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There are several types of dyestuffs that can be used as a print paste and fall into two main categories.

  1 Spirit based Helizarin Pigment Printing Pastes.
  2 Water Based print pastes made with the appropriate dyestuff.

Spirit Based Pigment Dyes

Pigment Dyes are fairly straight forward to use. The base is an emulsion containing special binding agents to which you can add the pigment colour.

  Typical recipe
  3-4% colour to the amount of binder
  e.g. 3-4mls colour to 100ml binder or the equivalent to 1 teaspoon colour to 100ml binder

If you are using black you will need to use 5-6% colour to the amount of binder

5-6mls black
    100ml binder

All the colours are readily inter-mixable
After printing, the colour is fixed by baking the fabric at 150°C for 5-10 minutes. The print does not need washing after baking.

There are also different types of speciality binders available

  Metallic Binder MT to which you add metallic powders - Gold/Silver etc.
    Typical recipe
  e.g 15gms powder
    100gms Metallic Binder
  Puff Binder - which expands when heated to give a raised affect.
  Flock Binder - which expands when heated to give a raised flock like appearance.

There are several types of Water Based dyestuffs that can be used in print pastes

Procion Dyes

Procion Dyes are suitable for printing onto cotton/Linen/Viscose/Rayon. They can also be used to print Silk or Wool, but are not generally used, as Acid dyes are more suitable for those. Procions give good bright colours which have good wash fastness properties.

Fixation of the dyes takes place by direct chemical linkage with the fibre. This is brought about by the presence of alkali and under the influence of heat. There are two types of dyes which can be used in the print pastes. They are the “M” range and the “H” range.

The “M” dyes are very fast reacting and a print paste containing Sodium Bicarbonate may only last a few days. The “H” dyes are less reactive and therefore very stable in the print paste and will last for up to 4 weeks if kept in airtight containers in a cool place. Both classes (“M” and “H”) dyes need steaming for 15 minutes. Colours are fully inter-mixable within each class

Acid Dyes

Acid Dyes are a wide range of bright colours which are reasonably fast to light and washing. They are suitable for printing on all protein fibres e.g. wool, silk and other animal fibres. They have an affinity to protein fibres and fixation takes place by steaming the printed fabrics for 1 hour.

Disperse Dyes

Disperse Dyes are used for the printing of man-made fibres such as nylon and polyester. They are available in a wide range of colours and are fixed by steaming
for 30 minutes.


Gum Thickeners

All water based print pastes require a thickening agent, which enables the dyestuff to be transferred to the fabric at the printing stage. The thickening must contain the dye within the printed area during the drying and steaming process otherwise “bleeding” will occur. It is important that the thickening agent is compatible with the fabric and other components in the print paste.

  They consist of two types:
  Manutex For Procion/Acid Printing
  301 For Disperse/Discharge/Devore Printing


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