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T-SHIRT PRINTING COMMUNITY

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Which one is better in Silk screen printing, plastisol ink or water based ink?

Before I choose which one I prefer, I will share my experience with these two type of inks.

 

What is plastisol ink?
Plastisol is a suspension of PVC particles in a liquid plasticizer; it flows as a liquid and can be poured into a heated mold. Along with UV ink used in graphic screen printing, it is referred to as a 100% solid ink system.

Pros:

  • Outdoor/Indoor - You can print anywhere and anytime
  • Vivid Color - Higher opacity of ink because of not penetrating in the fabric
  • Easy to manage - You don't need to clean the screen after printing which really saves time for your next project.
  • Mesh friendly - You don't need to un clogged every time you print
  • Wet-on-wet

Cons:

  • Cannot be ironed - Since Plastisol ink is a thermoplastic, it remelts if it comes in contact with anything hot enough.
  • Rough texture - Needs to heat press to meet smooth hand feel
  • Higher ink opacity

What is water based ink?

Water-based or water-borne inks first came into use for flexography in the 1940s and  most commonly with absorbent substrates such as newsprint, pressure sensitive label stock and corrugated board. Water-based inks dry on these substrates by a combination of evaporation and absorption into the paper.

Pros:

  • Smooth print - Water based print is very smooth because it penetrates in the fabric.
  • Ink penetration
  • Easy to print - Don't to go all out when printing

Cons:

  • Not suitable for hot environment - screen clogging very often is a headache
  • Drying too quickly - need to keep up coolness to avoid clogging
  • Clogging on-screen often times
  • Not suitable for continuous printing
  • Cleaning after printing is a must - this is my dilemma. You are very tired after printing dozens of T-shirt and you still need to clean to avoid screen damage.

 

My choice is plastisol ink. Plastisol ink is very easy to manage and you can save a lot of time when cleaning. You can also minimize the ink waste when cleaning the screen unlike water based. Plastisol ink is also screen friendly maximizing screen durability.

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