The common misconception about the process of printing on a latex balloon is that it is printed when deflated or flat. Whilst this is certainly possible, it is not actually effective and provides an incredibly poor print quality.
The best way to print on a latex balloon is to do it when the balloon is inflated. The print surface is therefore at the same tension that it will ultimately be under when inflated as a finished product.
Whilst a balloon is inflated, the print surface of the balloon is fully exposed and can be printed on using the Screen Printing method. This process involves applying ink directly to the surface through a screen or mask, which allows ink to pass through in the shape of the print design.
Our machines 'clamp' the balloon in order to apply the ink, this ensures the balloon remains as still as possible whilst printed. Once the ink is applied, each balloon passes through a heat source which assists the drying process, before being deflated back to its natural size.
When printing a latex balloon on multiple sides, more than one screen is used and our printing machines are configured differently for better efficiency.
For a two sided print, the process of printing a balloon on both sides requires two screens. Each side is printed simultaneously in a clamping action where both screens are pressed against opposing sides of the balloon whilst the ink is applied.
The necessary setup of the machines means that one side is printed from above and the other from below, before being passed through a heat source to dry the inks.