How to Create Custom Colours for Screen Printing: Mixing Waterbased Inks

Looking to create some super unique custom colours? Well you can mix ink to your hearts content using our Hunt The Moon Eco Waterbased Screen Printing Inks; creating endless colour combinations and unique inks. 

Mixing it up 🎨

Whether you're just looking to experiment with some colour theory or are trying to emulate a specific colour, mixing eco waterbased inks is a great way to achieve this! Mixing inks may sound complicated, but it's actually a simple process that anyone can do. All you need are the right materials and some basic knowledge of colour theory. To get started, you'll need:

There are two ways to mix inks: by measuring or by weighing. 

What inks do you need? 👀

Here at Hunt The Moon, we many ranges of waterbased ink varying from; regular, super opaque, metallic and even pastel inks. This means you can get some really interesting results by mixing our inks, for example, when you mix our Rocket Red with our Metallic Gold will result in a super nice Rose Gold 😍 However, it's important to note that if you're creating custom inks to print onto darker fabrics, mix within our super opaque ink range.

The Golden Rule ☀️

When creating custom water-based ink colours, it is generally recommended to start with the lightest colour and gradually add darker colours to achieve the desired hue. This is because it's easier to adjust and control the colour by gradually adding darker inks to lighter inks.

If you start with the darkest colour first, you may find it more difficult to lighten the colour if it ends up being too dark. Additionally, starting with the lightest colour helps ensure that you don't waste ink by accidentally making a colour too dark to use.

Measuring 📏

Measuring is the most common method used to mix inks. It involves using measuring spoons or jugs to add the inks in specific ratios until the desired colour is achieved. For example, using our Rocket Red and Lemon Yellow we went ahead and created a shade of orange.

We used a table spoon for measuring and achieved the look by mixing 1tbsp Rocket Red ink with 2.5tbsp Lemon Yellow ink.

The key is to go slow and keep track of the ratios so that you can replicate the colour in the future. 

Weighing ⚖️

If you find yourself looking to create a very specific colour and replicate it in future uses, we find weighing is a more precise method of mixing inks. It involves using a scale to measure the inks in specific weights. This method is ideal for creating large batches of custom colours where precision is essential. For example, we wanted to experiment with our Violet Ink attempting to make it slighter lighter, hopefully into a more Lavender colour.

First of all, we were using digital scales, our Alpine White and Violet Waterbased Ink, a spatula for mixing and an Ink Mixing Tub. To make life easier, we put the mixing tub on the scales and set the weight to 0. Then following the golden rule, we started with our lightest colour first, adding 10 grams of white to the tub.

As this was our first attempt to mix this colour, we added small increments of Violet to the batch - eventually we only ended up using 3 grams of Violet to create our new colour. We really liked the result and in the end achieved this custom colour!

Thoughts from our Screen Printers 🌈 ✨

Lauren Dwyer, who leads our weekly instagram takeover often creates custom colours. In a recent takeover, Lauren went ahead and used teaspoons to create a new shade of Burgundy.  

In order to create this custom colour she mixed our 1tsp of Rocket Red and 1/4tsp of Seventies Purple.

Abi Prints, a printmaker based in Manchester, UK can often be seen creating colourful and fun screenprints and risographs. When asked about custom ink creation said:

"So, I am a bit of a free spirit when it comes to mixing inks, I mock up most of my designs on the computer as a guide, then I mix from there. I love just mixing at random and seeing what colours I can make, I will also change colours depending on how they are building up on the prints."
The Polka Dot Begonia Screenprint, made from custom ink colours!

We also asked another Hunt The Moon Screenprinter, _jfystudios_ her thoughts on using Hunt The Moon inks to create custom colours.

"I have used Hunt The Moon inks for over three years now, mixing colours to create the perfect shades needed for each project. A lot of my work focuses on overlaying patterns and colours to create texture and depth, and creating new colours to make each piece totally unique is an amazing way to do this." 
We asked how she goes about creating these colours and she shared that to begin with, she tends to produce visual colour-boards like this:
Then once she has colours or tones in mind, she then heads over to Hunt The Moon to see what inks would mix well to achieve the look. 

"I use spoons as a way of measuring and use empty yoghurt pots, butter tubs, jam jars and cartons to mix my colours when experimenting. Once I'm finished, I store the new custom colour in old jam jars or empty Hunt The Moon ink tubs for future use."

It really is that simple ✨

Now that you know how to mix inks, the possibilities are endless! You can create an infinite number of custom colours that match your vision. Whether you're a printmaker, artist, or designer, mixing inks allows you to unleash your creativity and create unique colours that set you apart from the crowd.
We recommend you just experiment and see how many colours you can create in a single print with just two or three inks - we find it's the best way to learn!

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