Mixing custom colors is one offering that many screen printers strive for. Instead of only being able to print spot colors, they can mix any Pantone color the customer wants or their brand calls for. With the FN-INK Mixing System, it’s easy to follow the directions with inks already on the printer’s shelf. One popular color to mix is Warm Gray 1. Here’s how to mix it with the FN-INK Mixing System.
STEP 1: LOCATE THE COLOR IN THE FN-INK MIXING SYSTEM
First, head to fn.ink to find the mixing system. Type in “Warm Gray 1” or scroll to find it in the list of potential Pantone colors to mix. Most gray colors are a mix of black and white. Others, like Cool Gray 6, actually have a bit more color in them.
Warm Gray 1 has some unexpected colors needed for the mix: Mixing White, Royal Blue, Fuchsia, Golden Yellow, and Violet. The final mixed color will appear as the color of the lightning bolt on the software page. Don’t like it? Play around with Pantones until the color looks just right.
Pro Tip: When comparing Pantone colors on a screen versus the Pantone book, the color on the screen may look different because of screen quality, color, and more. It’s best to have a Pantone book on hand to see the true color of the mixed ink, and to mix ink in a bright space.
Adjust the formula for the size of the batch the print calls for. The base amount that the formula is set at is 100 grams. That’s a good number for a test or small batch. Mixing a test batch is always a good idea to save on ink and make sure the color shows on the shirt as expected.
Next, grab a scale, a mixing container, and an ink spatula. Place the container on the scale and zero out the scale. It’s time to start mixing Warm Gray 1.
STEP 2: FOLLOW THE RECIPE
Add the largest amount of color first. In this case, that’s Mixing White. Zero out the scale once the correct amount of ink has been added. Always add ink colors into the mix in descending order: the largest amount of ink to the smallest.
The next largest amount of ink needed to mix is Royal Blue. Add the ink to the side of the container. That way you can remove some easily if needed. Zero out the scale again.
Mix the ink well, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides to include as much ink in the mix as possible. Now it’s time to check the ink for a color shift on the press.
STEP 3: CHECK FOR COLOR SHIFT
Depending on the lighting in the ink mixing space, the color of the shirts, or the translucency of the ink, the color might not look right from the ink container to a shirt. This is why it’s recommended to mix a small batch first to test.
Again, always mix inks in a brightly-lit area. If you’re comparing a mixed PMS color to a swatch off your phone or computer screen, the mixed color may look different than the swatch depending on your screen settings.
A color shift can happen if translucent ink is printed onto a dark garment, like Magenta screen printing ink on a black shirt. This can be helped by first printing an underbase or adjusting the ink color before it’s printed. Another way to minimize color shift is to flash each ink layer. This takes a bit of extra time, but the ink colors will stay closer to your expectations.
Still not happy with the color? Choose the Pantone color a shade darker in your Pantone book to make the color a little richer in saturation. Mix that color up and try again. Testing is vital to make sure the ink turns out just right when it’s time to print on a t-shirt.
Mixing up Pantone inks can be a lot of fun. It’s a good idea to keep a bucket of a popular gray it on the shelf to skip mixing it up every time. With the FN-INK Mixing System, printers can mix any color of the rainbow. Even gray.