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This blog post is sponsored by Speedball, highlighting the key features and instructions for Speedball's Flex Ink. However, the tips and opinions I share in this post are based on my own testing and usage.
I'm thrilled to introduce you to Speedball's latest innovation in screen printing: Flex Screen Printing Ink.
The Flex Screen Printing Ink Advantage
Speedball's Flex Ink is an advanced water-based ink available in 11 rich and bold colors. What sets it apart is its remarkable flexibility, allowing your designs to move and stretch seamlessly with the fabric without cracking or peeling.
A New Dimension of Possibilities
As someone who has been using Speedball's original screen printing inks for years, I was eager to put Flex Ink to the test. The creamy consistency of this ink makes it easy to spread across the screen, providing vibrant results every time.
Exploring Flex Ink on Different Fabric Colors
The Speedball Flex Ink colors pop nicely on all shirt colors and fabric types.
White on Dark Fabric
Screen printing light ink colors on dark fabric has always been a challenge for new screen printers, especially without any extra equipment like a screen printing press.
With Speedball Flex Ink, the colors are vibrant even when printed with a loose screen on your table. Because water-based inks soak into the fabric, there is just a bit of shirt color showing through. While this is a great result for beginners, you can take this ink to another level with the help of a screen printing press.
Elevate Your Printing with a Screen Printing Press
NOTE: Speedball does not recommend using a heat gun or hair dryer to speed up the drying process of this ink. It may cause undercured ink, poor adhesion, or ink cracking after washing.
However, in order to get a brighter ink on dark fabric, I have found that you need to dry the ink just a little bit in order to add a second coat of ink on top. To do this, I adjust my heat gun setting to the lowest temperature so it is blowing cool air. I have found that 20 seconds on this setting is enough to dry the first layer of ink while not affecting the integrity of the stretch after washing.
With a second coat of ink on top, your color will be much brighter and even more opaque.
I love how this ink feels on the fabric of my favorite soft Bella+Canvas shirts. The ink is lightweight and smooth.
Cleanup and Maintenance
Being a water-based ink, clean up does not require any special chemicals. However, be cautious as the ink is highly pigmented and can stain surfaces. Ensure you clean your screens, squeegees and spatulas promptly to minimize staining.
TIP: These inks stain my sink if not washed out immediately. I recommend washing your screens outside to avoid any stains on your countertops, sink or floors.
You may not be able to completely avoid staining on the screen. This is normal and will not affect the performance of your screen on your next project.
Heat Settings for Speedball Flex Ink
Allow your prints to air dry overnight before applying heat for the final cure.
Speedball advises against using a heat gun or hair dryer to speed up this drying time.
“Rushing the drying process may lead to issues such as undercured ink, poor adhesion, or ink cracking after washing.”
Heat Press Method
If you don’t have a heat press, a household iron set to the appropriate fabric setting can also be used. Apply even pressure for 2 minutes to cure the ink.
With Speedball's Flex Ink, your designs are now bonded with the fabric, ensuring vibrant, long-lasting prints that withstand wash after wash. The ink's flexibility means your designs will move with the fabric, maintaining their integrity over time.