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White underbase

What is white underbase?

In screen printing, a white underbase refers to a layer of white ink printed as a base layer on dark garments or fabrics before applying other print colors. It’s commonly used to ensure that the colors printed on dark shirts or garments appear vibrant and accurate to their intended hue.

When printing on dark garments, the fabric’s color can affect the print’s appearance. Light or pastel colors may not appear well on dark fabrics, resulting in a dull or faded look. To overcome this issue, screen printers use a white underbase layer.

The process begins by printing a layer of white ink onto the fabric as an underbase. The white ink acts as a neutral base, providing a solid foundation for the subsequent print colors. Applying a white underbase layer will make the colors printed on top appear more vibrant and accurate to their original shade.

The white underbase layer is particularly important when printing light pastel colors on dark garments. Without the underbase, the dark fabric may absorb these light colors, resulting in a muted or distorted appearance. By adding the white underbase layer, the light pastel colors can maintain their brightness and clarity.

Screen printers use plastisol inks, which are thick and opaque, for the white underbase layer. Plastisol inks provide good coverage and opacity, ensuring the underlying fabric color does not bleed through the print. After the white underbase and subsequent print colors are applied, the printed garment goes through a curing process where the inks are heated to bond with the fabric, resulting in a durable and long-lasting print.

The white underbase layer also plays a significant role in achieving a soft hand print. Soft hand refers to the tactile feel of the printed design on the fabric. Using a white underbase reduces the amount of ink applied to the fabric, resulting in a thinner print that feels softer to the touch.

White labeling

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