Friday, 2 December 2011

Printing with Pigments

Pigments can be used to print onto fabric and paper. A lot of t shirt prints are done by screen printed using pigments. They usually come in bright colours and are great for t shirts as they are durable because they have a sort of plastic type base. The pigment sits on top of the fabric where as other printing pastes like manutex and discharge actually penetrates the fabric.

Pigments can be mixed with a standard binder to print onto paper or fabrics which are light or medium toned. To print onto darker backgrounds, pigments can me mixed using a 50/50 recipe with an opaque binder and a standard binder. Pigments can also be mixed with expandex or minofoam flock binder to print onto any colour background. When using standard binder, you will need very little binder. Probably only 200ml/half a jar will be sufficient for even coverage. Pigment dyes are highly concentrated colours so a little bit will go a long way! Its best if you put the standard binder into a container first and then add the required amount of pigment. If your after a pale colour add a tiny drop to start off and work from there... You can also add white pigment to lighten your colours or some opaque binder. You can screen print with pigments as usual and and seal by ironing on the back of the fabric for 15 minutes 80 degrees centigrade. Here are my samples...

White pigment printed on to black acid dyed cotton (Which looks blue)

White pigment printed onto black pigment

Black pigment printed on top of heat transfer used with paper doilies
Ex Catherdra Clothing
I recently discovered a designer called Sean Edgar who has a t shirt company called Ex Cathedra Clothing. Click the ink to like his page on Facebook and maybe purchase some of his items! The t shirts are printed using a light pigment ink with a plasticol base to it which isn't as heavy as the usual t shirt prints. Here are some of his pieces...

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood also designed a range of T shirts for TK Maxx and proceeds went to charity for Red Nose Day, which are more than likely printed using pigment inks. To check out more of her pieces click Vivienne Westwood


Fashion156 is an on line magazine which is an exciting platform for London's up and coming designers to get exposure. They have sections on fashion, trends, grooming among other useful tabs and sections. As a celebration of their 5th anniversary Fashion165 has collaborated with 20 designers from the site to design a limited edition t shirt line. Designers include:

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