Below you will find a list of the inks that we use and information about each of them. Choose one type of ink or combined types to create that exact effect you are looking for.
Simply put, Plastisol is a petroleum product that essentially contains no solvent at all manufactured for our industry to produce as a low cost easy to use ink. When printed correctly it can have a soft feel that results with a bright look that will generally last often longer than the garment. Color matching is very accurate and true with this type of ink.
Plastisol True Tone
Basically the same ink as just described above but it's formulated for process printing. I touch on process printing slightly more at length when writing about spot verse process verse simulated process.
Plastisol Orthophthalate (phthalate free) Plastisol
Works much the same way as it's counter part. It's proven to be safer and greener. The main draw back for you the consumer is it is pricier and hard to find in most shops. We are currently attempting to switch completely over to this type of ink for our plastisol needs. Though currently not required by law for all applications, it is required for the baby and toddler market. Anyone printing or selling garments to the baby/toddler market using non phthalate free plastisol is in violation and is subject to state and federal laws. Big fines baby! When or if you read the two articles I've included please consider that when it mentions the "C" word, it doesn't really pertain to non toddlers as most people past the toddler stage don't tend to suck on their clothing. I don't mean to offend you if that is your habit. Though if it is you should consider something other then plastisol printing.
Has no feel at all on the garment after its washed. It produces what we call in our field a soft hand. On light colored shirt the colors can be quite vivid. The ink penetrates the cotton (needing to be 100% cotton for the best results) and stains the shirt in a most desirable way. For large ink deposits Water-base is great for the lack of feel. Though it's not the best for highly detailed art with fine lines or dots. The color doesn't mix as true as its counter part plastisol. Nor can it be used for dark shirts, unless your plan is to have invisible ink. This is where discharge comes in.
Discharge ink is Water-bases big brother. Its end results are what you want from Water-base for dark shirts. Discharge printing is a process where Water-based inks are applied to certain 100% cotton "dischargeable" dark colored garments to produce very bright, soft prints. As the discharge inks are printed and heat cured, the original dyes on the garment are being reduced, or "discharged", from the image area and the printed image is bonded to the fabric. These prints will have a very soft hand. Sure us printers have to put up with the sulfur smell (like rotten eggs) during the process. But that's how nutty we are and the lengths we go through to please you and to give you what you want. You need to be somewhat forgiving and allow fora "you get what you get" result as the colors often don't match the pantone color. This often is the result of manufactures re-dyeing shirts. Also some colors just don't discharge well. An almost guaranteed way for the colors to be more what you'd expect is to print a discharge base and print plastisol on top. This method affords you the best of both worlds. What happens when you do this is you get to soft hand of the discharge base and the fine detail of the other inks pushed through higher mesh screens to capture all the dot and tones. Discharge and Water-base will not give you the pantone end result but will give you nice results just the same. I thought it was important to repeat that statement. Sorry for being redundant I just want to be clear.