Water-based inks have recently made a comeback the world of custom t-shirts and screen printing. They work by using water as the vehicle for carrying the pigment and binders to the fabric.
Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons.
Water-based Ink Pros
- Requires only water to remove ink from the screen when finished printing.
- Creates a very soft hand, which is often preferred on fashion garments
- It can be used in a digital printer, which is more efficient when printing many different colors on a single garment.
- It can be partially absorbed into the fabric, which is better for particular garments such as towels.
Water-based ink Cons
- Cannot be printed on dark colored garments as effectively as plastisol
- The ink takes longer to dry (cure) and often times require a larger dryer and more energy.
- Has a relatively short shelf life once mixed with binder (the base used to carry the pigments).
- Cannot be left in the screen for long periods of time because it will dry in the mesh.
- Though the ink can be removed from printing presses and tools with water, it still contains pigments and binders that must be disposed of properly.
In the end, the advantages and disadvantages of plastisol and water-based inks are such that both work great for certain applications and should be chosen with their pros and cons in mind.
Thanks and enjoy!
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