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Mark Dustin - Detail of four colour screen print

Grow your screen printing skills with PERMASET Inks educational resources supporting educators and students

Mark Dustin. Detail of four colour screenprint on aluminium. Platinize, 2017 @markdustin

A new generation of screen printers demanding environmentally friendly inks can be satisfied when using PERMASET water-based inks, that they are the tide of change towards sustainable future. There are many ways that using PERMASET Inks support this tide change. Learn more below.

Solar Powered

PERMASET Inks are made with 100% solar energy powered by a 100 kW solar array.

Biodegradable

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.

Kind to Animals

Raw materials used to make PERMASET Inks are not sourced from nor tested on animals.

Free access to e-learning resources for trainers and students 

Video, e-book and blog content with screen printing tips and techniques are available here and on our PERMASET YouTube channel. Video topics cover beginner techniques such as the flood, the print stroke, washing ink off screens, the design to print process and exposing a screen using sunlight. E-books include reductions for PERMASET AQUA and PERMATONE inks.

Free download: PERMASET Reductions e-book


I was first attracted to PERMASET Inks because of the print quality and have chosen to continue to work with them because of the environmental approach taken in their production. As an educator, I recommend these inks to all of my students, for technical, educational, print quality and environmental reasons. I am fully supported by the manufacturer with exceptional teaching materials that have enhanced the way I teach colour.

Dr Mark Dustin

Artist and Lecturer, Melbourne

Artwork attribution:

Mark Dustin
Imperial, 2019
Screenprint on canvas,
160h x 120w cm
 

Learn about our sustainable inks

Permaset Aqua

PERMASET AQUA

Setting the industry standard of water-based inks for light-coloured fabrics.

Permaset Supercover

PERMASET SUPERCOVER

Unsurpassed colour and opacity even on the darkest fabrics.

Permaprint Premium

PERMAPRINT PREMIUM

Inks for printing on paper, board, plastic, glass, wood, metal & other substrates.

Permatone

PERMATONE

Colour matching set for printing on fabrics, can be mixed to match 1869 colours. Organically Approved by the Soil Association of the UK to GOTS v 6.0.

Aquatone

AQUATONE

Colour-matching set of inks for printing on paper, board, plastic, glass, wood, metal & other substrates. 

We have your back

Our help centre is regularly updated with instruction videos, how-tos, colour cards, technical data sheets and advice to assist you on your screen printing journey

Frequently asked questions

It is worth considering what you want to achieve and why.

PERMASET Inks have good – excellent light fastness. Most colours* achieve a rating of 8/8 on the Blue Wool Scale, but all are not less than 6/8. This is even better than many fine art acrylics. When fully cured, prints have excellent wash and dry clean fastness.  

*All Glow colours and Phosphorescent Green exhibit diminished light fastness, particularly in direct sunlight. 

The above considers pigments. The resins are another matter. The chemistry that allows the prints to cure and in doing so, to attain wash, rub and dry clean resistance is reactive and may compromise very long term viability of prints, particularly on fibres like cotton and particularly in settings where the prints are constantly exposed to strong light. In such an environment, the fibres would be likely to degrade in any case. 

For applications such as these, PERMAPRINT Premium (PPP) would be a preferable choice. PPP confers the same pigment benefits but in an archival quality resin system. The UV resistance of the PPP resin system is such that it has excellent outdoor durability. 

However, use of PPP would mean that the soft handle and launderability properties that are typically required for textile applications would be lost. 

As above, it is worth considering what you want to achieve and why. 

PERMASET AQUA, PERMATONE and PERMASET SUPERCOVER Textile Screen Printing Inks will adhere to most natural fibres, polyester, polyester blends and most, but not all, synthetic fabrics. In order to achieve full adhesion properties however, it is essential that a) the fabric/fibre is print ready and b) the inks are appropriately cured. Extra care will be required when trying to cure prints on heat sensitive fibres. 

PERMAPRINT PREMIUM Screen Printing Inks are formulated to adhere to paper, board, a range of plastics, wood and some coated metals. 

PERMAPRINT Hybrid Inks are designed for use on vinyls, some plastics and metals. 

Whichever ink you use and whatever substrate you’re printing on, it is best practice to conduct test prints prior to embarking on a commercial print run. These test prints should approximate as closely as possible both printing and curing or drying conditions that will be used during the full production run.

Colormaker Industries, manufacturer of PERMASET water-based screen printing Inks, is absolutely committed to being carbon neutral and have set a target of 2025 to achieve carbon neutrality.  

