Digital textile printing started in the late 1980s as a possible replacement for analog screen printing. With the development of a dye-sublimation printer in the early 1990s, it became possible to print with low energy sublimation inks and high energy disperse direct inks directly onto textile media, as opposed to print dye-sublimation inks on a transfer paper and, in a separate process using a heat press, transfer it to the fabric. There are two types of digital printing: Direct Print Discharge Print Resist Print Pigment Print Specialty Print.
Polyester fabric is printed mostly with dye-sub or disperses direct ink, although UV and solvent inks can also be used. The great benefit of sublimation ink is the fact that the colorants will bond with the fiber during sublimation or fixation. The colours are ‘inside’ the media and don’t stay within the coating and on top of the media, as it is the case with UV-curable formulations.
Dyeing is the process of adding color to textile products like fibers, yarns, and fabrics. Dyeing is normally done in a special solution containing dyes and particular chemical material. After dyeing, dye molecules have uncut chemical bond with fiber molecules. The temperature and time controlling are two key factors in dyeing.
There are mainly two classes of dye, natural and man-made. Dyes are applied to textile goods by dyeing from dye solutions and by printing from dye pastes. Methods include direct application and yarn dyeing.
A variety of dyes can be used in tie-dyeing, including household, fiber reactive, acid, and vat dyes. Most early (1960s) tie-dyes were made with retail household dyes, particularly those made by Rit. In order to be effective on different fibers, these dyes are composed of several different dyes, and thus are less effective, and more likely to bleed and fade, than pure dyes designed for specific fibers.