At BELLA+CANVAS, we are known for our blends—our Heather CVC and Triblends are some of the industry’s most sought after tees, thanks to their softness and abundance of color options. But, “How do they print?” you ask. We always recommend using water based or discharge ink because these soft-hand inks allow these blends to keep their soft hand.
Curious how printing on blends differs from solids? We decided to put them to the test. In the video below, our friends at Deluxe help us compare the results of water base and discharge printing on three fabrications: 100% cotton, Heather CVC (52/48 cotton poly), and Triblend (50 poly, 25 cotton, 25 Rayon).
Our Number One Take Away: Testing is Crucial.
We recommend always ordering a few extra tees to test how they takes the ink, prior to doing your full run. Discharge and water-based printing techniques can look great on more than just 100% cotton fabric, but results will vary depending on the type of fabrication, color and the brand of t-shirt. Read on for more about the differences between discharge and water-based printing.
Discharge ink is a water-based ink that is made to deactivate the dyes used on natural fabrics. You know those tees with a soft print that looks like natural cotton? That’s discharge printing. Discharge is a clear ink with an activator added to cause the dyes in the fabric to be deactivated. Printing a straight discharge ink typically ‘bleaches’ the fabric down to its natural color, which is a slightly off-white. Discharge ink works well on fabric that is dyed with reactive dyes, although some dyes can be more resistant than others. When discharged, the resistant-fabric dyes produce a muted print that is lighter than the base fabric shade. Discharged tees use heat as an activator and tend to produce different results on different tees.
Water Based Printing
Water based inks are ultra-soft, breathable, water soluble, and eco-friendly, and typically result in a crisp, detailed reproduction of the art you’re trying to create without the heavy-handed results. Water based ink is typically used on 100% cotton fabric, but most 50/50 blends come up just as beautiful! Water-based inks produce soft, breathable results that are not only comfortable to wear, but are durable, too. They’re carefully designed to never crack or peel, and because they’re dyed directly into the fabric, they color the fabric instead of covering it. Many people love this method because it’s semi-transparent and allows the designer to create tone-on-tone prints and authentic-looking, vintage-inspired styles.
Ready to get your print on? Discover blanks that work for every kind of customer at BELLA+CANVAS!