What matters most on a screen print? The ink and design. Let’s break down all the options!
The great war of the screen printing industry—plastisol vs. water-based ink. What’s the better solution? It depends. Are you looking for a darker appeal or do you want something more vibrant and colorful? And what type of budget are you working with? Although these might be two of the most popular printing methods, they’re not the only option you should consider.
Today’s blog covers everything you need to know about specialized printing. We discuss the ins and outs of each technique and show which inks and designs are best suited for your business.
Marathon’s Specialty Printing Techniques
Plastisol is one of the most popular forms of textile ink. Unlike other ink selections, this fluid isn’t water-soluble. Plastisol is made from a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chemical. It’s easy to print and can be applied to nearly any texture. If you’re looking for a versatile, cost-effective ink that won’t chip or fade, then plastisol is the ideal option to apply on your fabric.
- Less expensive than other ink options
- No special care required (regular washing necessary)
- Many colors and textures
- Long-lasting inks
- The ink may melt when in contact with extreme heat
- Doesn’t bond to metal or glass
- The ink may bunch around the seams
- It’s less breathable than other inks
Foil Screen Printing
Similar to other forms of press printing, foil printing is a heat process used to insert dye into a garment. The only difference is that foil screen printing relies on an adhesive glue application. This printing method is best suited for canvases with sturdy textures like books, book covers, and metal platforms.
- Rich, smooth colors
- Beautiful impressions
- Classic, professional look
- Permanent print insertions
- Generally more expensive
- Limited color and size options
- Cannot layer multiple colors together
- Doesn’t lend well to fine-lined photography
Tagless Neck Label Solutions
In this process, we remove the tag from the shirt and replace it with a screen-printed tag with a custom logo on it. This eco-friendly printing method converts your shirt into a recognizable marketing asset exclusively for your unique brand.
- Multiple design options
- Faster timelines
- Less waste
- Low cost
- Fewer substrate and ink options
- Lack of color variance
Marathon’s here for you. Pull off the perfect screen print with the right ink, material, and technology.
Discharge Ink Printing
Also referred to as “redying,” discharge printing is the process of replacing manufactured dye with new ink. In this process, screen printers soak the shirt in bleach to release the original dye out of the fabric. Once the garment is dry, we infuse a new ink color into the mesh material.
- No raised print
- No cracking or peeling
- No PVC required
- Works on dark and light fabrics
- Only works on soft designs
- Takes more time to complete
- Expensive ink options
Unlike plastisol, a water-based print won’t keep ink sitting on top of the final product. This printing process soaks soft, breathable ink directly into the fabric of the garment. When printed correctly, they result in crisp, bright prints that you can’t feel.
- Easy to clean up
- The ink is part of the garment
- Higher mesh count and lower ink usage
- The most environmentally friendly printing option
- Requires water-resistant emulsion
- Can dry in the screen and clog the mesh
- Needs a longer cure time
An acrylic print is a bright, glossy-looking texture that brings light onto a design. This technique is best for shirts with photographic images inserted into the fabric. To pull off this method, you need a printing press, an acrylic tracing sheet, and a picture of your design.
- Prints are waterproof
- They last longer than canvas prints
- Durable finished product
- Expensive printing process
- Prints often have too much glare
- Heavier tangible design
Simplify Your Screen Printing Process
There’s a reason why Marathon Sportswear has been the industry standard for professional printing solutions for more than 40 years. Since 1980, we’ve been the premier source for custom branding and promotional support in Chicagoland. From design to fulfillment, you have a team that can do it all. We’re here to satisfy your needs with flawless finished products, exceptional services, and flexible pricing.
Our specialties include:
- Apparel screen printing
- Custom T-shirts
- Contract screen printing
- Heat transferring
- Silk screening
Want to learn more about our custom printing and embroidery techniques? We have all the answers. Contact us, give us details about your design, and we’ll help bring your vision to life.
Reach out today to get started with your free quote!
About Marathon Sportswear
Conveniently located in the south suburbs of Chicago, Marathon has provided quality apparel printing, embroidering, and promotional items for businesses, charities, schools, and sports teams since 1980.