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The benefits of water-based printing

Real Threads 1

Maritsa Redus

September 15, 2022

Both Printfection and our customers consistently look for environmentally conscious and long-lasting options when it comes to investing in swag products. With that effort in mind, we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Real Thread!

Real Thread is a water-based printing company and our customers can now choose from their various printing options. Read on to learn about the benefits of water-based printing and why it should be your top choice when creating new swag.

What is water-based ink and why should you choose it?

Real Thread is known for printing with water-based and discharge inks, as opposed to industry-standard plastisol inks, which are bad for the environment and also prone to cracking and peeling. Without getting too technical, you can think of water-based inks as inks that soak directly into the fabric of the garment (instead of sitting on top like standard plastisol ink). These inks leave behind an incredibly soft, breathable print that doesn’t crack or peel over time.

Choose from 2 ink styles

Real Thread offers two water-based ink print styles to choose from: SuperSoft and Bold.

SuperSoft ink contains an agent called “discharge” that essentially bleaches the fabric, removing the base color of the garment and replacing it with the color of the ink. Discharge only removes the color in cotton fibers though — which means that 100% cotton t-shirts will have brighter prints, while cotton-blends will have a more vintage print look. SuperSoft is the right choice for you when you want a print that is incredibly soft and breathable. The print lasts a long time and is extremely comfortable.

Bold ink is a high-opacity water-based ink that creates a slightly thicker print than SuperSoft. It has a bit of a feel to it, but results in an exceptionally vibrant print across all colors and fabric types. Bold ink is the best option when you want incredibly vibrant ink colors that seem to jump off the shirt. It’s a bit heavier in feel than SuperSoft, but still a far cry from the cracky and sticky feel of plastisol. Bold works on absolutely any shirt fabric — meaning your results will always be consistent, right down to the Pantone you’ve selected for your design.

Better for the environment

Traditional plastisol ink is made by mixing PVC resin and plasticizer together. Water-based inks are much more eco-friendly because they are completely PVC free (so no plastic waste) and have a solvent base consisting of water. They’re about as environmentally-responsible as you can get in the printing business.

Water-based prints are also far more durable than plastisol prints. We all know what it’s like to see one of our favorite t-shirts start to crack, peel, and fade over time from all the washing it undergoes — and that’s inevitable when you print with plastisol inks. By contrast, water-based inks will remain high-quality much longer since the inks dye the fabric and the print actually becomes part of the shirt. That means as long as the shirt holds up, so will the print.

Optional add-ons for your swag

Real Thread’s add-on services have the ability to elevate your brand in a beautiful way. Adding custom features to t-shirts is a small but impactful way to show attention to detail and give your brand an extra touchpoint. Consider these three popular add-on services for your next design.

1. Tag printing — These are custom printed inside tags.

2. Hem tags — These are a stylish way to give t-shirts an extra level of customization.

3. Foil printing — A great way to give t-shirts an extra element of texture and shine. The foil adheres to t-shirts with special glue, printed similarly to any screen print with the foil pressed on top after.

Ready to make the switch to water-based inks? Printfection customers can get in touch with their dedicated Customer Success Manager or email to learn more and get assistance with their swag orders.

Maritsa Redus

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