Printing with Metallic Inks

The Basics

In addition to your normally colored inks used for screen printing (base colors of cyan, magenta, yellow and black, along with many other in-betweeners), there are some cool ones you may not have heard of. If you want to give your shirt designs that extra "hmpf," you want to print metallic inks onto your shirt. Metallic inks look really cool and flashy...literally. The inks incorporate tiny flecks of metals in them; silver metallic inks use aluminum flecks, and so on. A while back, silver and gold were the only metallic ink options. However, in recent years metallic blues, purples, reds and others have made their way onto the scene. When the inks are infused with these metal flakes, they are printed with a remarkably shiny tint. This creates the effect of a sunlight glare, or that the ink is itself metal. An important thing to note is that the metal flakes are so small that you cannot see them. Instead, they are incredibly tiny and virtually blend with the ink. The only downside to metallic inks is that they are more expensive. This is because they take longer to prepare and dry, and easily bleed through and run off of shirts in the printing process. This extra charge accounts for the increased attention and manpower that metallic inks require.

Design Ideas

We have tons of products that would look fantastic with metallic ink printing on them. If you're looking to market your company, try mocking up a t-shirt design with your company name at the top, then your logo printed with metallic ink (double points if it's a lightning bolt) to catch everyone's eye. Another great place I've seen metallic inks used is on sports teams' custom design sweatpants. Tons of track and cross country teams make their team's logo stand out with metallic inks. And if you're getting sweatpants, don't forget to spice up your sweatshirt design with shimmery metallic inks to match your sweatpants! Your team will be decked out in the coolest, fastest-looking warm-ups at every competition.

Metallic inks are definitely eye-catching and creative. If you can muscle the extra fee (charged as two colors), you will be very satisfied.