Can you print metallic ink for screen printing?

Yes, custom screen printed t-shirts can be printed with metallic ink. In fact many shirts today use metallic ink with screen printing to add more pizazz to a theme or a design. This is a great feature and it can add a lot to the print; however, there are a few important things to keep in mind before ordering your next print job with metallic ink.

Screen printed products are created using a woven mesh screen that is stretched over a metal or wooden frame, a stencil that is created to block certain areas is then placed on the screen, then the ink is applied to the screen and rolled across the stencil using a squeegee. The result is ink penetrating the open areas of the screen and transferring onto the item as the stencil design.

This process works just fine with metallic inks and they will usually come out looking great. The only drawback to using metallic inks is that they typically do not last as long as regular screen printing inks. Instead they tend to fade or wash out over time. This is not really a printing problem per se since it has more to do with how the ink itself holds up and is largely unavoidable regardless of printing quality. The metallic ink will typically look its best when it is new before any washes have occurred. It will then typically lose more and more of its quality and shine with each successive cycle of wear and wash.

Many people still choose to do metallic inks however, because these metallic print shirt do look their best when they are new and very often people are buying the shirts to wear at a specific event that is coming up and are most concerned about that first time anyway. On the other hand if the t-shirts are being purchased for something like a uniform that will need to be worn and washed many times over and over for years to come, then metallic ink may not be the best choice. Metallic inks can be a great addition to a shirt design but it is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages.

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