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Meet the Four Main T Shirt Printing Processes


t-shirt printing in progress

T shirt printing is a process that requires care and precision. The end design should be beautiful and long-lasting. But did you know that there’s a variety of different screen printing options? Some are perfect for certain types of garments while others are better for certain types of designs. No matter what you require, Corporate Connection can make it a reality.

#1)  Standard Screen Printing with Plastisol Inks

As the “standard” screen printing method, t shirt printing with plastisol inks produces a design that sits on top of the shirt. The inks used are thick and rough so they can be printed on any type of fabric. Unlike other options, plastisol ink can go wherever. The result produced is similar to that of band t shirts. What differentiates plastisol inks from other options is the time it takes them to dry up. Other options, such as water based inks, dry quickly which causes to the screen printer to work much faster. Plastisol inks take longer to dry, giving the screen printer the ability to work at a leisurely pace. For this reason, screen printing with plastisol inks remains the standard and most commonly used method in the industry today.

#2) Discharge Printing

Although standard screen printing may be the most common method to get a design on a  t shirt, there are other options available that yield different results. Discharge printing, for instance, makes use of discharge ink (a water based product) in order to “deactivate” a natural fabric’s dyes. A red cotton t shirt wasn’t naturally red so the discharge ink would—in essence—bleach a design onto the fabric, while leaving the rest of the t shirt’s dyed color in tact. The result is a very soft print that looks like the natural color of cotton. Since discharge inks are water based, the design won’t be thick or rough. Unlike plastisol inks, discharge inks won’t sit atop the shirt.

#3) 4 color process printing

The titular four colors in this process are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. 4 color process printing (also known as CMYK printing) makes use of the halftones of the four colors in order to create a full color print. Due to the nature of this process, it’s recommended for white or light colored garments. Although the four colors can get close to replicating a wide range of shades and hues, this option is best for prints that don’t need to contain the exact colors.

#4) Waterbase

Waterbase ink is the fourth and final t shirt printing option. This high end ink works specifically well on super soft shirts. Unlike plastisol inks, which rest atop the shirt, waterbase inks become part of the garment. This makes the printed image super soft and breathable. On top of that, waterbase prints last as long as the t shirt (since they basically become a part of the shirt). This option is the best but it’s also the most difficult one to accomplish. For this reason, it’s necessary to team up with an agency that can provide the results you’re hoping for, time and time again. Contact Corporate Connection today to learn more about out t shirt printing options!


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