Frequently Asked Questions
Wicked Printing Stuff are committed to offering the highest level of customer care. Should you experience any problems please contact us by phone or email to ensure that we can address any issues that you may have, as quickly as possible. Wicked Printing Stuff is owned by Screen Inks and Solvents Supplies Ltd (SISS) the largest independent supplier to the UK Screen Printing industry. To view the answers to our FAQs, please click on the questions below.
Products, Orders and Screen Printing Questions
We have listed some of the product and screen printing questions we are asked the most about. If you have time we would recommend reading our buyers guide, downloadable directly from our website that takes you through each product range in more detail.
We realise that if you are new to the industry you probably have many questions that need answering. Below are some frequently asked questions. You might want to take a quick look at a simple article initially put together for an industry magazine. If your question isn't answered by the following, please email us at email@example.com.
A: Is the full range of screen printing products available to buy online?
We are continually adding new products and ranges to the website and we aim to stock all of the available screen printing products online. Currently we stock over 2,000 products online, and although this is not the full range, we constantly update the website. However if you cannot find something you are looking for please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0161 442 6555.
A: Will the product be the exact colour shown on the website?
We've done our very best to accurately represent the colours of all the products on our website. In fact, we've had some of the ink range professionally photographed to ensure you get the best idea of what they look like, since the usual swatches don't tend to do them justice. That said, it's important to realise that different computer screens display colours slightly differently, so some changes are impossible to avoid.
A: I'm looking to buy small quantities of ink to try out the colours, can I do this?
Yes, most of our inks are available to purchase in 500ml pots and in some cases 250ml. So you do not have to buy large quantities until you are sure on what you want.
A: What types of inks do you sell?
We sell a wide range of Plastisol, Waterbased and Solvent based Inks and Additives. We are an official distributor of the largest global ink manufacturer FujiFilm Sericol, we are also distributors of Magna Colour inks, Nazdar and stockists of Union and Rutland inks. As well as the Permaset and Permaprint range.
We also offer a variety of WPS own brand Plastisol inks and solvent free air dry waterbased inks, widely used in schools and colleges, perfect for printing onto fabric as well as paper and card.
A: Can I order by telephone?
Yes - call our Customer Care team on 0161 442 6555. Lines are open Mon-Fri 9am-5.00pm. Please have ready the name of the product and QR Code you'd like to buy, along with your credit or debit card details. Please note that we can't take payments via PayPal over the phone.
A: Do you offer trade accounts?
We do offer online trade accounts both for UK, EU businesses and Educational establishments, credit terms are subject to credit status - please contact us for further information. We also offer bulk discounts for large purchases. If you are outside of the UK but registered for VAT in an EU country, send us your VAT number and we can set your online account to automatically exclude VAT on checkout.
A: I have completed my order, what happens next?
Within half an hour of completing your order, you should receive an automated order confirmation email from us with the details of your order. You will receive another email to let you know when your order has been despatched from our warehouse. If for any reason you do not receive either of these emails please do not hesitate to contact us on 0161 442 6555.
A: How can I cancel or make changes to my order?
If you wish to change or cancel your order for any reason please contact our Customer Service Team as soon as possible on 0161 442 6555 (Mon-Fri 9am-5:00pm). We'll do everything we can to help, but please be aware that items are often despatched within a few hours of receiving your order, so it may not be possible. In these cases it may be possible to return the items for a full refund. Please read the terms page for further information.
A: Do you deliver internationally?
Yes, we deliver throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and America. For further details please read our 'international delivery' page.
A: What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept the following methods of payment:
Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Switch. We are only able to accept card payments over the phone where the delivery and billing address match. Please note that we do not keep your card details.
We also accept PayPal, Cheques, Postal Orders and Direct Bank Transfers (Sterling and Euros).
A: Do prices include VAT?
Prices in our catalogue are all Ex Vat. Online, all prices are shown in sterling and show both an ex VAT and incl VAT price.
A: Do you accept payments by Purchase Order?
Yes, for schools, colleges and trade account customers we do offer payments via purchase order. When raising purchasing orders please state the QR code on the order, and if ordering screens please add the Mesh Count you require.
A: I have a Promotional Code, when do I enter this?
If you have a promotional code please enter this in the box at the initial checkout page.
A: Is your website secure?
A: Can WPS Gift Vouchers be used if I place my order Online?
At the moment Gift Vouchers can only be used when placing your order over the phone or in person. We are working on getting online gift vouchers up and running in 2014.
A: What happens if I don't spend all of a Gift Voucher?
Any balance remaining is retained as credit and can be used for future orders. Gift Vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue.
A: What happens if my order amounts to more than my gift voucher?
If your order is more than the total of your gift voucher, you will be given the option to pay for the remaining amount for your order using a credit/debit card or PayPal account.
