Water-Based Printing

Water-Based Printing In San Diego

Here at Extra Graphic, we get plenty of questions about the types of screen printing we use.  What are the different ways to print?  What is used in the printing process? Which printing type gives me the look I want for my design? What is the best print type that will give me the most bang out of my buck?  Well, no worries, our printing experts are here to help you decide which type of printing will be best for your project.  One of the different types of print we offer is known as water-based printing

What Is Water-Based Printing?

Water-based printing is a type of screen printing that uses a water-based ink instead of plastisol ink.  These inks soak into the garment, giving the finished product a super soft feel that will last for years to come.

 Why Choose Water-Based Printing?

This type of ink and screen printing provides you with the exact type of print that everyone loves: soft, breathable, bright, and more eco-friendly. Contrary to plastisol inks, water-based inks don’t contain any PVC, phthalates, or plastics. This means they’re environmentally safer and work a little differently than other inks.

Rather than sitting atop the garment, water-based inks seep into the fabric, dying the garment directly. This leaves minimal ‘feel-to-touch’, or in other words, when you touch the print it will feel like it’s almost part of the garment. Generally used for fashion and retail printing, water-based inks can produce a soft hand touch. Water-based printing will also outlast the shirt itself, most vintage shirts were printed with water-based ink and we can even replicate that vintage look. They’re great for printing onto white and light-colored garments, although they don’t have as precise an outcome. When printing onto  dark-colored garments, the ink colors tend to mute, or look duller than expected.

How Is Water-Based Printing Eco-Friendly?

We at Extra Graphic truly care about what inks we use and how they affect you, our printers, and our environment. Water-based ink can be split into two main ingredients, water, and pigment.  It has no harsh chemicals that we can inhale, making it healthier for us to use and allowing us to be able to print more shirts at a time.  Water-based ink is also water soluble, so no chemical clean up is necessary, and our screens can also be easily washed with either water or an eco-friendly screen cleaner.  Water-based ink is also phthalate-free and can be used safely to print on infants’ clothing.

Water-Based Screen Printing Benefits

Like every other printing method we offer, water-based printing has many benefits.

  • Soft Hand Print- Water-based ink bonds directly with the fabric and the print cannot be felt after a wash.
  • Durable And Permanent- The ink gets absorbed into the fabric and your print design will last as long as the shirt, if not longer!
  • Breathable Print- Unlike plastisol ink which can feel more like a sticker, water-based ink will breathe just like a cotton t-shirt does. This is one of the best characteristics of water-based inks.
  • Fashion And Retail- Water-based prints are excellent for retail printing. If you are wanting to resell shirts, then you will want something with a comfortable print that your customers will want to wear and water-based ink is perfect for that.
  • Color/Pantone Matching- Color matching is a tricky science, but we are pretty darn good at it! However, the material and color of the fabric strongly can affect how the final print will come out.

Disadvantages With Water-Based Printing

Like anything else in the world, water-based printing has its advantages as listed above, and it has its disadvantages.

  • Not All Fabric Colors Will Work- Some fabric dye colors can bleed through lighter colored water based inks. This is usually only with darker colored fabrics (especially polyester). Colors such as royal blue, purples, & darker greens may not always print properly, or they will have more of a muted “vintage” look, which can also look cool if that’s what you’re looking for in a print.
  • Not All Fabric Materials Will Work- Water based ink LOVES 100% light-colored cotton fabrics. If you are wanting to use a blended fabric like a tri-blend or cotton/polyester fabric, the water based print will usually have a muted or “vintage” look. Fortunately the tri-blend and cotton/poly shirts are made to have more of a vintage feel and look so this muted print works very well.
  • Water-Based Printing Takes Longer Than Plastisol To Cure- With a conveyor dryer, water-based printing takes about two to three minutes if curing between 300 and 320 degrees.  If the water-based ink is air drying, this process can take up to fifteen minutes.

Why Choose Extra Graphic For Your Water-Based Printing Needs?

  • We’ve been custom screen printing for over 15 years now and we know the ins and outs of making your design look its best with any style of printing we offer.
  • We offer a large selection of apparel styles for printing.
  • We strive to give you the best-printed apparel possible.
  • We’re affordably priced.
  • You can order anytime, we’ll keep pace with your schedule.
  • Fast Turnaround! Most orders are ready in 7-10 business days.
  • Your orders are always delivered as promised. On-time, accurate, and with the best quality in San Diego.

At Extra Graphic, our team has over 80 years of combined experience in apparel decorating and promotional branding.  We are always happy to help you choose the right type of printing for your project’s needs.  You are also more than welcome to stop by our studio on Iowa Street to see and feel the differences in the types of printing we offer for yourself.  When you walk into our doors, you will receive friendly service, creative insight, and open communication from the beginning of your project all the way to the very end.  Being the local leader of high-quality apparel printing in San Diego, we guarantee the quality of your printed projects. When other printers disappoint, Extra Graphic delivers!

Call us for more info at  (619)-354-XTRA today!