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Puff Printing 101: A Brief Introduction!
3D Printing Fashion

Puff Printing 101: A Brief Introduction!

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Have you ever seen a hoodie with a design that appears to be protruding from the fabric? This is puff screen printing, which is currently one of the most prevalent trends in streetwear. But what is puff ink, and how does it lend artwork a three-dimensional appearance? Let’s examine the fundamentals of this novel screen printing technique.

Puff Printing

Puff ink printing is a form of screen printing that utilizes specialty ink mixed with a foaming agent activated by heat. The ink is printed using a conventional screen printing technique. Then, as the garment passes through the dryer, the ink puffs up and expands.

You will comprehend puff screen printing if you have ever baked a cupcake. The pigment is applied similarly to the batter. The ink rises after “baking” and ultimately “crests over” the top. This pouf technique benefits custom T-shirts, hoodies, and crew neck sweatshirts.

Puff Printing on a swearshirt

When contemplating a puff ink endeavour, larger and thicker is preferable. Puff is intended for use in expansive applications. Consider elements such as text with thick lines and larger design elements.

Puff screen printing offers exceptional opportunities for personalization of your design.

If you are designing a 2- or 3-colour print, you can print one or two colours with conventional water-based ink and the remaining colour in a puff for emphasis and impact.

When using puff inks for your design, you are limited only by the number of colours your screen printing company can print with.

puff printed design on a tee

Why should puff ink be used?

Some individuals desire a unique touch with their screen printing. The majority of print designers conceive in two dimensions. With powder ink, even three-dimensional work is possible. A puffy appearance is a fantastic option for screen printing because it adds dimension. It works wonderfully for text. It can be used to resemble a garment patch.

A raised puff print can be created by applying puff ink to a specific area. It is ideal for delineating regions. Letters with raised outlines look fantastic. Even if the garment has only one colour. When the colour is kept constant and the outline is raised, depth is created.

Puff ink can be applied to any plastisol-based ink colour. This includes Pantone colour matching system support. In a puff ink design, more than one colour is permitted. It is not readily brittle.


  • Once heat-set, prints have a professional appearance.
  • Rubber-printed fabrics are entirely washable and dry-cleanable, making them simple to maintain.
  • Achieving superior rubber print outcomes on fabrics ranging from 100% cotton to 100% polyester is simple.
  • An extensive colour palette is supported by emboss printing, and any excess pigment is reusable.


  • Not suitable for finely detailed artwork. Only line weights of 1 pt or greater should be used in the artwork. Halftone marks must not be any smaller than 20 lpi.
  • Not suitable for image (raster-based) printing.
  • Not compatible with foil, flock, or high-density print effects.

How can puff ink be used to print T-shirts?

You can apply puff ink to the entire artwork or choose specific elements or colours of the design to achieve the desired effect and draw more attention to or “pop” a particular portion of the artwork. There are no fundamental limitations to using puff ink for T-shirt printing, except for designs with tiny details less than 1 to 2 mm wide. We advise clients to ensure that even the slightest detail used with a puff is at least 5mm wide.

The width of the puff ink in the design can be altered to produce a variety of styles when using puff ink for T-shirt printing. When using puff ink for T-shirt printing, the thinner sections of the artwork have a very rigid appearance, whereas the larger areas have a waffle-like appearance.

The Puff ink we use for printing on t-shirts is made by adding a foaming agent to our water-based ink base, which causes the ink to expand when heat is applied to the printed t-shirt.

Puff ink vs High-Density Prints

The advantages of puff inks over their high-density sibling are their lower cost and rounded print boundaries. Creating high-density prints requires significantly more labour, increasing the print effect’s price. Only one layer of ink is needed with puff inks, and the heating process does the rest of the work. High-density prints are created by printing successive layers of ink to build up the thickness of the final artwork.

Puff printed tote bag

As the Puff ink expands, it creates a marshmallow-like effect along the design’s margins. This rounded-edge effect may work well for your intended design, but if you prefer a precise, sharp-edged image, you should opt for a high-density print.

As stated in the section on the benefits of puff ink, it is possible to print multiple puff ink hues in a single design. Since high-density prints are built up layer by layer, they can typically only be used with a single-colour design, as the silk screen will no longer lie flat on the garment after the first high-density print is completed.

In Summary

Choose screen printing to save money, as it is also more durable. If you like the 3D effect of puff print, your logo should be a manageable size, and the colour scheme should be simple enough. Check out our printing page or submit a request for a quotation if you would like to learn more about our garment printing options.

  • Lisa John

    Meet Lisa John, a dynamic Content Manager and Marketing Professional at Garment Printing Group. With three years of industry experience, Lisa excels in crafting compelling narratives that not only illuminate the vibrant world of garment printing but also drive engagement and growth.

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