Water Based and Discharge Ink

  • The Basics: A high-end ink made for super soft shirts (commonly used in retail printing).
  • How It Works: The ink dyes the garment directly, literally removing the color of the shirt and replacing it with the color of the image.
  • Longevity: Water-based prints last as long as the garment does.
  • Brightness: Water-based prints are bright and true to the mock-up provided by Real Thread. Pending your choice of shirt and color, certain fabric dyes will react differently to water-based inks. You can see a full collection of water-based approved shirts here.
  • Feel: The water-based print is super soft, breathable and literally a part of the garment. After the first wash, the print is unable to be felt on the shirt.
  • Ease of Use: Water-based ink is a higher quality ink that takes significant training to use. Due to the ink dying the shirt, water-based screen printers need to have significant knowledge of fabric types and ink reaction.

Plastisol Inks

  • The Basics: A plastic-based ink made for apparel. This is a cheaper ink, is the industry standard and makes for thick prints.
  • How It Works: The soft plastisol ink lays directly on the fabric, covering the shirt with a layer of the graphics.
  • Longevity: Plastisol ink prints do eventually break down. A breakdown usually results in a cracked, peeled or a flaked graphics on the shirt.
  • Brightness: Plastisol ink prints are bright and true to the design.
  • Feel: Plastisol ink prints feel thick, heavy and do not allow any breathability.
  • Ease of Use: Plastisol inks were chemically formed to be highly easy to use for screen printers. The compounds allow for the plastisol inks to last indefinitely and coat any shirt.