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Screen Printing With Water Based Inks vs Plastisol

Historically, printers have been stuck with a tricky dilemma: use water-based ink and work quickly to avoid mistakes, or accept the tradeoff of vibrant but inaccurate colors. It's quickly drying nature makes it tough for those in need of precision prints, while its thin formula limits color depth regardless. Plastisol ink is the modern answer to traditional water-based inks, providing improved opacity and slower drying times for optimum printing results. Though this plastic-based option produces rich colors with ease, it won't give your fabric that signature soft touch like its predecessor does.

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Water-Based VS Plastisol Inks

Choosing the right ink for a t-shirt print can be tricky, but with some knowledge of water-based and plastisol inks it doesn't have to be. Water-based ink is made with natural ingredients which makes it friendlier for the environment, plus when you touch your shirt after printing there will an extra soft feel! On the other hand, Plastisol offers vibrant colors that won't fade quickly - perfect if you're looking for something more durable. Combining both materials could yield even better results depending on what effect you want to achieve.

Adding Color to Black Shirts

Underbase is a white ink that is applied to a shirt before adding other colors. This is done to make the colors appear more vibrant. It is considered an extra color and cost.

Flashing is a process where heat is used to dry the ink quickly between printing stages. This is done to prevent designs from being printed off-register and to avoid having to remove the shirts from the pallets in the middle of printing. Flash printing offers an efficient way of producing vibrant ink prints on dark colored garments.

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Screen Printing Tips

The decision between water-based and plastisol ink for dark colored shirts involves a careful consideration of desired outcome, purpose, and environmental impact. Water-based ink produces softer results with less vibrancy but is ecologically friendly; conversely plastisol offers more vivid prints that may last longer at the cost of not being as planet conscious. Ultimately it's up to you – do you want something earthy or eye catching?

Advantages of Water-Based Inks:

  1. Soft Feel: Water-based ink gives the fabric a softer feel, which is more comfortable to wear and has a more natural look.
  2. Environmentally Friendly: Water-based ink is considered more environmentally friendly as it does not contain harmful chemicals or pollutants.
  3. Breathable: Water-based ink allows the fabric to breathe, which makes it more comfortable to wear in hot or humid conditions.
  4. Easy to print: Water-based ink is thin and easy to print, making it ideal for screen printing, and the ink is easily absorbed by the fabric.

Advantages of Plastisol Inks:

  1. Vibrant Colors: Plastisol ink is more opaque, which makes it possible to achieve vibrant and accurate colors.
  2. Durable: Plastisol ink is more durable and resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling, which means the design will last longer.
  3. Easy to print: Plastisol ink is thicker and more viscous, which makes it easier to print and control the amount of ink on the screen.
  4. Versatile: Plastisol ink is suitable for a wide range of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, and blends, which makes it more versatile than water-based ink.