Updated: 6 days ago
As an apparel decorator/printer many factors contribute to a successful print. Humidity, temperature, color, fabric type and weave to name a few. Likewise many factors can also work against it. Fibrillation is one of those factors.
What is Fibrillation?
Fibrillation is the term used to describe the fibers that show through after a print. This can be seen immediately in the white underlay of a print. If not caught, the next colors will print on top of it causing the previously printed fibers to lay on top of each other making your finished print look hairy and muddy versus crisp and clean.
How To Prevent It?
Now that you know what Fibrillation is, what are some ways to prevent it? Your first line of defense is your garment. The higher the "singles" the tighter the weave and the better the quality of print. Always look at the "singles" when choosing a garment to print. The lower the "singles", the looser the weave, the worse your fibrillation will be.
Another way to prevent it is to use parchment paper. After you've put down your underlay, place a piece of parchment paper over your print. Slide your hand over the paper. This will cause any fibers sticking up to lay down.
If you screen print, Bella Canvas* suggests adjusting screen tension and squeegee settings: "We can eliminate fibrillation in the production process by having a really tight screen, measuring the Newtons on your screens, and using an iron or a roller squeegee. You can do this by having proper off contact, allowing the ink to fully transfer from the screen down to the shirt and not having the screen pull the ink back up. When the screen is loose on press, the mesh will touch or “kiss” the garment as it pulls back up bringing fibers up with it."
"Another way to avoid the fibers from sticking up is to change-out your squeegee using a different durometer that’s softer or harder depending on the adjustment needed. A softer squeegee and changing the angle of the squeegee will allow more ink to pass down onto the garment."
I hope this blog helps you become a better printer and alleviate one of printings common problems. If you have any questions about my process or you are stuck with your process, drop me a line in the comments and I will help in any way I can. Until next time, happy printing!
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