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Monthly Archives: May 2009

13 05, 2009

Is there such a thing as a “Green” ink for digital printing?

By |May 13th, 2009|Digital Printing, Education, Products|2 Comments

As I continue to explore the question of eco-friendly textiles, I have been thinking about digital printing. As more and more artists become interested in protecting the environment, we have begun to have more requests for “green” custom band backdrops.  We already have some eco-friendly options available for the fabric substrate, but what about the inks used in digital printing?  UV Curable, Water-based, EcoSolvent, Mild/Light Solvent, Full Solvent – which is best, ecologically speaking?

I would assume (based on the name) that a great choice for digital printing would be to use eco solvent inks.  The reality, however, is that these inks aren’t nearly as ecologically friendly as the name implies.  In researching eco solvent inks, I learned that they contain HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) and VOCs (Volatile Organic Components).  Maybe eco solvent inks are better in comparison to other types of solvent inks, but that doesn’t mean they are good for us.

I’m interested in a new type of ink being touted by EFI – Bio-Solvents.  According to a white paper by EFI, bio-solvent Inks “contain no harmful VOCs and have the best health and environmental profiles available”.  EFI does make a bio-solvent ink (BioVu), so they aren’t exactly an unbiased source.  However, their literature does display the Environmental Protection Agency’s DfE logo, so I am feeling more confident (though I will continue to research this new category of inks before making a decision).

If this is all true, then bio-solvents may be the wave of the future.  Right now, EFI’s BioVu inks are only available for use with one printer type – EFI’s VUTEk 3360 product line – but they say that they have plans to roll it out to other product lines in the future.  I’ll keep my eyes out for it and let you know.

11 05, 2009

Wondering how to clean velour drapes?

By |May 11th, 2009|Education, Fabrics, Flame Retardancy|2 Comments

Cleaning cotton velour stage curtains can be tricky.  The biggest issue is flame retardancy.  Cotton velours are topically treated for flame retardancy with a water-soluble chemical.  This means that, if the fabric is washed, the drape will no longer be flame retardant (requiring costly re-treatment).  Periodic maintenance, along with dry-cleaning only when absolutely necessary, will keep your drapes looking great for years to come. 


Dust accumulation and repeated dry-cleaning can damage drapery.  I recommend removing the dust using a soft brush, first on the back of the drape and then on the front (detailed instructions are here).


Cotton velour drapes must be professionally dry-cleaned.  Small drapes may be taken to any good dry-cleaner.  For larger drapes, I suggest checking with the Executive Housekeeper of a large hotel / resort in your area to get a recommendation of a good commercial cleaner.  Request the use of 100% pure solvents under easy care conditions.  Spot-cleaning by a dry-cleaner is also an option but may affect the appearance of the drape.

Keep in mind, however, that even dry cleaning will eventually cause your drapery to loss its flame retardancy.  I recommend that you have your drapery tested annually, and have them professionally re-treated for flame retardancy as needed. 

6 05, 2009

What does “Eco-Friendly” really mean for stage fabrics?

By |May 6th, 2009|Education, Fabrics, Flame Retardancy, News|4 Comments

I am starting to hear a lot about “eco-friendly” textiles.  My first reaction was, “Yes, of course, eco-friendly fabrics are the way to go.”  Use biodegradable fabrics as much as possible.  That’s not as easy as it sounds, especially in the theatrical marketplace.

For example, let’s say I decide to use a 100% cotton fabric.  That should be a “green” option, right?  Cotton is a natural fiber and therefore should be 100% biodegradable.

 But what if it isn’t?  I just read a post on “O Ecotextiles” that talks about the many chemicals that 100% cotton may be treated with in th