Depending on the t-shirt fabric, different screen printing processes can apply depending on your desired results. The two main types of ink we use are Plastisol and Water Based.
In most cases we use what are called “Plastisol” inks on cotton t-shirts. This versatile ink has exceptional opacity for printing on dark coloured garments. For example, printing white ink on a black T-shirt, if the ink is too transparent the black shirt will show through the white ink. Plastisol can be made so thick and opaque that it covers the black shirt with a bright white layer. We regularly apply 2 layers of white, with a “flash” in between applications. This is a “spot drying” process using heat to “flash cure” the plastisol ink just dry enough to apply a second coat immediately keeping in rhythm with t-shirt printing production speed.
Plastisol T-shirt printing ink dries only with the application of heat. This makes is easy to work with while it won’t dry in the screen making friendlier work of printing highly detailed images.
Water Based Inks & Discharge Inks
In some cases, customers prefer a very soft hand print so we offer waterbased inks to print the graphic with a “dyed” effect that you don’t feel the print on the t-shirt like you would with the plastisol ink. If the t-shirt is black or dark colored, and the cotton is dyed with the correct dye type, we can use “discharge” ink which actually removes the dye from the t-shirts leaving a natural color which we can print over with either waterbased t-shirt ink or thinned down plastisol t-shirt printing ink to achieve the soft hand feel on dark colored t-shirts. This is very popular in Vancouver and across the country, however there is an added cost for this technique.
Many other t-shirt printing processes are available, including metallic foil, puff and high density inks. Please let us know if you have something special in mind for your custom printed t-shirt project and we will be happy to go over your options.