How To Choose the Right Ink for Printing on Fabric or T-Shirts

choosing ink for fabrics

Printing t-shirts can create unique, personalized designs that are perfect for company uniforms, special occasions, or just everyday styling. When it comes to finding the right ink for printing on fabric or t-shirts, it is important to understand which type of ink will work best on your chosen fabric.

Choosing a Fabric-Friendly Ink

ink for printing on fabric

Once you know what type of fabric you are printing on, it is important to select an ink that won’t be too damaging. For example, as a general rule, pigment inks (or plastisol inks) should be used for cotton and other natural fabrics. While water-based and discharge inks are best for synthetic fabrics such as polyester. Heat Transfer Paper is also available for printing designs onto light-colored t-shirts.

Comparing Types of Inks: Plastisol vs Water-Based

A popular choice for printing on t-shirts is Plastisol Inks, which use a PVC ink and are hardened with heat. This method can add more vibrant colors, a thicker feel, and is the most cost-effective option. However, it is not as durable as water-based inks containing pigments or dyes. Water-based inks offer a softer feel as less plastic-like than plastisols, but often require more time and money to produce with each color needing to be printed separately for accuracy.

Understanding Discharge Printing and Direct To Garment Printing Processes

choosing colors on fabrics

Discharge printing is a great option for natural fibers when you want to eliminate a heavy ink layer or vary the thickness of an ink layer. This process involves having a color-removing agent mixed with water-soluble inks to remove fabric dyes and replace them with the desired printed design. Direct to Garment (DTG) printing uses specialized water-based pigment inks cured/dried on garments by heat. This method has fewer restrictions, compared to traditional printing techniques, as it allows designs with more detail and can even produce full-color printed designs!

Selecting the Right Color Inks for Best Results

With so many color options available, it’s essential to consider the cost, vibrancy, and overall longevity of each ink type. Specialized water-based pigment inks are often the most popular choice due to their bright colors and fade-resistant properties. Professional-grade plastisol inks have high vibrancy but require more energy for cure time. Natural dyes like discharge printing generally render paler tones, meaning they need to be overprinted with a separate white layer for true brilliance. Make sure to test samples before committing to any particular ink type you may find that using a combination of ink types produces the best results!

Choosing Appropriate and Environmentally Friendly Inks

right ink for printing on fabrics

It is also important to consider the environmental impact in selecting inks for printing on fabrics to a custom t-shirt printing project. Certain types of inks such as dye sublimation contain trace amounts of lead. Plastisol and water-based inks contain PVC particles that can be potentially harmful. Natural dyes are often considered the most eco-friendly option and are commonly used for sustainable fashion brands. Ultimately, your choice should depend on the complexity of the design and its intended purpose. So be sure to ask your printer which ink type would work best for your project!

If you’re seeking professional support and top-notch outcomes in t-shirt printing and various other printing services. All while ensuring the perfect selection of ink for printing on fabric. Do not hesitate to get in touch with East London Printers. We stand as your reliable ally in transforming your imaginative ideas into captivating, wearable masterpieces. Go for the wise decision and reach out to us without delay for all your printing requirements.