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Derivan Screen Ink

Derivan Screen Ink is a totally water-based silk screen printing ink.



Derivan Screen Ink has been formulated as a safe, non-toxic silk screen printing ink for fabric and Tie Dyeing. It can be used in the classroom or at home safely without the worry of being exposed to harmful solvents such as white spirits, turps or thinners. Derivan Screen Ink is water-based and washes up in water (before it is heat set) but has excellent rub resistance and lightfastness once heat set.


Derivan Screen Ink photo 1


Colour Mixing

All the colours may be intermixed to form bright secondary and tertiary colours. White (Opaque) may be mixed if pale pastel opaque prints are desired on dark coloured fabrics.

Screen Reducer

This is a thick milky coloured paste which dries colourless and transparent. It is used for intermixing with standard printing colours in order to extend deep colours into pale or lighter transparent shades (Red into transparent pink, etc.). Mainly for White or pale fabrics.


Clean Up

Wash all utensils, brushes and hands with soap and water to clean up.

Silk Screen System

It is important to make sure the silk screen blockout or stencil system that is to be used is compatible with water-based products (some are completely resistant to many solvents but water will destroy them).

Mesh Size

Generally speaking, the best mesh size for fabric printing is 10T to 25T (monofilament). A coarser mesh screen is required for fabric than for paper; more ink is required as fabric tends to be more absorbent.

Choice of fabrics

Best results are obtained from absorbent fabrics; avoid waterproof fabrics as they tend to inhibit penetration and repel the water-based colours.

Fabrics containing starch, size, fillers, softeners or crease-proof treatments should be washed prior to printing. Fabrics containing waterproofing treatments may not accept the paints and may result in mottling, poor colour adhesion or patchy printing and may not remain washproof.

Heat fixing prints

It is necessary to heat fix the image if it is to be washproof. Heat fixing can take many forms. The main points to be observed are:

  • The image must be air dried before it is heat fixed.
  • Ensure the heat is applied evenly over the image.
  • Ensure the heat is applied continuously for the required time over the image.

  • Be sure not to scorch or burn the image or garment.
  • Any type of heat can be used. Heat tunnels, ovens, even the humble household iron can all be used. If using contact heat (for instance an iron), use a tea towel or another piece of cotton cloth over the image to iron on. Do not iron directly over the print.

Heat fixing times and temperatures vary. However, a guide is as follows:

Cotton, calico, linen, rayon - 4-5 mins at 140-180°C

Synthetics, nylon, polyester, tetron, acrylic - 5-8 mins at 115-130°c.

Important projects warrant testing to determine maximum temperature to make image fast and avoid scorching.

Test by heat-fixing a test strip and washing in a heavy duty cycle.


Tie Dyeing

Derivan Screen Ink is also the perfect choice to create wonderful patterns using the Tie Dye technique. Just follow the simple steps below.

Add 1 heaped teaspoon of table salt to a 250ml of Screen Ink of a colour of your choice and stir - it takes quite a bit of stirring - the mixture should become as thin as water - which is great for painting on fabric. Of course to dye with, you will need to add water, how much water will depend on the choice of colour you are using and how strong you want it to be, start with 1 part of mixed Screen Ink to 10 parts water for a strong dye colour - or reduce the colour strength as desired by adding more water.
Once it is heat fixed (as per instructions above) it will last longer than the fabric it is put on!

(NB this process does not work with White or Fluro colours)


tie dye 1
tie dye 2

tie dye 3

1. Add teaspoon of salt.
2. Stir for a few minutes.
3. Consistency should be like water.