plastisol printing

Plastisol Printing

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Plastisol Printing – The most common ink used in garment decoration, common, without looking cheap and easy. It will generously give you good colour opacity onto dark garments, clear graphic sharp line detail, with as the name suggests, a more plasticized texture. This print can be made softer with special additives (soft hand bases) or heavier by adding extra layers of ink. It can be asked to expand using a special 3D mixture; more stretchy using a Lycra potion; glossed up with silicone release papers; matted down to create a smoother more subtle finish, and so on…it is perhaps the most versatile of our inky friends. It is also often referred to as solvent based ink

Why is plastisol printing so widely used?

Plastisol ink is the printer’s favourite, because it doesn’t block the screen, and he can wander off for a fag and a dump mid print run, without his screen collapsing…with that in mind it will often be recommended, but should only be done so for the right reasons.

What are they then?

Very much depends on your priorities. If bright colour is paramount, then yes, perhaps a plastisol. And this truth continues if a really crisp detailed print is required (it stays more detailed because it is less penetrative, and doesn’t follow the weave of the fabric so much). But if texture is the world changing issue, then we say ‘No, Plastisol’ and wander off in search of a nice soft water based ink.

If in doubt, consider your favourite labels – typically a Stussy style street brand may prefer a more bullet proof plastisol, whereas a heritage worn in Sunspel T may feature a water based ink.

Useful Note – heavier plastisol printing ink, sits nicely on a heavier garment, something which has the muscle to carry it. Pretty obvious, but maybe worth a quiet word.

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