Water Based Screen Printing Inks for Apparel

Are you looking to have a really nice, soft hand on your screen printed shirts? Hand is an industry term that is used to describe the feel of the ink once applied to the actual garment. While we take extra steps to ensure that all of our screen prints retain a soft feel, water based inks will give you an even softer hand than standard plastisol inks. If you are looking for no hand at all, sublimation is the best choice. There are limitations to all options and befits to all. Keep reading to find out if water based screen printing is right for you.!

Silk Screen Printing Design Samples

Need inspiration for your waterbased prints? Check out our design ideas!

View Sample Designs

Waterbased Silk Screening Process

Check out how our printing process works with our short little video.

Check out the Process

Silk Screen Printing with Special Effects

While these are not waterbased inks, they are still really cool!

View Ink Colors

Need font ideas?

View some of our favorite fonts and font patterns that can be used with screen printing designs and personalizations.

Find the Perfect Font

Lots of 100% Cotton Garments to Choose From!

Screen printing is one of the most versatile methods for printing on cotton, polyester and fabric blends. Choose from over 10,000 products in our online apparel catalog.

Learn More

Limitations of Water Based Screen Printing

Water base screen printing has a few limitations over plastisol ink. The reason for this is that we use this ink in conjunction with a process called discharge. A special discharge product is used to essentially bleach the product back to its original color so you can lay the color of the ink over top. Traditional screen printing uses a white printed under base plus the color over top. That creates a heavier hand, which we are trying to avoid with water based inks. This process only works on natural fibers such as cotton and bamboo and does not work on synthetic fibers such as polyester and rayon. Broken Arrow requires that garments are at least 80% cotton for water based screen printing. The other main limitation is the garment color. Some colors are dyed with really stubborn dyes and the discharge process will not work on them. T-Shirt colors that do not work for water based screen printing inks include but are not limited to Kelly green, purple and royal blue. As your customer service representative if your project is a good candidate for water based inks.

Waterbased Inks vs. Plastisol Inks

Although water based inks do have many great advantages, it is not always the best ink to use for your project. Water based inks are more thin and therefore do not hold color vibrancy as well. If you are looking for a vintage, worn look, it is a great choice. If you are looking for a bright design that really pops off the shirt, water based screen printing might not be the best choice for you. If you are unsure how to achieve the design that you are looking for, let our experts help you in making the choice.