Screen Printing Inks
The most common ink system used for screen printing custom T-shirts. Plastisol is a PVC based ink where plastic particles are suspended in a resin combined with pigment to make colors. This ink tends to sit atop fabric threads rather than penetrating them. Plastisol permanently bonds to fabric upon curing above 320 F. Plastisol is particularly versatile for printing opaque graphics on a wide variety of fabrics especially dark fabrics. The majority of custom t-shirts printed at Fairfax Screen Printing are done using Plastisol.
Plastisols are available in almost any color imaginable, including metallics, shimmers, glitters, glow-in-the-dark and special effect types. Pantone color matching is available at no extra charge.
Waterbase Inks -
The term waterbase encompasses more than one type of ink alone. We work with 3 distinct types of waterbase ink. These inks are made from a combination of pigment concentrate, a binder, solvent and water. Generally speaking we recommend waterbased inks for 100% cotton, some 50/50 cotton/polyester blends and select 100% polyester technical t-shirts. Pantone matching is available for waterbase ink at no extra charge. Waterbase is the most eco-friendly of our ink systems.
Transparent waterbase inks -
The softest and most desirable ink for textile printing. Often used in the fashion sector due to the extremely soft feel or "hand" created. Transparent waterbase inks are best suited for printing dark colors onto white and very light fabrics. Transparent waterbased inks cannot be used on medium or dark colors.
Semi-opaque waterbase inks -
Used in conjunction with printing light and medium colors as well as on dark colored shirts atop a white underbase. This ink system allows excellent color rendition by increased opacity in the ink. Somewhat like plastisol in that the end result does have some texture or "hand", but softer and lighter in terms of feel than plastisol.
Discharge ink -
Also a waterbase ink, but containing an additive that when activated by heat effectively removes the dye from the t-shirt. Discharge is used for printing dark backgrounds when the desired effect is a very soft and supple print.
Also popular in the fashion sector due to the excellent "hand" achieved. Discharge is also an excellent ink for a distressed or vintage look for custom T-shirts.
Discharge ink is not a fully accurate system for color matching, as a result we offer a basic palette of colors with custom color matches available at an additional charge. Discharge inks work best on black custom T-shirts. There are many other fabric colors that are compatible with discharge, but the important thing to remember is that NOT every T-shirt color is compatible with Discharge.
Discharge must be used on select brands and colors of 100% cotton shirts. If a super soft and colorful print is what you are looking for, Discharge can be a great option. We recommend you call us or visit our showroom for details on Discharge.
Below is swatches of the stock colors we have advailable in discharge ink. Blue, Brown, Flesh, Grey, Orange, Red, Yellow and White.