A: Are WPS gift vouchers refundable?
WPS Gift Vouchers are non-refundable and non-transferable.
A: Can I return items bought with a Gift Voucher?
Of course. Exchanges are issued as normal, and refunds are given in the form of a voucher.
A: Where do you deliver?
All our products are available for delivery within the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and America . Delivery vary for certain areas - please see Delivery Information for full details. Please note there are higher delivery charges for the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
A: What delivery options are available?
Delivery options include Standard (please note this option is not available for large/heavy orders), Next Working Day, Saturday delivery and a free Click and Collect service.
For more information on these please visit our Delivery Info page.
A: Is it possible to track my order?
Next Working Day deliveries and any other deliveries sent by our courier service can be tracked through the link on your despatch email.
A: I have placed my order after 2pm and selected Next Working Day delivery, when will it arrive?
As the cut-off time for our Next Working Day deliveries is 2pm, any orders placed after this time will be picked and packed on the following working day and delivered the working day after that. For example if you placed your order at 4pm on Wednesday, it would be delivered on Friday.
A: How long does it take for my Click & Collect order to be available for collection?
If the item is in stock, Click and Collect orders are available for collection at Stockport but please contact us first - see our contacts page for details .
A: I have changed my mind, how long do I have to return my order?
Providing you contact us within 7 days of receiving your order, and your products are in a resalable condition, we will happily process a full refund or exchange for you. This does not apply for larger built to order items, for more information please read our Terms page.
A: My order has arrived damaged, who do I contact?
Our warehouse do try to pack all orders as well as possible but occasionally some products can get damaged during delivery. Please contact us by phone on: 0161 442 6555 within 3 days and we can replace damaged products as soon as possible.
To minimise any delay and inconvenience to you and in order for us to assess the extent of the damage, we will need a photo of the damaged item showing its condition when you received it. If it is clear from this that the damaged item cannot be salvaged (for example, inks and chemicals) we will happily replace the item. Where only a portion of the item cannot be salvaged, we will either issue a credit note for the portion or replace the portion if significant enough.
A: How long does it take to process a return?
Please allow up to 28 days from the day we receive the returned goods for your refund to be processed.
A: How will my order be packaged?
It is important to us that you receive your products in perfect condition so you can use them as soon as you get them out of the box, so our warehouse take great care in wrapping your products well enough so that they are protected, but without having surplus packaging material.
A: If I'm ordering a gift, can it be delivered to an address which is not my billing address?
Unfortunately this isn't possible if you are a new customer. Part of our security measures are to only deliver the goods to the address of the person paying for the goods.
A: What are your full Terms and Conditions?
Please refer to the Terms page on our website
A: Do you have safety information available ?
Yes, we list all of our product data safety sheets online under the following link.
A: When I buy a kit, will I receive instructions?
When a kit is purchased, upon delivery, you will also receive an email with a Step by Step guide, alignment instructions for your press and also assembly instructions (For our 2,4 or 6 Colour Carousels).
A: How many shirts can I print with one litre of ink?
Depending on how big the design is, anywhere from 250 - 500. If you are printing a white design onto a dark shirt the design typically has to be printed, flash dried, and then printed again so you are going to use close to twice the amount of ink for that type of print.
A: Will my t-shirts look like professionally screened shirts as seen in a store?
All the supplies sold by us are professional supplies. There is no reason why your print should not look professional, however it does take practice if you are new to screen printing.
A: How is the design transferred to the screen?
You need to follow the 'exposing process'. Firstly you need to make your artwork positive, then coat your screen with emulsion. Once that is done you are ready to expose your artwork onto the screen using an exposure lamp or unit. We find that this can be the most tricky part of the screen printing process. For more details check out our buyers guide and YouTube videos.
A: Is it worth my money?
Yes, we have MANY customers who have started out with small kits and have made several thousands, growing into a well established business. But, it all depends on you. Screen printing doesn't make you money if you don't screen print and have the work to screen print. If you do the work it is a very lucrative business to be in. Not to mention creative and fun.
A: The Images on my screens are not washing out correctly, why - its worth having a read of our blog article regarding exposure issues in the first instance
This can be for a number of reasons, here are a few things to watch out for:
- That you are doing all parts of the emulsion and exposure process in a light safe environment with NO outside or bright light. This includes mixing your emulsion, coating your screens, drying screens, exposure, and washout.
- That you are not coating your emulsion too thick. One coat both sides should do it, with a nice even spread. There are sometimes where you may need some extra coats e.g. printing transfers and printing white onto a dark garment but you will need to adjust the exposure time.
- That your film positive is very opaque and dark. If you hold it up to a light and can see through it, you need to double print your film to achieve a more opaque image or consider the Blacquer ink system which uses a standard Epson 1500W inkjet printer.
