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Screen print focus – ink options

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So, you’ve decided to print something awesome but you’re stuck on which ink type to go for, or just want to know what colours are available? Don’t worry! Our handy guide to screen print options is here to help! Think of it as your knight in custom branded shining armour.

 

 

Awesome Merchandise, ink

OUR STOCK INKS

We offer 53 stock ink colours that are included in our online prices. There is no additional cost for these on top of the standard price for an order. 

 

2 x Metallic colours

7 x Vibrant/Neon colours

44 x Standard ink colours 

METALLIC INKS

If you’re looking to add a little sparkle to your designs the metallic inks are a great option. The ink has very small glitter particles in it so the finished print does have a shimmer to it! 

 

The small glitter particles does, however, mean that we are slightly limited in the type of designs we can print using the metallic inks. Most are absolutely fine but designs that have extremely fine detail are not suitable. This is because the screens we use to print with are made up of threads with gaps in, the gaps leave space for the ink to be pushed through and print on to the garment. For higher detail designs you need a higher thread/mesh count, which means the gaps in between the threads are much smaller. This allows the threads to hold smaller, finer detail but then means that the gaps are too small for the glitter particles in the metallic inks to pass through.

VIBRANT INKS

Our vibrant ink options are a much brighter colour than the standard inks, however, the brightness of the finished design will vary due to garment style and colour. We include an underbase for the vibrant inks on most coloured garments to ensure it prints as bright as possible.

PANTONE INKS

Need a more specific colour than is available on our stock ink chart? No problem! We offer Pantone matching services and can match over 1,500 colours from the Pantone+ Solid Coated book.

When requesting a Pantone match, it’s always best if you can select your colour from a Pantone book. However, we understand that this isn’t always possible and that you may want to select from an on-screen colour.

We are happy for you to do this but you will need to bear in mind that the final colour may appear slightly different due to screen calibrations not always being consistent.

We can also match a colour to a previous product if you provide us with a physical sample. You’ll need to pop the sample in the post and our team will be able to use this to colour match. this is a much more effective method than picking a colour from a screen.

 

We charge our Pantone matches at £20 per colour on top of the standard cost of the order. This option can’t currently be chosen online and you will either need to order via email or add a note in the comments section stating your desired Pantone and we will invoice you for this additional service. 

Awesome Merchandise, Ink Options

AVAILABLE INK OPTIONS

PLASTISOL

Plastisol is the most commonly used ink in screen printing. This is because it’s the easiest to use in terms of printing and curing as well as the best way to achieve consistent results with every print.

 

It’s made of PVC particles suspended in a plasticising emulsion. The ink will only dry and become wash fast once properly cured, which is why we have the huge dryer! Most plastisol inks cure at around 180 degrees. They don’t absorb water and give a slightly raised plastic feel finish. The larger the surface area of the print, the heavier the print will feel.

SOFT HAND PLASTISOL

Our soft hand plastisol inks are the same as our plastisol inks but we add another ingredient to make the finish of the ink on the garments feel softer. This reduces the rubbery, raised finished feeling that you get with standard plastisol inks and feels more like the fabric of the garment than a coating on top of the garment. You still get the same vibrancy in the inks as you would with standard plastisol ink and a good degree of consistency in the print.

 

Soft hand plastisol is better for use on white/light coloured garments as no underbase is required. If an underbase is required on a darker garment, the feel of the soft hand plastisol won’t be evident and you’ll get the same raised texture as you would with standard plastisol.

 

 

 

WATER-BASED

Awesome Merchandise, Ink options

Instead of using plastic, in water-based inks (as the name might suggest) the pigment is carried in a water-based solution. This gives the finish on the garment a much softer feel and doesn’t have the rubbery, raised feeling of plastisol.

Similar to soft hand plastisol, water-based inks work better on white/lighter coloured garments as you don’t need an underbase. If an underbase is needed we would recommend using a discharge print underbase as it will help to keep the softer feel.

 

 

DISCHARGE

Awesome Merchandise, Ink options

Unlike in other forms of screen printing, discharge printing creates your design by taking away from the fabric, rather than adding to it; literally discharging the pigment from the fabric you’re printing on.

Discharge printing is the process of using a clear water-based ink which is mixed with an additive. The additive removes the colour dye from the t-shirt when printed onto it, creating your chosen design. The discharge ink on its own will return the cotton to its natural colour (a sort of off white) however, you can add pigment to the discharge ink to print colours.

 

Although discharge printing can produce great, soft feel results, it is also quite unpredictable. As the inks create the colour through a chemical reaction this is something that we can’t heavily control. 

How well a discharge ink works is dependant on the colour of dye used on the garment. Some are much more reactive than others and will lift easily to an almost white or cream colour, whereas others will change only slightly and look like a muted version of the original colour or are just not suitable for discharge printing at all. If you’re thinking of discharge printing and aren’t sure if your garment colour will work, drop our team an email and they will be happy to advise you. It’s also worth noting that we can’t discharge and Pantone match.

 

 

We’ve got over 650 customisable products waiting for your designs. What will you create next?
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