Screen printing is a popular method for printing designs on a variety of surfaces, including fabrics, paper, and metal. There are several different types of ink that can be used for screen printing, each with its own unique properties and applications.

Plastisol Ink

Plastisol ink is the most common type of ink used for screen printing. It is made from a mixture of PVC resin, plasticizers, pigments, and fillers. Plastisol ink is known for its durability, vibrancy, and versatility. It can be used to print on a wide variety of fabrics, including cotton, polyester, and blends. Plastisol ink is also heat-cured, which means that it is cured by applying heat to the printed surface. This curing process makes the ink durable and resistant to fading, cracking, and peeling.

Water-Based Ink

Water-based ink is a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastisol ink. It is made from a mixture of water, pigments, and binders. Water-based ink is not as durable as plastisol ink, but it is softer and more breathable. It is also less likely to crack or peel. Water-based ink is a good choice for printing on natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen.

Discharge Ink

Discharge ink is a type of water-based ink that is used to achieve a vintage or distressed look. It works by chemically removing the dye from the fabric, leaving the ink color in its place. Discharge ink is best used on natural fabrics, such as cotton and linen.

Specialty Inks

There are also a number of specialty inks that can be used for screen printing, such as:

  • Puff ink: Puff ink is a type of ink that creates a raised, three-dimensional effect.
  • Glitter ink: Glitter ink contains glitter particles that add sparkle to the printed design.
  • Glow-in-the-dark ink: Glow-in-the-dark ink absorbs light and then emits it in the dark.

Choosing the Right Ink

The type of ink that you choose for your screen printing project will depend on a number of factors, including the type of fabric you are printing on, the desired look of the print, and your budget.

Here is a table summarizing the different types of ink used in screen printing:

Ink TypeDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantages
PlastisolDurable, vibrant, versatileCan be harsh on some fabrics
Water-basedEnvironmentally friendly, soft, breathableLess durable than plastisol
DischargeVintage or distressed lookBest used on natural fabrics
SpecialtyPuff, glitter, glow-in-the-darkUnique effectsCan be more expensive than standard ink