Ink Matters: Choosing the Right Ink for Screen Printing

Posted by Ellie Batchiyska on

In the vast world of screen printing, the ink you choose is paramount to the finished product's quality and longevity. Whether you're just starting out or managing a seasoned print shop, the type of ink you select can influence everything from color vibrancy to the environmental footprint of your business. With this quick guide, we'll highlight the key types of inks and steer you toward products that could elevate your screen printing game. 

Types of Screen Printing Inks

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to screen printing inks. Each printer and project may call for a specific type, each with its own attributes. Water-based inks and discharge inks are celebrated for producing soft and vivid prints while also being eco-conscious. Pigment concentrates offer intense colors and are often used to pigment water-based or discharge inks. On the other hand, plastisol inks are known for their versatility and the ability to sit on top of the fabric rather than soaking in, making them ideal for vibrant and opaque prints.

Ink Considerations for Screen Printers

Selecting the right ink involves more than just the color. You need to think about how the ink will interact with the project's fabric type, how it will hold up in the wash, and if it aligns with your values regarding environmental sustainability. Investing in inks that provide color vibrancy while being durable ensures that your prints last, keeping customers happy and coming back for more. 

Inks to Consider:

T-Charge RFU Waterbase and Discharge Ink Starter Kits

T-CHARGE is a great entry point for those looking to explore water-based and discharge inks, offering ease of use and a range of vibrant colors. For discharge applications, simply add ZFS D-Powder; alternatively, it can be used directly from the container as a water-based ink. Its versatility allows for mixing colors to achieve a wide spectrum of shades following CCI’s Color Matching System. The kit includes one quart or pint of each of the 14 RFU T-Charge Colors and 750 grams of ZFS D-Powder Discharge Activator, providing everything needed to get started.

D-FLO® Tangerine Water-Based Discharge Ink

D-FLO® Tangerine stands out as a top choice for printing on dark garments, offering a soft hand feel without sacrificing color vibrancy and intensity. This fluorescent discharge ink is perfect for 100% discharged fabrics, ensuring an ultra-soft texture. D-Flo inks shine brightly under black light, producing eye-catching fluorescent colors. They are versatile, compatible with various ink systems to create diverse effects. Thanks to its excellent rheology and flow properties, D-Flo supports high mesh counts, enabling very fine image detail and a smoother finish.

CMS Rhodamine Red Pigment Concentrate

CMS Rhodamine Red is a versatile water-based Color Mixing System ink, offering vibrant and accurate color matches for a range of applications. Specifically formulated for compatibility with water-based ink systems, this product works seamlessly with both water-based discharge and standard water-based ink systems. Utilizing CMS ensures the production of bright, vivid colors that maintain an incredibly soft feel, especially when used in conjunction with CCI's D-Base or W-Base. Notably, when applied to white 100% cotton fabrics, the cost per print is more economical than using plastisol inks. This PVC-free pigment system is ideal for 100% cotton fabrics, allowing for the creation of striking pinks, purples, and reds. By mixing this concentrate with water-based or discharge inks, you can customize your color formulations to bring your creative vision to life.

EnviroLine® D-White Discharge Ink

EnviroLine® D-White Discharge Ink  stands out for its lightweight consistency and exceptional coverage on darker fabrics, while also being eco-friendly due to its PVC and phthalate-free formulation. This bright white water-based discharge ink is perfect for fabrics that require a soft hand feel post-discharge. EnviroLine® D-White is versatile, serving both as a highlight white or in combination with pigments for varied color applications. It's compatible with other ink systems, allowing for the creation of diverse effects. Thanks to its optimal rheology and flow properties, EnviroLine® D-White supports printing with high mesh counts, ensuring sharp image detail and a smoother finish.

L.T.C. Metallic Gold Plastisol Ink

For projects demanding vibrant colors that make a statement, this ink is your go-to for a bold and lasting impression on any textile. L.T.C. Metallic Gold, a multi-purpose plastisol ink, cures at low temperatures, blending efficiency with quality. Its smooth, creamy texture ensures seamless printing without hassles. Designed for optimal performance, it delivers a matte finish and a soft feel while minimizing screen build-up. It can be cured at temperatures as low as 270°F (132°C), making it a practical choice for a wide range of applications.

By exploring these products, screen printers can find the perfect ink to match their needs, from personal projects to client commissions.

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