Colormaker began its journey to carbon neutrality in 2003/4 with the total reformulation and launch of PERMASET Inks in a solvent free version. Since 2019, all products have been made using 100% renewable power, whilst a new EV, charged exclusively from the array, is used for local deliveries. 

Colormaker recently celebrated the 2nd anniversary of its solar array going live in September 2019. Over its first 2 years, the installation saved over 300 T of GHGs and provided enough clean electricity to power 40 local homes for a year. 

Current and future projects include water use and carbon emission abatement measures, with R&D focussed on making products even more environmentally benign, acquisition of more EVs and a farm to sequester carbon in trees and soil. 

Education Grade Print Paste Reducer (EGPPR) is available to Educational Institutions to reduce the intensity of the inks, helping make them go much further. EGPPR is available ONLY to Educational Institutions. 

EGPPR is similar to normal Print Paste or Reducer (or Extender in the PERMATONE range). Thus, if you do not have access to EGPPR, you can use normal Print Paste, Reducer or PERMATONE Extender. 

The EGPPR product is supported by the REDUCTIONS case studies resources via the PERMASET website. These allow the student to actually see what reducing the intensity of the ink from 50% to 99% will do. In the case of Black, a reduction to 99.9% is included. They are an invaluable teaching resource.

Acrylic paints are designed for painting and are a) generally opaque and b) applied a lot more thickly than a printing ink. PERMASET Inks are specifically designed for screen printing, PERMASET Inks for textiles and PERMAPRINT Premium (PPP) for Paper, Board and other rigid substrates or flat stock. 

At a process level, the PERMASET Ink rheology is optimised for application via the screen and the pigmentation is sufficiently intense that the experienced practitioner can use very fine meshes. The particle size of most pigments used in an acrylic paint would not be suitable for any but the coarsest screens and would also make the finished image feel quite rough to touch. 

This may not be a consideration with a painting, but is definitely a factor in apparel and homewares. 

For textile designs to be wearable, they need to be both soft and launderable (and occasionally) dry cleanable. An acrylic paint will offer none of those properties. It will make the fabric stiff and will readily wash off under the stress of laundering, if it hasn’t already rubbed off from close contact/abrasion. PERMASET Inks can and have been used on fabrics ranging from the delicate end, like silk and organza to the rough end including coarse woven canvas, hessian and/or burlap. 

For PPP, the industrial strength adhesion will allow the curious student to explore a broad range of substrates from standard paper and board to a range of plastics, metals and even glass. The PPP resin system also has exceptional UV durability, allowing prints to be used in indoor and outdoor settings. Hand-printed wallpapers for example can cope with quite a bit of punishment. 

Artist acrylics are unlikely to offer these properties. 

Given reduced budgets of both time and money, many students come to courses with little exposure to colour theory and consequently learn during prac time by trial and error, wasting a lot of time and a lot of ink (how many litres of various browns have you had to discard?) 


With the above in mind, PERMASET and PERMATONE Inks come supported with some excellent teaching resources. These include: 

  1. 2 e-books of Reductions for each of the standard PERMASET and PERMATONE Ink ranges showing how to do more with less, 
  1. A Case Study, “Working With Colour” (Parts I and II) and 
  1. A Poster for display in the work space for teaching colour harmonies and based on the theory set out in 2) above.  

They are also invaluable teaching resources, providing students with a solid platform based on sound theory from which to innovate more confidently and more productively. 

PERMASET Inks are designed to print on textiles and are not well suited to printing on plastics for two main reasons. First, they need to be heat set to achieve any degree of permanence and most plastics are heat sensitive, making this problematic. Second, they are based on a soft polymer, so even when cured, they are likely to exhibit poor abrasion resistance on plastic. You can print on plastics with PERMASET inks, but should not expect the print to last for any length of time if exposed to any abrasion. 

For those wanting to screen print on plastics with a water-based ink, we would normally steer people to PERMAPRINT Premium (PPP). This has been used successfully on a range of plastics. For softer synthetic and heat sensitive substrates, e.g. non-woven tote bags or spun bonded non-woven cloths, PERMAPRINT Hybrid would be the product of choice. Both of these can be air dried. PPP has much better abrasions resistance and can be printed with finer detail whilst PERMAPRINT Hybrid is more flexible and generally has better opacity. 

PERMASET Inks are designed to print on textiles where the fibres are woven or knitted into a coherent fabric. This is not the case with fur, so the short answer is ‘No, you cannot print on fur with PERMASET Ink’.  

Interested? Great, let’s talk!