In the garment printing process, we use a lot of terms that may be unfamiliar to people that don’t have the machine access that Atlas Embroidery and Screen Printing does. This article explains why the under-base process would be used, and why flashing is needed in the process.

What is Underbase? When we are printing on garments, a white under base is separate from a flash. A white under base is a base of white ink that is laid on the shirt before applying the other ink colors on top. This is similar to painting a primer coat on a wall before you paint it the final color. The white under base helps the colored inks appear more vibrantly. By starting on a “blank canvas” the true hue and tone of the colored ink will have a better result.

A white under base is considered an additional color because it needs a Set Up (Film & Screen). It is considered an additional color in the Run Charges, as well. Flashing is completely separate, but it will always be included when you print on any color garment that isn’t white.

What is Flashing? After we print the under base, a flash is needed to dry the ink. A flash is actually a “flash of heat” that is used in between printing stages to quickly dry the inks while the shirt is still on the pallet.

We use the heat flash so that we don’t have to pull the shirts off of the pallets to dry before applying a new ink color on top. If we were to pull the shirts off the pallet in the middle of printing, it would lead to designs being printed off register, since the shirts are loaded manually onto the pallets for printing.

Here is a quick step-by-step breakdown to help you visualize what the difference is:

  1. The colored garment is laid down on the pallet for printing
  2. We print a white under base
  3. We flash the garment (quickly drying the white base in a matter of seconds)
  4. We lay the actual ink colors to be printed
  5. The shirt is pulled off the pallet
  6. The shirt is run through the dryer, to finish the garment
  7. The shirt comes out of the dryer and it’s ready to be packed

*Oftentimes, we have to flash the garment more than once to dry it, depending on the amount of colors to be printed and/or the technicality of the design. However, we only charge 1 flash per location, regardless of how many colors there are in that specific location.

How to order garments with under base: The white under base is listed on our Contract Price Sheet, linked at our site for your convenience. 

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