07 Thermochromic Ink

Thermochromic inks or dyes are temperature sensitive compounds, developed in the 1970s, that temporarily change color with exposure to heat. They come in two forms, liquid crystals and leuco dyes. Leuco dyes are easier to work with and allow for a greater range of applications. These applications include: flat thermometers, battery testers, clothing, and the indicator on bottles of maple syrup that change color when the syrup is warm. The thermometers are often used on the exterior of aquariums, or to obtain a body temperature via the forehead.

What you’ll need:
8 scoops of White Base
2 scoops of Thermochromatic Powder
Mask (to prevent inhaling of powder when mixing)
Silkscreen with desired pattern
Fabric for printing

Mix the clear base and powder well. Remember to wear your mask to prevent inhalation of the powder!

Steps for Thermochromatic Printing:

01 Apply desired colour paint onto the edge of the silkscreen
02 Place silkscreen board onto the fabric
03 Use a squeegee, apply pressure, spreading the paint from one end to the other
04 Lift the silkscreen board slowly, using one hand to hold the fabric to prevent any shifting
05 Your print is done!

This is the red thermochromatic paint.

This is the one with the blue thermochromatic paint.

So… I finally tried seeing how it looks under heat! I was honestly quite surprised with the outcome as I did not expect the print to be so sensitive. I realised that the blue ink is much more sensitive than the red one. Galina mentioned that the difference in sensitivity could possibly be due to the concentration of powder used in both mixtures. 

Isn’t it cool?! Now I know how simple it is to make those thermochromatic strips, shirt and mugs…. Time for me to make some $$$ hehe 

All in all, this technique was quite an eye opening experience as I never thought I would get a chance to try out thermochromatic powder. This powder itself btings endless possibilities that could be incorporated into future projects! It amazing how simple the process is – mix, print, heat. And tadah! Magic happens. This makes me really excited on what else I could learn from surface design.

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