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Plastisol, Waterbase, Discharge…Oh My!

plastisol waterbase discharge screen printing ink types

The 3 main screen printing ink types and what you need to know


My number one tip for creating garment graphics is to start with the end product in mind and work backwards from there. Having said that, before actually diving into designing the graphic you need to commit to understanding the different screen printing ink types available to you, as it will then allow you to achieve the design style you have envisaged without wasting valuable time.

A classic example of knowing your craft (and something that actually happened to us), was one design that had a very fine, distress texture throughout it. We wanted the print to feel soft to touch, so we specked the artwork to use water base ink. When printed, the delicate details dried up in the screen, rendering them basically invisible, it appeared to be a flat color design with only the roughest sections of the texture shown.

A better solution would have been to make the texture twice as thick, so that even if the finer details dried up a little it wouldn’t completely disappear or become one large ambiguous splotch.

In this master class we will take a look at the different types of ink for screen printing. There are three main types of screen printing ink that all inks are derived from. So it won’t take long to learn the key points and knock your next t-shirt design out of the park!
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