After a long run of the metallic gold printed Weapons of Mass Instruction Tees, we have switched to white and transparent. Why? Well, the gold print T shirts and hoodies were only meant to be a limited edition run. They quickly became a popular colour combination so we decided to keep printing in gold.
Our screen prints last a long time. We are proud of that. The metallic gold in screen printing inks is obviously not real gold, but, it’s also not entirely real ink. The pigment is made of a mixture of copper and zinc in various proportions. 85% copper and 15% zinc produces a rich pale gold. Larger amounts of zinc will give the ink a greenish shade of gold called rich gold. More copper produces a reddish gold, called pale gold. Metallic silver inks usually contain aluminium particles in various proportions.
Metallic screen printing inks can really enhance a garment and make your design stand out and a good screen printed T-shirt should last a long, long time – at least if the screen printer is good. If they can apply more than one coat of ink, it helps. If they can “semi-cure” each print between coats, it also helps. If they’re a real person and not an automated machine, they should, at least be able to accommodate for these two points.
So, if gold is all that, then why have we switched back to plain old white? There is a downside to metallic inks that I have recently found out – eventually, after many, many, many washes, the metallic element begins to wash out and ultimately just the pigment remains. What colour is left depends on the metallic mix in the ink. After over a year of hard wearing and heavy washing, my Weapons tee print is now more green than gold!
As a customer I guess I should accept that a printed tee design should fade, crack or deteriorate over time? A few customers that I’ve spoken to haven’t had any issues with the gold prints (yet) and many have said that the print on their uchi tees lasts longer than other tees they own. Still, as an owner I’d like all uchi tees to last as long as all uchi tees, which means – despite how good metallic inks look, you may well be justified in slapping me if I screen print a T shirt with metallic inks again without a very good reason.
Got any uchi T shirts or hoodies with metallic inks? How are they holding up? Please let us know or share some pictures.