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Hi, just got into screen printing, and i want to know if there is anything i can add to my water based white ink, to give it more pigment so i can print it onto black fabric, without having to do multiple screens and flashes. i tried adding water based acrylic paint, and it did give me a brighter white, but not what i hoped. maybe if i add more paint but iv read thats still not a very good idea in the long run..

Is there another kind of ink that i should be using for light colors onto dark material?

im set up for water based, and i dont know if i can use plastisol inks with my set up

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You can put two coats of ink down, a base, flash dry it, then a top layer.

Or if you are concerned with having as little hand as possible, you could use discharge.

the more pigment you add to ink, the more hand you will have.

Permaset makes a supercover white that looks pretty good with only 1 coat.

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It is the eternal burden of textile printers to forever test every white ink looking for the best. IF you were to add more pigment and reinvent the inferior ink you have chosen, you also have to increase the resin amount so to can make the pigment stick to the cotton..

Plastisol Rules Do not Apply

You are thinking like a plastisol printer. If you want to print a thick film of pigment, print the much easier to handle plastisol.

The principles of printing an image on dark garments with water-based inks is vastly different compared to "100% solids" plastisol where nothing evaporates.

Water-based inks do not lend themselves to fill in the shirt holes with an ink deposit film because 80% of the ink (water & additives), evaporates and the wet film thickness shrinks and takes on the texture of shirt fabric.

High opacity water-base inks produce a matte, cloth like finish by coloring individual knit threads, not the air space between them by welding them together with a smooth film.

If you get cracking, you've tried to form a film, like plastisol, with an ink that doesn't stretch like plastisol.


Experiment with this by printing on a piece of paper (photocopy or butcher paper) and curing it like a transfer. Try a hair dryer, or your oven, or flash panel. Remember that when water-based ink dries, the solids left on the shirt will be less than 20% of the ink you actually printed. With plastisol, nothing evaporates, so there's no shrinkage.

100% wet ink deposit dries into a 20% final deposit

You can peel plastisol off the paper and it will stretch.

Plastisol printers are accustomed to the look of a plastisol print and don't understand the cloth-like look of a water-based print or under-base.

When a print that looks, feels, and breathes like cloth instead of plastic is desired, water-based will beat plastisol. Granted, there are plenty of soft-hand plastisol methods, but not for solid light colored areas on dark garments.

Water-Based Homework


Intro to water based printing?

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