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Do I need to coat printed fabrics?

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Finishes and coatings on printed fabric are dependent upon the material chosen and specified end use. Some fabrics come with a pre-coating to make the ink adhere better to the material or meet flame-retardant regulations in indoor settings. “Post treating printed fabrics is not necessary unless added protection is desired,” says Mike Richardson of Aurora Specialty Textiles Group Inc. “For example, a liquid lamination can be applied to our canvas to increase protection against fingerprints or smudges. Some direct print dye sub printers will wash the graphics to remove any ink which did not sublimate fully.”

According to Eric Tischer of Verseidag Seemee US, fabrics printed using solvent, aqueous and direct dye sublimation inks require an ink-receptive top coating to hold the inks and therefore offer optimum print characteristics, while textiles produced through transfer sublimation or using UV-curable inks do not. A knowledgeable manufacturer or supplier of fabrics or printers will be able to help fabricators determine when a surface treatment
is necessary.

Holly O’Dell is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Fabric Graphics. She splits time between home bases in Pine City, Minn., and Joshua Tree, Calif.

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