Five Steps: Create Memorable Commemorative Apparel

By mixing media – water-based ink and foil imprints – you can create a unique commemorative shirt.

Step 1

Know your demographic. For a commemorative fashion event, Rowboat Creative (asi/313715) chose a soft garment and a water-based printing technique to achieve a no-hand feel on the print. Joe Zangrilli, owner/head of production at Rowboat, used Rutland water-based inks and tinting system.

Step 2

Print quickly. With water-based production, you have to move fast. Ensure your screens are coated with a water-resistant emulsion so the screens don’t break down during production. Zangrilli’s pick: Kiwo Polycol Discharge Emulsion (with Diazo D additive).

Step 3

Add an accent. A plastisol foil adhesive is placed last in the production line to add the foil accents in the jewelry and overall design. (Heat-transfer foil won’t stick to water-based ink.) Zangrilli’s pick: International Coatings Plastisol Foil Adhesive 3801.

Step 4

Flash cure. Place a flash just before the foil adhesive screen in your production line to ensure the water-based ink isn’t further muted during production. This will also help prevent the plastisol adhesive and water-based ink from contaminating each other.

Step 5

Apply foil. Gold heat-transfer foil was applied using a pneumatic semi-auto heat press. The foil is pre-cut to the proper imprint size and laid on top of the imprint area. The foil is pressed for 10 seconds at 330 degrees Fahrenheit with medium pressure.


Keep a spray bottle of water to mist the print area of the screen in the event of a production pause. Have spare garments on hand to keep the screens printing while you address any production pauses or related issues. This will help with keeping the screens open and unclogged.