Best Plastisol Ink for Screen Printing- Reviews 2019

Screen printing is quickly becoming one of the most popular home-based businesses you can run from your own garage or home office. All you need is a screen printing machine, some exciting designs, great-quality T-shirts, and you are good to go.

Of course, there’s another material that is extremely important for the quality of your merchandise and your end product - the right ink! 

The best ink for your screen printing business are plastisol ink, a special kind of oil-based ink used widely in the garment industry. The special properties of this ink makes it the best choice for printing on any kind of fabric.

There are a number of plastisol inks available in the market, and you need to find the right one that suits your needs. In this article, you can find everything you need to know about the best plastisol ink for your business available in the market. 

7 Best Plastisol Ink for Screen Printing 

Here are the names, features and specialties of the seven best plastisol inks available in the market for screen printing, so that you can choose the right one for you. 

1. Ecotex Primary Ink Color Kit

This is not just a single-color ink, but a full set of 6 plastisol inks - in 6 different colors, including dark black, lemon yellow, flash white, navy blue, green and scarlet red.

Efficient and affordable, these plastisol inks are made from non-phthalate formula; with these inks, you can develop a deep color on any kind of fabric very fast on the heat press machine.

The colors are bold, vibrant and creamy, perfect for printing any kind of designs, logo, text or images on your T-shirts, bags, bedsheets or caps. This ink saves both your time and your efforts, as this ink has a shorter flash time and a lower cure temperature.

You can keep these Ecotex Primary ink bottles on the shelf for 12 months and they won’t dry, which is helpful if you only use them infrequently. 

Features: 

  • 6-color pack 
  • Contains dark black, lemon yellow, flash white, navy blue, green and scarlet red
  • Made from non-phthalate formula
  • Deep color on any kind of fabric 
  • Bold, creamy and vibrant colors 
  • Saves effort and time 
  • Shorter flash time 
  • Lower cure temperature needed 
  • 12 months shelf life 
  • Works on any kind of fabric 
  • Efficient and permanent coloring

2. Speedball Art Products 4559  

This is a complete set that includes a 195ml jar of photo emulsion, a 12g jar of sensitizer and a 8-ounce photo emulsion remover. The ink cannot be directly used; you have to go through a 2-step process to make the ink workable and activate it.

The sensitizer needs to be added to the photo emulsion, and then water needs to be added to the mixture. The combination of photo emulsion and sensitizer makes the ink oily and thick and you need the right amount of water to create the right consistency.  This kit also comes with an instruction manual that can give you detailed information about the mixing and the use. 

With this ink, you don’t need to work in a light safe room or a dark room; you can use this ink anywhere your heat press machine is, under normal lighting. This ink is more suited for photographic and detailed stencil type printing using your heat press machine.

You can use this photo emulsion ink to make line drawings, print texts, hand lettering and commercial lettering, as well as half-tone positives. If you don’t use a heat press machine, you can still use this ink by painting with your hands and a brush. 

This photo emulsion needs to be stored in a dark, cool place and can be kept on the shelf for around 4 months. 

Features: 

  • Comes with a 195ml jar of photo emulsion and 12g jar of sensitizer
  • Comes with a 8-ounce photo emulsion remover
  • Needs to be combined for use 
  • Needs to be mixed with water for the right consistency 
  • Can be used on sheer curtain fabric and screen printing fabric 
  • Can be used in a heat press machine 
  • Can be used for hand drawing and hand lettering 
  • Doesn’t need a darkroom or light sensitive room 
  • Needs to be placed in a cool and dark place
  • Can be kept on the shelf for 4 months 
  • Can be dried under a regular light bulb

3. Speedball 4504W Fabric Screenprinting Ink Set

A pack of 6 colors, which are ready to use and perfect for all kinds of fabric, from linen, cotton, rayon, polyester, synthetic fibers, blends and even paper and cardboard.

The colors are absolutely vibrant and rich, perfect for all types of designs, texts, logo or image on a multitude of fabric types. A little amount of ink offers a great coverage on your platforms, and has an extremely soft hand on the fabric you are using. 

This set comes with 4-ounce packs of six colors, namely white, black, red, blue, yellow and green. The colors are permanent on your fabric, and won’t fade or break even after washing with soap and water.

You can use this ink in your heat press machine or even for drawing or writing with your hands, using a brush. The Speedball 4504W ink needs to be set under heat and lights, and is completely non-flammable, safe and efficient. 

