Screen Printing Processes


Plastisol inks are the most commonly used inks for printing designs on to garments, and are particularly useful for printing opaque graphics on dark fabrics. Plastisol inks can be printed on any type of garment and sit on top of the threads of the fabric. 


Water based ink, unlike traditional inks, water-based inks soak into the garment’s threads, essentially becoming part of the shirt itself. This produces an incredibly soft, breathable, and comfortable print, that practically cannot be felt on the shirt, once washed. Water-based inks often produce a vintage look when printed on dark garments since the inks are tinted by the shirt color. 


Discharge inks remove the dye from the garment and replace it with the pigment of your choice. While the shirts are still on-press, and the ink has not yet been cured, a muted, pale color is seen, but after the shirt is sent through the dryer, an incredibly bright and vibrant print is achieved. Similar to water-based inks, discharge prints will have practically no feel once washed, giving your garment a soft, high-end look and feel. Discharge prints work best on 100% cotton garments. 


When producing a photo-real, full color image, CMYK process printing is a good option. Much like in traditional process printing, your image is separated into Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black tones. On-press, the colors blend together to create the various shades, tones, and colors of the image. Since the inks are transparent, white or light color shirts work best although we can do this process on a dark garment if needed. 


Foil printing is a two-step process, which involves printing an adhesive base then heat-pressing a sheet of shiny, reflective foil onto the shirt. When the foil sheet is removed, only the image area remains. Over time, the foil will begin to tarnish, so it is recommended to help improve the durability to wash the shirts inside-out and use warm water on a gentle setting and a dryer setting of warm. We can apply foil to a single element of the design creating a pop of reflective shine to the image, making it that much more distinct.


Heat transfer printing is the process of applying heat-applied materials to various items (i.e., substrates) with a heat press. Names and numbers on jerseys, or other garments are the most ideal for heat transfer prints. The process involves using plastisol ink to create a stencil of the image then pressing the image onto the shirt.