This installment of our Basics of Screen Printing will inform you about water-based inks and the comparison of water-based versus traditional plastisol inks.
Water-based inks are composed of water (as suggested by the name) suspended with pigments to create color. Designs for water-based inks can be printed on cotton, polyester, or poly/cotton blends. Colors in water-based inks are seen to be more vibrant, and can provide a softer, more sunk-in feel for the design printed on the shirt.
When properly cured, water-based ink printing can survive many trips through the washing machine. Here is an example of a water-based ink print:
The disadvantages of water-based inks can be that they are more difficult to cure than conventional plastisol inks. Improper handling of water-based ink prints can cause un-dried or mis-dried prints. These prints require a larger heating capacity than standard plastisol. Water-based ink print applications can also only be used on a small selection of mediums such as 100% cotton, and poly-cotton blends, whereas plastisol can be used in larger varieties of material including wicking fabrics. Also, the
When choosing the variety of inks for your t-shirt application, you have to make in-depth decisions in regards to the feel, the texture and the opacity of the coloration. When you have come to a consensus with these decisions, you can furthermore learn to choose which ink is best for you.