April 2nd, 2024

Exploring the Spectrum: Your Guide to Apparel Printing Ink Types

When creating eye-catching and vibrant custom apparel, choosing the type of ink used is crucial in dictating the final print results. In this guide, we’re taking an in-depth look at the spectrum of ink types we offer and exploring the diverse print outcomes.
Your Guide to Apparel Printing Ink Types / Threadbird Blog

Whether you're a seasoned designer or just starting with apparel printing, understanding the various ink types available is essential. Each of our ink types produces a different look and feel, depending on which ink and fabric type you choose to print on. Some ink types produce better print results for printing certain styles of artwork or garments than others.

Need help figuring out where to start? No problem! This guide will equip you with the knowledge! Not to mention, your customer specialist is also here to help you with anything along the way. Let’s talk about print outcomes!

    Traditional Style Print 

    Interested in creating a vibrant, timeless print? 

    Plastisol Ink will allow you to achieve just that! Plastisol ink lays on top of the fabric, adding a thicker texture and feel to the print. This ink type is known for replicating artwork with radiant colors and for its consistency in creating prints with a classic style. Plastisol Ink is ideal for printing artwork with Pantone-matched colors. Plus, it's also compatible with printing on almost all garment types, which is why it's our most popular and go-to ink type!

    Ideal for Printing: 

    • Printing opaque graphics onto dark fabrics
    • On small print areas

    AS Colour 5916 Shorts & Bella+Canvas 3001CVC Tee
    printed with Plastisol Ink 

    Ultra Soft & Vibrant Print

    Striving for prints that offer both softness and vivid color?

    Premium Standard Ink is the best way to option if your artwork is very bright and colorful. Premium Standard produces a smooth print that will feel like it's a part of the garment rather than printed on top of it. This style gives the print a super silky yet robust texture. A bonus feature of Premium Standard Ink is that your printed apparel will continue to get even softer each time you wash it!

    Ideal for Printing: 

    • On 100% cotton garments

    • Artwork with more than 5-6 different ink colors 


    Bella+Canvas 3413 Tee & Next Level 3600 Tee
    printed with Premium Standard Ink 

    'No-Feel' Print

    Want a lightweight, eco-friendly print that won't fade?

    Waterbase Ink is a great choice in many cases, especially for printing intricate and detailed artwork. Given its lightweight nature, Waterbase ink produces an extremely soft, no-feel texture that makes the print feel airy and breathable. 

    When printed on light-colored garments, this ink type will make your designs look and feel wholly blended into the garment fabric. Or if you're striving for a more muted, i.e., retro print style, you can also achieve this with Waterbase ink by printing on dark-colored garments. 

    Ideal for Printing: 

    • On light-colored garments
    • Artwork with detailed designs

      Comfort Colors 1566 Sweatshirt & Bella+Canvas 3413
      printed with Water-based Ink 

      Discharge Ink is another popular choice for those seeking a smooth, yet aged-style print. This ink type is absorbed into the garment fabric, creating a satin-like print texture. Discharge ink produces a strong, fade-resistant print that won't peel, crack, or split with normal wear and tear.

      This ink type can produce different print outcomes depending on the fabric type it's printed on. To get the best results for a 'pre-faded' look, Discharge works best on 100% cotton garments.

      * If you're looking for a more vibrant print outcome, Discharge Ink can produce those results as well. Our Threadbird team is here to provide you with garment recommendations for accomplishing that style! 

      Ideal for Printing: 

      • On 100% cotton garments   

      • Multiple ink colors on dark garments


      Bella+Canvas 3413 Tees
      printed with Discharge Ink 

      Hyper Vivid Print

         Want a vibrant print that captures your artwork's colors?

      Vybrasol Ink is our go-to ink type for printing artwork with vivid and luminous colors. This ink type is a versatile option in that it works for printing on almost all fabric types. You may be wondering, is Vybrasol ink consistent in accurately capturing design colors? Yes! Vybrasol Ink is known for its vibrancy, along with its allowance for more ink coverage (surface area for printing on garments) compared to other inks.

      Vybrasol is nice because it's lightweight, resulting in a delicate, soft finish! 

      Ideal for Printing: 

      • On 100% cotton garments, dual & tri-blend fabrics   
      • Patterned garments (camo, tie-dye, etc.) 

      Hanes F250 Sweatshirt & Next Level 6210 Tee
      printed with Vybrasol Ink 

      Speciality Print

      Are you looking for ways to make your printed designs genuinely unique?

      Our specialty types include metallic ink, glow, puff ink, and four-color process printing. These special techniques create a unique effect and style of print, and produce a distinct texture that sets them apart from other ink types.

      • Metallic Ink: creates a shiny, reflective finish on the print that makes it pop! It is available in gold, silver, and bronze.
      • Puff Ink: raised ink that gives the print a 3D effect. Puff is ideal for printing artwork with solid, bold details. 
      • Full-Color Process Printing: blending of standard spot ink colors, which results in accurately captures vivid design details with high amounts of color. 
        • It is ideal for printing artwork with high color counts or gradients and photorealistic designs on both light and dark-colored garments.

      In the dynamic world of apparel printing, choosing the right ink type is crucial to achieving the desired look, feel, and style of print. Every kind of ink we offer has unique properties, advantages, and considerations. A basic understanding of the different ink options allows you to expand your creative ideas and design various exceptional prints.

      By exploring and having a base understanding of the diverse ink options Threadbird offers, you’ll be able to expand your creative vision and create exceptional prints that capture your audience!

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