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I've heard that water-based silkscreen will acheive the washed out look that is soft and feels like it is part of the actual shirt....like on vintage shirts. Is this correct? If not, does anyone know how to get this look & feel?
 

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annaylee said:
I've heard that water-based silkscreen will acheive the washed out look that is soft and feels like it is part of the actual shirt....like on vintage shirts. Is this correct?
Basically, yes. There are other components, like choosing the right shirt and applying distressed look filters to your artwork if that's the look you want etc., but waterbased ink gives a print with very little hand (i.e. soft feeling print), can be more easily made to look washed out, etc.
 

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To get a distressed look with plastisol ink, the artwork should be distressed in your graphics editing software with overlays or filters, then when you go to print, use a very high mesh count screen (tiny holes) and only do one pass of the squeegee with lighter than normal pressure. Will give you a washed out look and have a "soft hand" because only a small amount of ink was deposited onto the shirt.

Chino Base - is an additive to be mixed in your plastisol inks to thin them out. It pretty much turns your plastisol ink into a waterbase without it being an actual waterbase ink. Similar effects as other reducers but much better and more reliable. The hand feel is extremely soft.
 

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Yes, waterbased inks will achieve this. Also, do a search on the forum for "discharge" inks. They prevent the shirt's dye from reflecting light (basically bleaching it.) You can either bleach to the off-white natural cotton color, or add whatever color you want. Since you changing the color of the fabric and not laying ink on top of the fabric, the designs are perfectly soft after washing once (right after printing, you can feel the residue from the discharge ink.)

The way discharge works is through mixing a powder "activator" with an Elmer's glue-looking "binder." If you add less activator, the shirt will not discharge as much, giving your shirts a very soft, very vintage look.

Matsui makes a water-based discharge ink line.

Just some more food for thought. But go with something waterbased. It's great!!!
 

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Yes, it sounds like you want water base, and yes, that is how most Affliction and Ed Hardy shirts are printed. Keep in mind, discharge is a water based ink solution... Plastisol can be thinned and printed to look distressed as well. Typically water base is a little more expensive than plastisol to print because there is a bit more care and labor needed when producing some volume. Many shops seem to only offer plastisol.
 

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If you print with water based and DON'T heat-set when you wash it it will give you the prefect washed vintage look. It won't come all off just some if it. :)
 

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It would be better to have the washed vintage look in your artwork rather than in the washing. Aside from the unpredictability due to the many variables involved in the ink mixture and therefore the effect would be inconsistent, I doubt if selling pre-washed shirts (to reveal the vintage look) would be practical.

I would prefer long drying waterbased inks but it requires a longer curing time than plastisol. Unless some quick cure additive is added to the waterbased ink the side effect of which will be inks drying in your screen like in every 1-3 dozen prints or so depending on how quick is the quick drying.

Or ... unless you use a line table system with hundreds of platens or print in batches.

Discharge inks should also do the job nicely but I have only 'tested' it. As posted above it can be done in plastisol although, as said, I believe waterbased inks would be better.
 
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