How to Screen Print on Nylon

Posted by Ellie Batchiyska on

Nylon is a common material used for drawstring bags, banners, tote bags, and other common accessories and apparel. But, despite its popularity, nylon has been known to cause some issues for screen printers. Throughout this post, we will explain why nylon can be challenging to print on and provide you with some helpful tips and tricks for successful print jobs on this material. 


The Challenges of Screen Printing on Nylon

There are many reasons why nylon is used for accessories and clothing items–it’s highly durable, resistant to typical wear and tear, and largely water-resistant. 

However, these features of the material also make it tricky to screen print on. This is because it tends to be slippery and not very absorbent of ink. As such, screen-printed designs may not be set properly or be as long-lasting as on other materials that are more porous.


Helpful Tips and Tricks for Screen Printing on Nylon

With the right techniques, it’s possible to achieve high-quality prints. Here are some useful tips for getting the best results. 


Use the Right Ink

One of the most important tips when screen printing on nylon is choosing the ink that is compatible with nylon. Since it’s non-porous, the ink doesn’t absorb into the nylon fibers like it would with other fabrics. 

For this reason, water-based inks are the most common for screen printing on nylon. This type of ink is generally easier to work with and it adheres well to nylon.


Choose the Proper Mesh Count

Another important factor to consider when screen printing on nylon is the mesh count of your pre-burned screen. A higher mesh count will give you finer details and sharper prints, but a lower mesh count will give you a thicker ink deposit. 

Luckily, when using a pre-burned mesh screen, your work becomes much simpler since you don’t have to use light exposure, washout, chemical cleaning, or emulsions to make your prints. Plus, given the precision of these types of screens, they make it possible to print gradients, half-tones, tiny fonts, and fine lines. But, you will need to choose the right mesh count for your chosen design.


Apply Ink Lightly

When you screen print on nylon, you want to use a soft hand and apply the ink lightly. Since nylon has a slick surface, the ink can easily slide around if too much pressure is applied. Make sure you apply the ink evenly and try to avoid overworking the fabric. 


Test the Print

Before you print the final design, it’s recommended to do a test print on a scrap piece of nylon so you can make any adjustments to the process if needed. Make sure you pull the nylon fabric taut and keep it free from any wrinkles to get the best results. Since the fabric can slip around easily, you might want to clamp or tape it down to make your job easier and more accurate. 

As you can see, screen printing on nylon can come with its own challenges, but there are ways to achieve high-quality prints on this versatile fabric. 

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