Understanding the Basics of Puff Screen Printing

Bluecoat | The Art of Screenprint - 4 week courseScreen printing, also known as silk printing, has been a popular method to print logos, designs, and letters on fabrics, stickers, and other substrates. It has become so popular that various techniques of screen printing have emerged, each with its unique characteristic. One of such techniques is puff screen printing. Puff screen printing provides a 3D effect to the printed design, making the logo or design look more vivid and attractive. This article will guide you through the basics of Puff Screen Printing and how it works.


Puff Screen Printing is a relatively simple process compared to other screen printing techniques. The process involves using a special additive called puff ink, which swells up when heated, creating a raised, 3D texture on printed substrates. Puff inks are also known as Plastisol inks, a type of vibrant ink with added chemicals that are activated by heat.


The first step in Puff Screen Printing is to choose your design or artwork. The design should have large letters or areas to enhance the 3D effect of puff printing. Once you have the design ready, it’s time to prepare the screen. The screen should be coated with a layer of emulsion on the design area, and the design should be exposed to UV light through a high-resolution stencil on top of the screen.


After the screen is ready, the next step is printing. The puff ink is applied to the screen and evenly spread across the design area. Once done, the printer presses the substrate, which can be fabrics, stickers, or other such materials, onto the wet ink. The substrate must be pressed down evenly to ensure a uniform print. The ink is then cured, typically with a heat gun or commercial dryer, to activate the puffing effect.


The heat applied to activate the puffing effect often results in a slight change in the ink color. This is more evident with lighter inks. Therefore, it’s essential to test the ink on a similar material before starting the production run. Puff screen printing produces a thick and raised texture on the printed design, which can be up to 100 microns high, so it’s not suitable for very fine details.


Another factor to consider when puff printing is the choice of fabric. Puff printing works best on 100% cotton fabrics, but it can work on various other blends. However, the results might not be the same, so it’s essential to test before production. The thickness of the fabric can also affect the outcome of puff printing. Thicker and heavier fabric can withstand the heat for longer and produce a more defined and larger puff, while thinner fabrics produce a subtler effect.



Puff screen printing is an excellent technique to add dimension to your designs, logos or letters. This process can also complement and enhance any design with flat surfaces, gradients, or shading. However, it does require some extra testing, especially when working with new materials. We hope that our article has given you a good understanding of the basics of puff screen printing. With these tips, you’ll be able to produce a unique and eye-catching product. Lastly, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult with your local expert screen printer.