Features: 

  • 6-color pack 
  • 4-ounce jars of colors 
  • Comes in black, white, red, green, blue and yellow 
  • Can be used on linen, cotton, rayon, polyester, synthetic fibers, blends, paper and cardboard
  • Great coverage on any fabric 
  • Permanent colors 
  • Won’t fade or break with use 
  • Can be washed with soap and water 
  • Can be used in heat press machine or by hand 
  • Need to be set under heat and light 
  • Non-flammable 
  • Extremely soft and safe on your fabric 

4. Caydo 19 Pieces Screen Printing Kit 

This is a complete 19-piece starter kit that has everything that you need for your heat press machine and printing business.

It comes with a 10x14-inch screen printing frame with white mesh attached, 1 screen printing squeegee measuring 9.4-inches, a plastic scraper measuring 6.8-inch in length, 5 pieces of inkjet transparent film, 1 roll of masking tape and 10 pieces of wooden sticks.

In short, there’s everything you might need in your first few screen printing jobs inside this kit. All you need are the inks and your design to start on your first job. 

Features: 

  • 19-piece starter kit 
  • Can be used in a heat press machine
  • Comes with 10x14-inch screen printing frame with white mesh attached
  • Comes with one screen printing squeegee measuring 9.4-inches
  • Comes with a plastic scraper measuring 6.8-inch in length
  • Comes with 5 pieces of inkjet transparent film
  • Comes with 1 roll of masking tape 
  • Comes with 10 pieces of wooden sticks

5. RUTLAND Screen Printing Plastisol Inks 

These plastisol inks from RUTLAND comes ready to be used in a heat press machine, and can be used on any 100% cotton, polyester or 50/50 cotton-poly fabrics.

Made with non-phthalate formula, they are safe to use and extremely durable. These paints come in a rather subdued metallic color, but you can add up to 20% color boosters to these inks, making them brighter and more vibrant.

These RUTLAND metallic colored inks are perfect for vibrant images, texts, logos or any other designs on your T-shirts, tote bags and other personal belongings made of fabric. The metallic hue is durable but might fade gradually with every wash; therefore, these inks need to be washed inside out for durability. 

Features:

  • Comes in subdued metallic colors 
  • Color boosters can be added up to 20% for vibrancy 
  • Made from non-phthalate colors 
  • Color brightness can be increased with color boosters 
  • Perfect for logos, texts and images 
  • Perfect for 100% cotton, polyester or cotton/poly 50-50 combination fabrics 
  • Ink may gradually subdue with every wash 
  • Needs to be washed inside out

6. BAB’s Creamy Black Plastisol Ink  

These inks from BAB’S are creamy and vibrant, and gives you great coverage on any kind of cotton, polyester, cotton blend and 50/50 cotton-poly blends.

This particular jar contains a dark and smooth black ink, perfect for silhouettes, texts or logos on your T-shirts, canvas bags and other fabric-type belongings. You can use this ink on any heat press machines and a little ink is going to give you a great coverage. 

These rich and vibrant inks from BAB’S have 0% build-up on your fabric and can recreate any image, text or silhouette on your belongings on the first try. You don’t need to put a lot of pressure on the squeegee to get the most from these inks; a soft hand is all that you need. The color is extremely intense, not watered down or transparent. 

Features: 

  • Rich and creamy black color ink 
  • Great coverage on any fabric 
  • Perfect for cotton, polyester and cotton blends
  • Zero build-up on fabric 
  • Can be used in a heat press machine 
  • No extra pressure needed to apply 
  • Intense black color 
  • Great for texts, names, logos and silhouettes 
  • Not watered down or transparent colors

7.TRIANGLE Screen Printing Plastisol Ink 

This creamy white ink is perfect for any cotton, polyester or 50/50 cotton-poly blend fabric - Tshirts, canvas bags, caps, bed sheets or tapestry, or any other personal belongings.

You can use this color as an underbase or a highlight color, for borders on your designs or even as a standalone color. 

This bright and intense creamy white color from TRIANGLE is a high-opacity color, and will give you great coverage while printing. Only a little amount of color can be used on a large space, with soft hands; you don’t need to put a lot of pressure on the ink to be absorbed by the fabric.

The ink is also bleed resistant and extremely versatile. You can use it on black, brown, navy or dark red background for the maximum contrast. 

