How to Print Environmentally Friendly: Interview with Permaset / Colormaker Industries

How to Print Environmentally Friendly: Interview with Permaset / Colormaker Industries

Permaset produce eco friendly water based inks/ paints for screen printing, block printing and hand printing. In part two of our chat with Wendy and David from Permaset, we take a look at their environmental credentials and the work they do for environmental campaigns.


Your inks are eco-friendly and water based. Can you tell us more about these features?

Our water based inks do not contain toxic chemicals, which is safer for the user and safer for our envionment. Most commercial screen printers print garments using plastisol inks, which are easy to use and last well. However, plastisol inks typically contain PVC resin and phthalates plasticisers that are harmful to the environment and have been linked to numerous medical disorders. Plastisol inks also require the use of harmful solvents in the cleaning process. Water based inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and you don’t need solvents to clean the screens down after they’ve been used – you can clean them with water.

Permaset Aqua inks do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFC’s and HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents. They don’t contain lead or any heavy metals. In fact, Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all! Not even white spirits like other water based inks on the market. It passed the Oeko-Tex Class 1 standard (for formaldehyde content) making it safe to use on underwear, swimwear and even baby clothes!

Permaset Aqua Process Colours have been granted approval by the Soil Association in the UK, having successfully met the requirements of the Global Organic Textiles Standards (GOTS) for non-organic chemical inputs for use in organic textile processing.

The products covered by the Approval include Permaset Aqua Process Cyan, Permaset Aqua Process Magenta, Permaset Aqua Process Yellow and Permaset Aqua Process Black; plus the entire Permatone matching range.

What are the challenges of printing organically?

Most plastisol inks would completely destroy any organic integrity that would otherwise accrue from printing on organic fabrics, so if you’re going to the effort to make your choice organic garments, then you should make the choice to have it printed with an organic approved ink such as a high quality water-based ink like Permatone.

There are a few differences between using good water based ink with no solvents (like Permaset) and using a plastisol ink.

Top tips are:

1. Always leave your screen flooded between prints
2. Work quickly to prevent ink sitting on the screen too long and drying out
3. Apply small amounts of fresh ink regularly, rather than a huge volume at the start of the run
4. Wash ink off of the screen, out of the design, as soon as you have finished to prevent drying in
5. It is good practise to use a small amount of water mist from a spray bottle on the screen between prints


Image: Deer print on organic cotton t-shirt using Permaset Aqua inks 

Are you involve in any exciting projects this year?

As an eco-friendly product which is not harmful to the environment or to people using it, Permaset takes pride and pleasure in the fact that we are doing our bit for the environment. We have been sponsoring the FREE THE REEF campaign in Australia since late 2015 and will continue to support this excellent cause in 2017. FREE THE REEF uses the power of art and live screen printing to raise awareness about the threats to our Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Rallying business, artists and the community they aim to strongly influence decision makers to create future proofing legislation, ensuring the Reef is free from all negative human interference forever.


FREE THE REEF consists of a group of committed people who travel around Australia screen printing t-shirts using our Permaset eco-friendly ink. People can choose from a number of unique designs and ‘print their own FREE THE REEF t-shirt to support the campaign’, with funds raised from the purchase of these t-shirts going towards this great cause.

FREE THE REEF raises awareness of threats to the Great Barrier Reef like the Crown of Thorns Starfish.

Thanks Wendy and David from Permaset! Where can we find out more about you?

There is lots of information on our website We also have a number of social media accounts with some fabulous images and videos of t-shirts, tea towels, posters, cushions, canvas artworks, table clothes, yardage and more – plus examples of projects you can make on these resources. Check them out:
Instagram Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest 

For more info about the FREE THE REEF campaign, click here.

For more info on Permaset's eco friendly products, click here.

To buy a range of Permaset's products, come visit us in store at Bobbin and Ink or learn how to use them effectively in one of our Screen Printing Classes.

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