There are two main ink types that are utilized to transfer graphic designs to a wide variety of products: plastisol and water-based ink. Although the professional graphic designer and screen printing company that you work with can help you determine which option is best for you, it is still a good idea to have a basic understanding of the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision.
As its name suggests, plastisol is created with a plastic material known as PVC. It is by far the most commonly used ink for screen printing, and this is because it is less expensive than water-based ink and can be used for a larger number of purposes. For example, plastisol can be utilized to take a graphic design and place it on a t-shirt of any color. In other words, if you are committed to the idea of producing black t-shirts, you will definitely want to use plastisol ink. Most prints that are made from plastisol sit on top of the t-shirt or other material instead of actually becoming part of it. This means that it will feel thicker to the touch, and it is also less breathable than water-based ink.
If you are concerned about taking a green manufacturing approach or desire a thinner print that has a soft hand, you should carefully consider selecting water-based inks for your project. This ink is better for the environment than plastisol, and it blends into the shirt instead of merely sitting on top of it. This provides a more breathable design, and it also gives you the opportunity to make t-shirts that are reminiscent of the vintage style.
Unfortunately, water-based ink is only a good option if you will be working with white or light colored materials. Some people do use this ink for darker garments, but the results can be very unsatisfying. Water-based ink is more expensive, and it also takes longer to work with. However, the trade-off of receiving a softer product that is more eco-friendly is worthwhile if you will be working with appropriately colored t-shirts or other items.
Both of these ink options can beautifully render intricately designed graphics that feature a high quantity of colors. Therefore, the decision of which ink to use should be based primarily around your budget, t-shirt color and any time constraints. Make sure that you also consider the desired feel and overall look of the final garment, and keep in mind that water-based inks will enable you to advertise a product that was made with environmentally friendly materials.
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