Types of Screen Printing Inks

Screen printing is a popular method of printing that uses stencils, known as screens, to transfer ink onto a surface. It is commonly used to print on various materials such as fabric, paper, metal, glass, and plastics. One of the most critical aspects of screen printing is the ink that is used. Different types of screen printing inks are available, and each has unique characteristics and properties that make them suitable for specific applications. In this article, we will explore the various types of screen printing inks.

      • Plastisol Inks Plastisol inks are the most commonly used screen printing inks. They are made from PVC particles suspended in a plasticizing emulsion. These inks are thick and require heat to cure, usually at temperatures ranging from 320°F to 330°F. They have excellent opacity and vibrant colors and are ideal for printing on dark fabrics. Plastisol inks are also known for their durability and longevity.

      • Water-Based Inks Water-based inks are an environmentally friendly alternative to plastisol inks. They are made from water, pigments, and binders and do not contain harmful solvents or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These inks produce a softer hand, which means they feel less stiff on the fabric. They are also more breathable and absorbent than plastisol inks. Water-based inks require air drying or heat curing, depending on the specific type of ink. They are best suited for light-colored fabrics.

      • Discharge Inks Discharge inks are a type of water-based ink that removes the dye from the fabric rather than adding color to it. These inks work best on dark-colored fabrics, and the process involves applying a discharge ink, which removes the dye, and then adding a water-based ink on top of the discharge ink. The result is a print that has a softer feel and is more breathable than plastisol ink.

      • Silicone Inks Silicone inks are a type of ink that is ideal for printing on fabrics that require stretchability, such as sportswear, swimwear, and underwear. These inks have excellent elasticity, making them resistant to cracking and peeling. They also provide a soft and flexible feel and are available in both transparent and opaque colors.

      • UV Inks UV inks are a type of ink that is cured using ultraviolet light. These inks are popular in the printing of outdoor signage and banners because they are resistant to fading and weathering. They are also suitable for printing on non-porous materials such as plastic, glass, and metal.

    In conclusion, choosing the right type of screen printing ink is essential to achieving the desired result for a particular project. The type of ink used will depend on various factors such as the type of fabric or material being printed, the desired outcome, and the environmental impact. Plastisol inks are suitable for printing on dark fabrics and offer durability, while water-based inks are environmentally friendly and produce a softer hand. Discharge inks are best for dark fabrics, silicone inks for stretchable fabrics, and UV inks for outdoor signage and non-porous materials. Understanding the different types of screen printing inks available can help you select the appropriate ink for your project, resulting in a successful and high-quality outcome.