Platen Adhesive, Which to use ? - Screen Print Direct

Let’s take a minute and talk about platen adhesive. This supply is typically overlooked when selecting your core arsenal of products. When you look for an emulsion, it is specific to the job at hand and needs to work with your ink and exposure unit. When selecting a platen adhesive these variables do not need to be considered, however, there is still a choice to make. 

What is platen adhesive and why do you need it?

Platen adhesive is a tack/glue that is used to hold your garment in place on the press without leaving residue or permanently gluing the two together. This product is important to the printing process because it ensures your garment doesn't move on the press causing a blurry or uncentered image. 

When browsing for a platen adhesive there are a few things you need to consider. There are two options of adhesive, the difference is the application of the product. The first option is a water-based Elmer’s glue type of product that applies like a liquid glue. The second option is a tack in an aerosol spray can. I think it is safe to say most know that aerosol sprays are not good for the environment. If you weren’t aware of this before, well you learn something new every day ;) Check out this blog post on the hazards of aerosols. 

Aerosol Spray Platen Adhesive

Most people are still using aerosol platen adhesives. This is due to the ease of use. Spray and go, it is as simple as that. While it may seem like the convenient and easier option there are a few noteworthy drawbacks to the aerosol that may change your mind and encourage a permanent switch to a liquid glue.

Why we don’t recommend spray tack for screen printing:

  • Bad for the environment!
  • When printing you breathe in tiny airborne spray particles
  • Over spray makes a mess – glue will begin to build up on your press and other areas of your shop

(Pictured above is an example of platen adhesive build up due to aerosol)

Liquid Platen Adhesive:

This is the water-based adhesive alternative to aerosol. Screen Print Direct carries this product under the name Super Tack. This liquid is typically sold in a bottle with a push pull lid and the product has little to no smell. The application process is simple, pour out a small quarter size amount and spread it evenly over the pallet with any flat tool, i.e. credit card or business card. The beauty of this application process is the control. You dictate exactly where the glue is applied. No more glue build-up on your shop floor.

Why we love liquid platen adhesive:

  • Control the amount of glue on the platen and where it goes
  • No breathing in tiny spray particles
  • No sticky residue all over the shop
  • Environmentally friendly!

Platen Adhesive Application:

Aerosol: Shake the can and spray.

Water-Based: Open the bottle, pour a quarter size on your platen, and spread with a flat tool

*Note: Both aerosols should have a slightly tacky touch but should not be wet when beginning to print

What is your shop currently using? If it is an aerosol what are your hesitations in making the switch to a water-based adhesive?

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- SPD Crew!