Plastisol VS WaterBased Inks

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Why our default ink is Plastisol

A lot of people wonder why we make our default ink here at Bold Merchandise plastisol when water-base discharge ink is trendy and so much softer.

The answer is because water-base is so much less predictable.

Plastisol is WYSIWYG

Plastisol inks are like acrylic paints. What you see is what you get. So when we take it out of the bucket and put it on your shirt, it looks exactly how you and I expect it to look. When you send in your design and approve your mock ups, we can be fairly confident that what we print will be really close to what we created in those mock ups.

Water-base discharge is like a moody princess. Sometimes she can be beautiful, sometimes she can just drive you crazy.

Water-base ink is usually mixed with discharge which is a bleaching agent. Essentially the bleaching agent renders the dye in the shirt inert turning it back to the colour of the raw material and then we re-dye it with the water-base ink.  The problem is that this chemical reaction is just that…a chemical reaction and depending on the dye used in the shirt and the fabric content you can get very different results. For example, polyester doesn’t discharge – well usually. (I know of a few polyester shirts that will depending on the colour.) And certain colours, like royal blue don’t work very well either, no matter what the material.  Sometimes different dye lots discharge different too. So the smalls and mediums look one way and the larges and XL look another.

So yes, it’s a cool look. And if you, the customer were standing here and could say, yes, I like that, we would print it every day. But since you’re not, and we can’t be sure you will like the results, we make plastisol our default.

Will we print water-base? Absolutely. As long as you understand the risks and are willing to accept a broad range of results.


Matt Pierrot

Owner and lover of Water-base prints