Why am I experiencing dye migration when screen printing?

There are three conditions which trigger dye migration and lead to white ink with a tinted version of the synthetic garment color.

These are sublimation, solvation, and cross migration. Sublimation occurs when excess time or temperature cause the dye to turn to gas, at which point the gas may migrate to the surface of the print. Interface migration occurs when the liquids in the ink put the dye stuff into solution and, again, migration to the surface becomes a possibility. The third and most nefarious type of migration occurs when the dye-laden fibers on the surface cause migration at the surface. Avoid additives in the white ink, which may trigger bleeding. Also, be wary of using the same additive in an overprint color on top of a white underbase. In this case, the plasticizer in the reducer may migrate into the underbase and cause bleeding on the overprint color while the white does not show migration.

—Synergy Inks

Joe Clarke

Joe Clarke has spent the past 47 years in the lab and in the engineering department, in pre-press and on-press, as an R&D / technical researcher and as a manager of screen print production. Clarke has held executive positions as President of M&R Printing Equipment and as Vice-President at Wilflex [Poly One]. He has been granted a growing number of print-related patents, including one for High-Shear printing with Smilin'Jack - he is a member of the ASDPT, is an Associate Editor for NBM and an SGIA Fellow. Clarke has presented hundreds of technical papers, written a couple books and published over 600 technical / management articles for which he has been awarded five Swormstedts; the international standard for excellence in technical writing. Currently Joe Clarke is the President of CPR, a Chicago-based corporation which manufactures Synergy Inks including NexGen; environmentally & financially responsible T-Shirt inks. For more information on CPR, visit

Related Articles

Back to top button