Choosing The Right Screen Printing Ink

Choosing The Right Screen Printing Ink


It’s unbelievable how many different screen printing inks are out there today and frankly, it can be a little mind boggling! But when it comes to screen printing (even if it’s just as a hobby), it is really important to make sure you are choosing the right one before you start your next printing project.


There are many factors that come into play in choosing the right ink, the most important being what it is you are going to be printing on. You wouldn’t use the same ink you use for t-shirt printing that you do when printing on paper because each ink has a different feel, look and effect. But never fear, Imagescapes is here! The following is a guide provided by Imagescapes Embroidery and Screen Printing to help you choose the right screen printing ink:


Water Based Screen Printing Ink:

Water based inks are ideal if you want an ink that is easy to cure, is fast drying and has a super soft feel when printed on t-shirts. A really cool thing about water based inks is that you can dry and cure them with a simple heat gun. There are some really good brands available, many offer lines of screen printing inks that are fairly cheap but, keep in mind that choosing higher quality inks are great for many other uses too.


Plastisol Screen Printing Ink:

Plastisol inks are very common, they are the standard ink for printing on t-shirts. These inks are plastic based ad require high heat in order to cure. We do not recommend this ink if you are going to be doing your printing at home unless you own a conveyor dryer because if plastisol ink doesn’t get cured properly, the ink will wash out, crack or peel off the shirt and you definitely don’t want that to happen. However, if done properly this ink will hold up for a long time (possible even longer that the actual shirt).


Glow In The Dark Screen Printing Ink:

This type of ink isn’t actually different but it is absolutely tons of fun to use on some designs. If you are feeling adventurous or just feel like trying something a little out of the ordinary, you might want to give it a try!


Discharge Screen Printing Ink:

These types of inks are definitely cool and a lot of fun because when you apply the ink, it removes the color from the shirt and then replaces it with the color of the ink, which leaves the shirt feeling like it doesn’t even have ink on it. It’s not necessarily the most user friendly if you are a beginner and it requires mixing a lot of chemicals but if you are able to master this printing style, the end result is pretty awesome. Also, be conscious of the material of the shirt you are printing on because this method works best on 100% cotton and if you are using a blend, the results might not come out how you’d expect.


Printing On Paper:

The inks we have covered above are ideal for printing on t-shirts however, water based inks are the best for printing on paper because they soak in and don’t require any curing, they can just air dry. We recommend this method if your printing project consists of printing your own poster or other paper products.


These are the most commonly used inks for screen printing and we hope that this guide will help you choose the right screen printing inks for your future projects. If you have any questions feel free to contact Imagescapes Embroidery and Screen Printing, who are always happy to assist you with your screen printing needs.




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