- That there is positive contact between your screen mesh and your positive film. If the film is not pressed completely against your mesh then you will get light reflection between your positive and your screen which will result in a blurry and not clear image. That's why the glass is so important.
- That you are exposing your screen for the correct amount of time, which will depend on the exposure system you are using. If you are unclear on exposure times please feel free to ask us. The simple run of thumb is - if the emulsions washes off too easily and you start to lose the stencil then the screen is underexposed and if after prolonged washing the stencil does not come through they you are likely to have overexposed the screen.
A: The Ink is not giving a 100% coverage over my print?
Check that you have the proper off contact for the job at hand and that the screen is parallel to the platen. Typically you want your screen to be about 2 pennies or an eighth of an inch off your application. If that is ok, assess the squeegee you are using - is it too soft for the ink type and mesh count too high? Plus always remember to flood the image before you print.
A: The ink seems too thick.
If your ink is too thick or you are having problems with it passing through your screen, you can thin the ink down (always give the ink a good stir first as sometimes that will loosen the ink making easier to print). However the problem with some inks is that because of the pigment content needed in them to appear opaque on a garment it NEEDS to be thick. If you are having problems with general Plastisol ink this can be thinned down using curable reducer. This will not affect the quality or the curability of the ink (if you keep with the recommended ratio) but gives it a softer hand and makes it easier to pass through a higher mesh count. If too much is mixed in, the ink will become too runny and no longer work.
A: When I print my shirt, some of the ink pulls back up with the screen.
This could be caused by a couple of things. When you pull your squeegee remember to push down firmly (but not enough to bend the rubber blade) and your motion is smooth. This ensures that the proper amount of ink needed for your image is deposited onto your shirt. Also make sure your mesh count and squeegee is the right one for the job. If your screen mesh is too high, this would cause less ink to pass through, but the printer will be trying to push it through, thus blurring out the image. Make sure that garment is tacked down well on the platen.
A: When I print my shirt, my image seems to be a little blurry.
Again this can be caused by a number of things:
- Are the screens tight in their clamps and the micro registration tightened? As you print the force will alter your screen's position on the print surface. So, if the clamps holding your screens are loose then your print will be out of registration. This would especially be true on 1 colour prints.
- Are the platens secured to the press and have you applied a good amount of tak to hold the garment in place.
- If you are using a flash, and after your second pull or colour it is burring, then the flash could be shrinking the shirt, thus distorting your print. Also if you flash for two long between colours you will start to cure the ink which can result in blurred / poor print quality.
- Has your screen mesh lost it tightness? The screen needs to be tight so that your image is tight. Time to restretch.
- Is your mesh count and squeegee right? It can be surprising how much of a difference this can make when printing.
A: After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.
This means that you have not cured your garment correctly. Plastisol inks need to be heated to a pre-determined temperature for a certain duration of time, usually somewhere between 45-60 seconds. This would be to either to flash dry or to use a conveyor dryer. Different inks, or special garments may need their timing fine tuned. The temperature and times will vary some job to job, so always do a wash test. A great way to test to see if the ink is cured or not is to pull on the t-shirt. If the ink sticks together like plastic or rubber, then it is cured. However if it cracks and you can see the t-shirt under it, you need to increase your curing time.
A: How important is it to degrease the screen?
It is very important to degrease the screen prior to coating the screen with emulsion and exposing the artwork. A screen that is not degreased will have problems exposing and increase the chance of pinholes, the emulsion will not adhere to the screen properly and might washout before the image can be seen. The emulsion could also not wash out at all. We highly suggest that you read our blog article.
A: What inks do you sell and what are the differences between them?
Plastisol inks are most commonly used in screen printing because they are not 'air-dry' inks and when producing longer print runs they will not dry up on the screen. There is more choice when choosing your Plastisol inks, more colours and also additives that can be added to your Plastisol ink to produce special effects such as puffer/expanding (raised) effect, suede effect, lycra additive, glitters and also metallic's.
Plastisol inks MUST be fully heat cured before washing to avoid the print coming off in the wash. Plastisol inks wrap around the fibres in the fabric, sitting on top of the fabric producing a more 'dense' appearance and have a rubbery feel to them. You can change the appearance and feel of the Plastisol ink by using an extender base or a super smooth base so as it feels and looks like the water based ink or sublimation ink. Plastisol inks cannot be ironed directly over, due to the plasticiser in the ink. Plastisol inks must be cured at a temperature of 150degreesC or more (For more information about curing Plastisol inks, please see 'Curing your print').
For further information on Plastisol inks please click here to open our factsheet.
