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An Overview of the Different Types of Screen Print Inks

Screen printing can be done by using a wide range of different types of inks onto many types of products. When it comes to screen printing onto apparel the majority of orders revolve around using a max opaque plastisol ink, but there are actually around 20 different types of ink that can be screen printed onto fabric. The majority of these inks are a type of “plastisol ink” that can be used straight out of the bucket. The few inks that are not plastisol typically require a catalyst or some other type of additive to allow the think to perform the way it should. 

Max Opaque – Opaque ink that is used for the vast majority of orders. 

Soft Fashion – Offers a great soft ink hand, but opacity is sacrificed. 

3D Puff – Ink has a 3-dimensional look and feel. 

Athletic Low Temperature – Used for printing onto synthetic performance materials. 

Suede – An ink that has a finished leather like look and feel. 

Glow In the Dark (GID) – Ink is either clear or a color in daylight and glows in the dark!

Blacklight – Ink that is white in daylight and glows when under a blacklight. 

Solar Color Changing – Ink changes from clear (not under UV light) to colors (in the sun).  

Reflective – Ink that reflects light, typically used on safety workwear. 

Liquid Shimmer – Very thin bling type of ink, sometimes available in a “mirror” version. 

Metallic – A “bling” ink that uses very small flakes and can be mixed. 

Sparkle – A “bling” ink that uses medium sized flakes = more sparkle, less detail. 

Glitter – A “bling” ink that uses large sized flakes = more sparkle & less detail. 

Waterbase – An ink that is very soft and has virtually no hand, but not all fabrics work. 

Discharge – An ink that removes the shirt color and replaces it with a new one. 

Silicone – A synthetic look and feeling ink used on performance fabrics. 

Adhesive – Used to allow flock, foil, and other media to be applied to a product. 

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