User login

Understanding the Different Types of Inks Used in Screen Printing


Plano, TX
2621 Summit Ave, Suite 500 Plano, TX
United States
See map: Google Maps

Despite the growing number of digital print methods, screen printing is still a widely popular option. The growth of online printing services in the recent years have made apparel screen printing a trend among t-shirt lovers. Choose a t-shirt in any color, decide the text or image that you want on the t-shirt, and wait for the order to reach your doorstep. There are, however, a few more things that decide the quality of the final product. The type of ink used give a different feel, effect and look to the t-shirts. The number of screen printing inks are mind-boggling, and every type may have a different effect on the fabric. Let’s read more about different types of screen printing inks in the post:

Plastisol Ink

A popular ink used for screen printing, plastisol ink can be used on almost any textile. Plastisol ink appears opaque on a dark fabric, and it is necessary to heat up the ink to dry because it doesn’t soak well into fibers. The ink wraps around the fabric, and doesn’t work well on glass, plastic, and thick material.

Waterbased Ink

Waterbased ink can be used only on 100 percent cotton products and polyester. The ink, however, can’t be used for printing on synthetic fabric. Waterbased inks are soft to touch, and you won’t feel the print after it is used on the fabric. The ink is not as vibrant as plastisol ink.

Low-bleed Ink

Dye migration is a common problem in polyester and intricate designs where colors are close to each other. Dyes usually run into each other and even change the color. A low-bleed ink doesn’t let this migration happen and the design doesn’t change.

High-opacity Ink

High-opacity ink is ideal for a medium or dark-toned fabric as it ensures the fabric is not transparent after the ink dries. Some printers also use high-opacity white ink to form the base of the fabric so that they can use any ink on the top, irrespective of how opaque it is.

Process Ink

The ink is exclusively used in process-color printing to ensure that every dot of the ink is sharp. If you are looking for a lot of intricate details in the design, go for process ink.

Athletic Ink

Athletic ink is specifically used for athletic uniforms and has a high-glass finish which ensures visibility from a distance. There are not many color and hue options in athletic ink with black and white being the most common. Athletic ink can also be used on lycra and other stretchy fabrics.

The type of ink used has a significant effect the print quality, neatness, and durability of the t-shirt. Before you place an order for custom t-shirts, it is always better to ask about the type of print design company would use on the fabric to ensure the product comes out well.


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.