Plastisol – Plastisol inks are tried and true. They are easy to print, do not dry in the screen, can be very opaque on dark garments, and will adhere to most textiles. They are composed of 3 primary parts: a plasticizer, a resin, and pigment.
Water based – Water based inks are different from plastisol in that they use water to carry the pigment vs a plasticizer. Water based inks provide a softer feel as they absorb into the fabric more than plastisol. The downside is they are harder to work with and you do loose some opacity since water is the medium in which the pigments are carried. Because of this water based inks cost a little more. When used correctly the can be very eco-friendly. Steve Kahane wrote a great article in Impressions last year on this subject (http://impressions.issshows.com/screen-printing-process/Is-Water-Based-Ink-More-Eco-Friendly-Than-Plastisol-8724.shtml)
Metallic - Metallic inks are usually plastisol and carry small metal flakes to make it shine. Typically flakes are made of copper, aluminum, bronze or zinc. Once cured these inks are very sturdy and hold up extremely well over time.
Foil – The foil process is a little different from your typical screen printing. Foil works by screen printing an adhesive to a garment or substrate and then curing (sending down the dryer). Once the garment is cured the foil is then added by heat pressing it to the garment. Once the garment has been heat pressed the foil will only adhere to where there was adhesive. The remaining foiled is peeled away. Foil screen printing is the most delicate finish in the industry. It is very important to pay close attention to washing instructions to preserve the foil for a long time. Make sure to turn any foil garments inside out in the wash. Wash only with cold water and make sure your dryer settings are on delicate. Air drying will preserve the foil for even longer.
- Vintage / distressed
- High density gels
- Puff inks
- Glow in the dark ink