Balloons with logos or pictures are eye catching and clever and often used as an advertisement medium. Machines that print on balloons are referred to as silk screen printers, because they transfer a design through silk mesh to a medium, such as a balloon.
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Silk Screen Printing
Silk screen printers uses a fine mesh of silk as a stencil. The stencil provides open places for the ink to move through the mesh, and when that stencil is pressed against the medium, it results in a clear print of the design. This method, simple and versatile, has been used for artistic printing for centuries.
Number of Colors
Depending on the machine, you may print a number of colours on a latex balloon. If all you need is a black slogan on a white balloon, a single stamp will do the job. Making a three-color picture design on a balloon of a mascot, such as a teddy bear hugging green and gold lettering, requires a separate print for each colour. More complex machines can do this automatically.
Designs printed on a balloon need to be sharp. As the balloon is inflated, the design gets bigger and loses clarity, similar to a photograph being enlarged. When you set your ink levels and create the stencil, the machine also sets how clear the print is. The clearer the print, the less distortion you'll get once it's blown up.
Machines that print on latex balloons can use a variety of inks in the process. Water-soluble inks are similar to those found in markers; they're cheap and easily washed. Permanent acrylic ink is more enduring and you can't simply wash it off, but it can crack and distort over time. Textile ink, which isn't typically used on balloons, adheres to fibres in fabric for fabric printing.
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