Problems with inkjet silk
  • Hello. For many years I had fabulous results with the inkjet silk. Then all of a sudden, about a year ago, maybe longer, my prints started coming out fuzzy, NOTHING like they had been turning out previously. This is on an older HP 7350. I have been so sold on this printer however, that I continue to get them through eBAY as it is a work horse and pulls my heavy weight greeting cards through like a champ. The silk has become an issue however. I contacted Jacquard and the owner contacted me and told me that the silk indeed had changed. He recommended I use the silk on the larger bolts, cut down to printer size, as that was the original silk. It has taken me some time to start experimenting as he called me over 6 months ago. (Where does the time fly?) Unfortunately the results are the same. I even took the silk into Office Max yesterday and tried printing on 2 separate printers: and HP 7520 and an Epson, Artisan. Both came out blurry, not in any way usable. Obviously I am doing something very wrong as how can this be possible? All of you are having excellent success, correct? The settings are set to best; paper has been set to automatic, matte, gloss, different settings to no avail. I am feeling like I will never be able to print my beautiful silk prints again. ANY HELP ON THIS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
  • This sounds very frustrating. I'll do my best to help!
    It is true that we changed the coating on the Inkjet Silk (not the silk fabric itself) about a year ago. In most cases, this has been a positive change and most folks are having better results. However, if you were having better results with the old coating, luckily you can still get it (only in large format however, so you will have to cut it to size). Call Jacquard Inkjet Fabric Systems (707-473-9080) and let them know what you need and they will take care of you. (The coating is called FabriSign. Explain that you need the old version and make sure they understand what you mean, as we produce many different coatings/fabrics).
    All that said, I think we can address this problem from a differnt angle. The fact of the matter is that practically every printer on the market uses differnt types of ink. This explains all the varried results people get using the same fabric. If you are using an HP desktop printer, your ink is probably dye-based (as opposed to pigment-based). Dye-based inks are more prone to bleeding. Usually you can fix the "blurriness" of your prints by reducing the amount of ink the printer deposits. This is usually done by adjusting the printer settings. You say you set your printer to "best." This is the setting that will deposit the most ink. I recommend trying a differnt, "lesser" setting, such as "draft." This could do the trick. It sounds to me like you are just putting on too much ink. If you can figure out how to back it off, you might be in business.
    Another route to go would be to switch to a pigment ink system...
    One nice thing about dye-based inks though is that you can set your prints in steam for permanence. Steam setting your prints will make them "commercial" grade (meaning they will be more permanent, washable and therefore sellable). Steaming will also make your colors brighter and more vibrant. Further more, once set, you can rinse out the excess dye in the fabric, and this will result in a crisper, sharper image... Are you familiar with the steaming process? Here is a link that will get you started: Top Steaming Instructions.pdf
    To begin, I would do a test: make a print, cut it in half, steam set one of the halves on the stove top, and then compare it to the other half. If it looks brighter, sharper, and if it stands up to washing better, you are using dye inks and will probably want to start steaming all your prints. That or change inks/printers...
    I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you continue to have issues and if you need any more help!
  • I so appreciate you taking the time to write. I was aware of the FabriSign bolts which I have cut down to printer size; I referred to them in my initial post. You mentioned that I should be sure to request the OLD VERSION of the Fabrisign. Does this mean that there are two versions of bolts? I purchased these last samplers through Dharma Trading Company and perhaps their Fabrisign bolts are the new? This could definitely be the problem if there are new version bolts and old version bolts. Please let me know.

    I did try to print with much less ink, on normal and fast normal. It is still blurry on the HP. My other printer is a Kodak which I believe is pigment based and not a great printer. I can get the clarity with that printer on a normal setting but the color is not rich like the dye-based.

    I have not tried steaming for many years. It was quite a source of frustration as I steamed a few of my batiks and the dyes ran after the wax melted. I ruined every one of them and am quite gun-shy. Too hot I guess, but I have never tried again. Call me chicken! But I could definitely try steaming all the blown silks I have. I have hated to throw them out so maybe they can become a learning experience.

    Anyway, thanks again for your time and please let me know about the versions of the bolts.

  • Hi Alexa,
    Yes, there are two different FabriSign coatings: one is called FabriSign and the other, newer one is called FabriSign Two Plus. If you still have the box your bolt came in, it will say which coating you have. I suspect it is the newer one. Again, I'd call Inkjet Fabric Systems to make sure you get what you need.
    Dye-based inkjet inks will almost always produce brighter and richer colors than pigment inks. But, as you know, dye systems can be much more challenging to work with. I would encourage you to continue experimenting with your printer settings and with steaming and with the different coatings... If you are attached to printing with dyes, you might also consider trying differnt printers and inks... But I'd start with getting your hands on some silk with the original coating, as it sounds like that worked well for you!
    Good luck!
  • My silk bolts are FabriSign #2. I will call Jacquard tomorrow or Monday to order. I am excited that there may be a solution!!