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UV inks are special inks used primarily in the silk screening industry that do not dry except when exposed to ultra violet (UV) light of the proper intensity and for the proper amount of time. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to using UV inks. One of the advantages is that UV inks do not use potentially dangerous solvents that must evaporate for the ink to cure. Instead, when UV inks are exposed to a strong ultraviolet light, a chemical reaction takes place that cures the ink. At present, UV inks are not readily available for home use.
Print on a light-colored substrate (such as paper or cloth) with a UV ink. Generally this is done with a silk screen, although there are special inkjet printers that have UV ink cartridges.
Expose the UV ink to a strong UV light for one to three seconds. Light-colored inks will cure in as little as one second of UV exposure, but darker colors can take as long as three seconds of exposure to cure.
Remove the material printed with UV inks from the UV light source after one to three seconds. Too much exposure can cause the inks to dry too much, allowing them to flake off of the substrate they are printed on.
Treat objects printed with UV inks with care, as the inks are thinner than conventional ink and can be damaged by abrasion or by long exposure to the sun.
UV inks cannot be printed onto dark surfaces.
UV inks fade rapidly when exposed to bright sunlight for extended periods.
Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.