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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We are trying to see if can print on the inside front and outside front of t-shirts and tanks. Nothing big. Small graphics, mainly words. Most likely on bamboo/organic cotton blend. Hopefully using natural dyes if possible. Is this possible? Has anybody done this? It's okay if it bleeds through the front so long as it's legible; otherwise I guess one would have to do a double-sided print? Have no clue in this area :confused: and wondered if it's even possible. Thanks for your help!
 

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Depending on the ink and shirt weight you use, it may or may not bleed through. Also depending on the ink, printing on the inside may be uncomfortable on the skin (scratchy or hot & sweaty).

If you have any printed shirts like the one you would be printing, turn it inside out and see if you can see through it.
 

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Are you trying to do a reversible shirt where each side will be a stand alone print, or are you trying to acheive a "grin thru" effect, where the inside print is supposed to be seen from the outside?
 

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Thanks, Joe. I think I'll choose a local printer and do a test run. I don't think people like American Apparel do that type of printing, although I guess I can ask. Why would the inside be scratchy? Is the ink vinyl? I figured it would just lay flat.
 

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We haven't decided which way is a) looks best; b) is cheaper. It's okay if the words are backwards, that's part of the look. So like Joe said, maybe it depends on the thickness/type of material and bleed through is best. Or do a double-sided print which sounds difficult to achieve since we'd want the graphics and words to be in the exact same place on both sides. Grin thru - that sounds like it's something that can be done?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Paul, now that I think about it - "grin thru" sounds like it will work. Would the image be more splotchy on the front? (We want it to be the "right way" on the inside and backward on the outside).
 

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Thanks, Joe. I think I'll choose a local printer and do a test run. I don't think people like American Apparel do that type of printing, although I guess I can ask. Why would the inside be scratchy? Is the ink vinyl? I figured it would just lay flat.
Depending on the coverage area of your design, an inside print could irritate the skin if you use inks that leave a hand, like plastisol. Waterbased inks might be a better choice. Plastisol also does not breath like waterbased. So if you used plastisol on the inside, over a larger area, it would be like walking around with a sheet of plastic stuck to your chest :)

Most printers don't print with waterbased inks. So when you are checking around for pricing, this is a question to ask them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, Joe. Definitely don't want customers to feel like they're wrapped in plastic! Is water-based ink in the same category as "natural dyes." I see that on some shirts: "printed with natural dyes" or "natural ink." And is water-based ink hard to use? Is that why printers stay away from that? Trying to design a cool shirt and be "green" is much harder than I thought!
 

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The dye refers to what makes shirts different colors. Red dye for red shirts, black dye for black shirts, etc.

Waterbased inks are supposedly more environmental friendly. And they definitely feel better next to the skin. It is harder to use and more time consuming than plastisol.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Again, my thanks to you, my T-shirt guru friend! I definitely have a new found appreciation for all things T-shirt. Thanks for the valuable information. I will go forth and talk to some printers, then see how my tests go.
 
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