Ever look at a t-shirt design and think it needs just a little more “pop?” Just a little bit of sparkle? Who are we kidding, you might even want to add some full on bling! Screen printing with a glitter effect is not terribly challenging, but there are a few things you need to do differently in order to achieve this look. I’ve outlined four (and a half) crucial steps to making your prints shimmer and sparkle:
One: Use Wilflex Particle Base.
Wiflex Particle Base is a printable plastisol base designed to hold additives such as glitter. Measure in the glitter to the base by weight. A 30% glitter load by weight yields the best results for an extreme sparkle effect.
Two: Use a 40 mesh screen.
You will need a very low mesh count in order to allow the large glitter particles to pass through your screen. I recommend a 40 count mesh in order to make this as easy as possible on both automatic and manual presses.
Three: Use Kiwo Thick Coat Emulsion.
Just like the name implies, this product is thick and not as fluid as a standard emulsion. Since you are going to use a large and open mesh, you’ll need a product that closes those openings while also being easy to coat. I also recommend you use the rounded edge of your scoop coater when making your screen.
Four: Use a soft squeegee.
A 60 durometer works very well with glitter application. A good flood is crucial to fill the ink well so the glitter can be printed with one print stroke. Multiple strokes leave a thicker ink deposit which will feel heavy on the garment. It will also make curing the ink properly more difficult as well.
Four 1/2: A small and simple trick when printing with glitter is to under-base the glitter with the same color ink while printing wet-on-wet. This can help you achieve a “full glitter coverage” look, and the wet-on-wet printing helps the glitter adhere to the print, not the screen.
Good luck, and let your designs sparkle!