Order a complete screen-printing kit or screen printing inks now.

28 Jun 2021  | 0 Comments

If you’re creating organic screen printed T-shirts or textiles, it’s vital to consider organic inks as an integral part of the process. After all, why go to the trouble of sourcing environmentally responsible, organic fabrics such as linen, hemp, bamboo or cotton – only to print on them with toxic inks?

For true organic screen printing, steer clear of plastisol inks

The very last thing you’ll want to add to a beautiful organic cotton T-shirt is a layer of plastisol inks. Plastisol inks are still used in screen printing due to their durability and vividness – however, their chemical makeup can make them potentially harmful for the screen printer and the environment, as well as anyone who interacts with the printed textiles. Plastisol inks are made up from PVC plastic particles dispersed in a plasticiser medium. Unfortunately this means that:

  • As prints are heat cured they can give off fumes that include Vinyl Chloride Monomer (VCM), a known group 1 carcinogen as classified by the IARC.
  • Plastisol inks can leach plasticisers into the skin of the fabric wearer or user. Some phthalates used in plasticisers can have endocrine-disrupting (hormone-disrupting) effects.
  • In addition, the clean-up of plastisol inks can require the use of strong solvents. In fact – both plastisol inks and their cleaning solvents often require specialised disposal methods to avoid them entering waterways.

With all of these concerns, there’s little wonder it’s illegal to use plastisol and other petrochemical-based inks on underwear and baby clothes in many locations, including The European Union and the US.

So what’s the alternative? Fortunately water-based ink technology has come an incredibly long way, and it’s now easy to source high quality and safe organic inks that can provide a vivid and long-lasting result.

The ideal choice for organic ink printing

PERMASET’S PERMATONE® water based range, developed here in Australia, is the first textile ink range outside the UK to gain Soil Association Approval. This means these inks meet the requirements of the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.

In simple terms? That means:

  • You won’t come across any CFCs, HCFCs, plasticisers, PCV or VCM fumes with PERMATONE® organic inks
  • You can safely and confidently print underwear, baby clothes and swimwear with these inks
  • You can proudly promote your organic products knowing they’re far safer to print and wear


A baby onesie printed by PRINT INK in Melbourne using PERMATONE® inks.

A baby onesie printed by PRINT INK in Melbourne using PERMATONE® inks.


Our water-based inks are also vegan and are not tested on animals, and are made with 100% renewable energy.

Of course, another attraction of our PERMATONE® range is that it’s been developed with professional colour matching in mind. You can mix the PERMATONE® colours together to produce 1,869 different colours to match brand logos and corporate colours. So whether you’re creating prints at home and have a specific colour in mind or you are printing thousands of T-shirts at your commercial screen printing business, the  PERMATONE® water-based ink range is ideal for your colour matching needs.


PERMATONE® organic approved ink set, ready to use or mix.


PERMATONE® organic approved ink set, ready to use or mix.


What was the process for gaining organic approval?

We originally set out to develop a solvent-free ink system around 2003/4. As a result we launched PERMATONE in 2005, and after a few customers suggested we gain organic approval we realised this range was very close to meeting the requirements for organic fabric ink. We fine-tuned our ink formulations, sourced and tested new raw materials and underwent the Soil Association’s in-depth approval process to ultimately gain approval in 2012. We’re incredibly proud that our products meet these high standards, contributing to a safer screen printing industry with a lower environmental impact.  The Soil Association Approval has this year been updated to the most recent GOTS 6.0 organic approval


Printing yardage at Ink & Spindle in Abbotsford Melbourne using PERMATONE Inks

Printing yardage at Ink & Spindle in Abbotsford Melbourne using PERMATONE Inks


T-shirt by Killer Merch in Melbourne for the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

T-shirt by Killer Merch in Melbourne for the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
was screen printed using PERMATONE organic approved inks.


For organic screen printing ink that is truly worthy of gorgeous organic linens, cottons, hemp and other textiles, explore PERMASET’S PERMATONE® range today.


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