Plastisol VS. Waterbased Inks

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Know the difference!

Wondering how to get your shirts printed on a large scale?  You can choose between water based inks and plastisol inks, and with a little introduction you will be better able to decide.

Water based ink is actually a mix of dye or pigment with water. The water is the solvent that enables the pigment or the dye to remain in a liquid state.

Plastisol ink is a PVC based ink which consists of no solvent. The printed ink film needs to be heated to a high enough temperature that allows plasticizer molecules and resin to solidify and cross-link. Like everything else, each of these types comes with its pros and cons. Let’s take a look…

Pros and Cons of Water-Based Ink

Water based ink is a special type of ink for screen printing. One major feature of this ink is its ability to seep into the fabric of the material that needs to be printed rather than solidifying on it. Making it perfect for a vintage look. It has a soft hand and water based ink is not only environment friendly but also breathable.

Unfortunately, water-based inks are limited in their color matching abilities.  Dark garments are especially a challenge as the printer has to either Discharge or Base the ink colors within the design.  These methods can cause a slight variation in ink colors among various dyes and garments.


The Pros and Cons of Plastisol Ink

While water based inks may be okay for light color fabrics but they don’t often give you the vibrant and energetic colors that plastisol ink can because it settles down into the fibers of the fabric. Plastisol ink provides outstanding durability, color and coverage. As compared to water based ink, it is also easier to use and does not clog screens.

One common complaint about plastisol ink is that they are thicker compared to water based inks. However, modulating the ink can make it easy to work with. Plastisol can also be made thin by adding a reducer.


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