Ink and washfastness
There are many types of ink on the market with different advantages and disadvantages. For the FabricZoom printer, we wanted an ink that was vibrant, washfast and also non-toxic, since this printer will be used in your studio or home. We chose Reactive Inks as the best balance of these factors: colors start vibrant and stay vibrant wash after wash, and the inks are both water-based and non-hazardous.
Reactive inks also have excellent handfeel compared to other inks and good lightfastness. Wash after wash, reactive inks simply last better than other methods of printing.
There’s a downside: reactive inks need fabric to be pre-treated before printing, and steamed afterwards to set the dye. There are many methods to pretreat fabric, and we’ll be releasing instructional videos for each. The easiest way is to soak the fabric in soda ash, which will be familiar to any tie-dyer. Silk can be soaked in vinegar, which is more gentle. There are also more modern pretreatment solutions that offer even more vibrant colors. FabricZoom also supplies our own, specially designed and tested pretreatment solutions. We also offer a Starter Kit that ships with everything you need to get printing quickly. Finally, pre-treated fabrics are also available for maximum convenience.
After printing, wrap the fabric in newspaper and steam to set – the colors in our ink brighten quite a bit just from the steaming! Reactive inks are more work than most dyes, but we’re confidant our customers will choose quality even if its more work.