You may not be familiar with the process of discharge printing so let’s take a few minutes and talk about what it is and hopefully answer any questions you may have. Our demonstration picture here is of a shirt we did for our friends at Throw Ninja Star who I see now have a post on the Divergent throwing knives that I’m really tempted to buy, but I digress. Discharge printing is a magical process where you lay down a milky ink on a dark colored t-shirt or sweatshirt and once run through the dryer will mysteriously remove the pigment from the garment leaving the natural color of the fabric where we’ve printed. I won’t bore you with the technical details largely because I don’t know how it works and that’s just the way I like it. Every time a shirt comes out the back of the conveyor dryer I just still can’t believe how cool it works. That also might be the slight buzz I get from the formaldehyde that cooks off when drying leaving you a unique and awesome printed garment. But that’s neither here nor there. If you are interested in using this process for printing your own garments let us know and we’ll get you setup.
What is meant by the term Soft Hand?
Soft hand is just what it sounds like a very light layering of ink on the garment that feels soft to your hand. For a standard discharge print I challenge you to tell the difference between the area that was printed and the unprinted t-shirt or sweatshirt it’s that soft.
What Types of Fabric can you Print with Discharge Ink?
The best choice is 100% cotton to get a consistent look and print. We have successfully printed on 50/50 sweatshirts but your mileage may vary. Also the higher the quality of the garment the better as one lot to the next can change the coloring greatly especially if you are using discharge ink without any form of pigment added.
Can you Pantone Color Match Discharge Ink?
We can come very close but due to the differences in each and every t-shirt and sweatshirt we cannot guarantee a perfect Pantone match like we could do with a Plastisol based ink. The process is to add a dye to the discharge ink to provide the color.
Can you use Discharge Ink on White or Light Colors?
No for the most part you would use a traditional Plastisol ink or water based ink for light colored garments.
Does it Cost More to Print Discharge?
Slightly more because we do have to account for longer drying times for each shirt or garment. Discharge ink doesn’t cure like Plastisol inks it has to effectively evaporate as it’s water based so we have to dry at much slower speeds.