The waterbased ink is like a dye that changes the colour of the fabric and has a sublimation appearance. Waterbased inks have a softer feel as the ink dyes the fabric as opposed to 'sitting on top' of the fibres, has an almost non-existent feel to it. Waterbased inks are widely used in schools and colleges and also on babies clothing as are economical. One important factor you must remember, if you are printing an all-over print on to a garment that needs to be ironed such as a cotton shirt then a water based ink would be more suitable as you can iron over the print.
When printing breast size logos (9cm x 9xm approx), waterbased or Plastisol can be used but you cannot iron directly over a Plastisol print as it will re-melt the Plastisol and smudge. Water based ink can be printed onto dark colours with high opaque white ink, however the other standard colours will need a white underbase printed down first. When you are printing with Waterbased inks don't let the ink dry in the screens it can block the stencil.
Only you will know what sort of design work, images (large/small) you will be printing and designing, this can determine which one of the two to use.
A: What is the difference between the mesh counts (different meshes) on the screens?
A lower number means a coarser mesh count, a higher number means a finer mesh count. You will need to select the correct mesh count for the artwork you have produced. 43T is used most commonly for general textile printing. Please note that we use the European system therefore mesh counts is threads per cm, sometimes you may see the American system being used which is threads per inch.
Read our online buyers guide - page 15 for a breakdown of each count and their ideal use.
For additional Mesh Guidelines please Click here to open the document.
A: What is the difference between Yellow and White mesh?
Generally speaking there is very little difference in the performance of the mesh unless you are using 90T upwards. Yellow mesh absorbs more light and stops light scattering, this helps expose those very fine lines and intricate details. We use Italian mesh yellow and white, they are great for fine halftones with high resolution and has the greatest possible exposure latitude with unsurpassed protection against light-undercutting.
A: What is the shelf life of the emulsion?
Most of the emulsions we sell are a is a 2-Part emulsion. PRE-Sensitized, the emulsion can last between 12-24 months. Once sensitised, the emulsion can last between 6-8 weeks (shelf life is different for emulsions). You can mix only half the emulsion with half of the sensitizer, only mix what you require to prolong the shelf life of the emulsion. Always make sure you have chosen the right emulsion if you are using Plastisol inks / Solvent inks you need a Solvent resistant emulsion like Ulano Proclaim or if you are using Waterbased inks you need a water resistant emulsion like Ulano 925wr. We also sell capillary film (paper impregnated with emulsion) which is great for infrequent printers and now we sell Ulano EC pre-sensitised emulsion which lasts of 18 months.
We also sell Autosol emulsion, which is a good dual purpose emulsion, it can be used with both waterbased and solvent inks. If you would like to know more about which emulsion to choose then please take a look at our blog.
For more guidelines regarding mixing emulsion click here to open the document.
A: How long will it take to expose my screen?
Using our 1000watt halogen exposure unit setup, it will take 20 minutes to expose your screen, with the unit set at the minimum distance (light to screen). For different exposure units and bulbs types the timings are likely to be different so check with the manufacturers guidelines. If you are using a home made exposure unit or a manufactured unit you can use an Exposure Calculator to work out the correct timings.
For more exposure guidelines please click here to open the document.
A: How can I get rid of Pinholes?
Please read the Exposure troubleshooting guide on our blog in the first instance. Make sure that when you add sensitiser to the emulsion that you have mixed it in so all of the sensitiser is completed dissolved. Make sure you have degreased your screen before you coat with emulsion, if you leave screens around without sealing them it's surprising how much dust there is. Make sure the glass on your exposure unit is clean - dust gets every where! If you do find pinholes then you can either cover them up with tape or you use a screen filler which you can apply with a brush to cover the hole. Make sure you use solvent resistant fillers with plastisol and solvent inks, use water resistant screen filler when using waterbased inks.
A: What is the difference between a Square cut squeegee and a 'D' (aka 'V') cut squeegee?
'D' Cut Squeegees are used for T-Shirt printing, the tapered edge allows maximum ink deposit onto your garment. Square edge blade allows for lesser deposit of ink and is used widely on higher mesh counts and finer prints.If in doubt always go for a square cut, generally speaking square cut squeegees are a little more forgiving and manageable than a V cut.
A: What are Discharge inks?
Discharge inks are used to print light colours onto dark fabrics. During the curing phase the ink, in conjunction with an activator, removes the original dye (colour) from the garment and replaces it with the colour (pigment) from the ink during from the ink. This results in a soft printed texture in the finished garment.
You do need as a minimum a heat press or a tunnel dryer (the longer the better) for curing. We sell Magna ECO friendly inks including ULF which is Soil Association Approved which gives a great print, we also sell the unique Magna Plasticharge system which allows you to use a discharge version of Plastisol which gives fantastic soft but opaque prints.
A: What kind of electrical connections are required for WPS Dryers?
The Mini, 700 and 700L series are available in both Single and Three Phase. The larger 8000 series dryers are Three Phase only. Please click here to see the requirements document.