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Nylon Catalyst Instructions

Nylon Catalyst Instructions
June 16 2019
Nylon catalyst was once used for decorating anything with "nylon” listed on the tag.  Thanks to our plastisol ink technology, this is not necessary for most nylon assuming you are working with one of our premium inks.  Let’s get you up to date so you know what to use, when to use it, and how to mix nylon catalyst into your ink.

First thing is first, if you are screen printing with one of our athletic inks, universal inks, or low temperature inks, you only need nylon catalyst when decorating waterproof or water resistant nylon.  If you are unsure whether the item is waterproof or water resistant, all you need to do is drip a little water on it.  If it beads up and stays that way, you need a nylon catalyst.  If it sinks in after a few seconds, you do not.  It is that simple.

If you are screen printing with a cotton or poly/cotton ink, you may require a nylon catalyst on all nylon fabric.  Here is the problem…nylon catalyst may not be compatible with these inks anyway.  With some it will work.  With others it will not.  It is easy to know before printing that the ink is or is not compatible with nylon catalyst.  When mixing the nylon catalyst into the ink, you may notice the ink is quickly getting thicker and thicker.  If this happens, it is not compatible.  If it stirs in and the viscosity of the ink stays pretty much the same, it is compatible.  It hasn’t always been this way.  A long time ago nylon catalyst would stir into any plastisol ink and work just fine.  Those days are gone.

At this point, you realize that it is best to work with our universal or low temperature inks as it will decorate everything without a problem.  You also need to know how much catalyst to add into these inks.  I am going to this down a couple of lines so everybody can find it quickly if they don’t want to hear me rant all day:

10% Nylon Catalyst - 90% Plastisol Ink

We prefer to measure this using a scale.  That’s right, we do this by weight, not volume.  If you aren’t so good at math, simply place the container on the scale, press the "tare” button, add the ink you want to catalyze, and then look at the weight.  Whether it is in pounds or grams, all you have to do is take the number on the scale and move the decimal to the left.  If you have 1 pound of ink, you need 0.1 pounds of nylon catalyst.  Press the "tare” button again and add until you have that weight.  If you have 1400 grams of ink on the scale, you need 140 grams of nylon catalyst.

Stir this up really well.  I prefer a drill mixing blade.  We do stock these as it whips up the ink really nicely.  Regardless of how you mix it in, you need to move fast.  I am not going to tell you how long you have before this ink/catalyst combination will remain liquid.  I will guide you and say you have a few hours.  I will urge you to clean the screens right away when you are finished screen printing.

Many people complain that nylon catalyst doesn’t last long.  It hardens in the container.  Yes, it absolutely does.  Keep it how we keep it.  We store all of our nylon catalyst bottles in a refrigerator.  If you can’t do this, keep it in a cool, dark area of your shop.  Also, don’t order too much of it ahead of time as there is always a shelf life.

Finally, once you have screen printed and cured the print, you really don’t want to scratch it or pick at it for 24 or 48 hours.  Give it time to bond.  Let the nylon catalyst do its job.

That’s it!  That is all you need to know about nylon catalyst.


Robb Mears
Director of Product Development


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