Features: 

  • Creamy and vibrant white color 
  • Semi-glossy finish 
  • Great for cotton, polyester and cotton/poly blend
  • Bleed resistant 
  • High opacity ink 
  • Not transparent or see through 
  • Can be used as an underbase, highlighter or stand alone color 
  • Great coverage on fabric 
  • Not much pressure needed 
  • Can be used on a dark background 
  • Extremely bright and vibrant white color 
  • Other colors available

Water Based vs. Plastisol ink: Which Works Better? 

While printing on T-shirts, bags, caps or any other fabric-made personal belongings using a heat press machine or heat press technique, there are two types of inks that you can use: water-based inks and plastisol inks. While both types can be used on fabric, they are very different from each other. 

First, we’ll need to learn more about these two types of inks before deciding which one works better for our fabrics. 

Water-Based Inks 

As the name suggests, water-based inks are made with water. They do not contain any kind of plastic or PVC in them, and are more eco-friendly than plastisol inks. Water-based inks actually seap through the fabric you are using it one, and dyes the garment completely.

You can’t feel anything on top of the fabric as it has all been completely absorbed by the cloth. The paint will feel like a part of the fabric, not something extra that you have painted or printed on top. 

Water-based colors are more suitable for light-colored fabrics where you want to dye a large area; they will also work on dark-colored fabrics, but not as well. Water-based inks are more commonly used in retail printing, and will give your fabrics a real vintage look and feel. 

Plastisol Inks 

  • Plastisol ink, on the other hand, are made from plastics, and are more commonly used to achieve gradients and halftones. These inks are thicker and more prominent than water-based inks; you can actually feel the presence of plastisol ink on top of your fabric.
  • This ink isn’t absorbed into the fabric to become a part of it; rather, the thicker plastisol ink sits on top of the fabric to give it color and shape. 
  • Plastisol ink doesn’t dry out as quickly as water-based ink does, but gives you enough time on the fabric to flow well and stay fluid on the fabric to make it work. This kind of ink is perfect for detailed designed as they give out great color consistency and accuracy.

Which one is Be​​​​tter? 

Both water-based ink and plastisol inks can be great in printing on your T-shirts and other personal belongings made of fabric, but they have several differences when you evaluate the different features and qualities. 

Longevity:  Since water-based inks are absorbed into the fabric, they last as long as the fabric will last. The designs will not crack or break, but remain the same; over time and frequent washing, as we do with personal belongings, the color might start to gradually fade, but that will only make the fabric more comfortable to wear. 

Plastisol inks have a tendency to crack and break after you’ve washed it a few times. The designs may also start to flake or peel off after a while, and ruin the entire look. 

Weight: Water-based inks are lighter, and they are absorbed right into the fabric, and doesn’t add to the weight of the clothing. On the other hand, plastisol ink sits on the fabric; if you have a large and detailed design, it will add to the weight of the fabric. 

Feel: You can’t really feel water-based inks on your fabric, as they are absorbed directly into them. Plastisol ink, by contrast, sits on the fabric and you can feel the ink with your fingers. If you’ve used too much for a very detailed design on a T-shirt, you can even feel the design on your body when you wear the T-shirt. 

Brightness: Water-based inks are not very bright; the colors are absorbed into the fabric and becomes a little faded. However, the brightness of water-based ink actually depends on the material you are using. These kind of inks on 100% cotton would be rich and vibrant, but on a cotton/polyester blend, the color can be more subdued. 

On the other hand, plastisol ink is always bright, and can recreate the exact design/color on your fabric. 

Weight: Water-based inks are lighter, and they are absorbed right into the fabric, and doesn’t add to the weight of the clothing. On the other hand, plastisol ink sits on the fabric; if you have a large and detailed design, it will add to the weight of the fabric. 

If you are printing a T-shirt for yourself, or anything else for regular use that will require frequent washing and cleaning, it is better to use water-based inks.

These inks are completely absorbed by the fabric, doesn’t add weight to the piece of clothing and doesn’t feel harsh against your skin. Water-based inks are perfect for making your clothes and T-shirts comfortable, something you’ll love to wear regularly. 

On the other hand, if the design, color and consistency is your main focus, it is better to use plastisol ink. Plastisol inks are brighter and easier to use, and will sit on top of your fabric, giving you the exact design and accuracy you want for your T-shirts. They might be tough to keep clean, but if you wash them inside out, the design will not be harmed. 

Therefore, water-based or Plastisol ink - the kind of ink you need to use depends on your purpose for the job. 

How to Remove Plastisol ink from T-shirt? 

Now, why would you want to remove Plastisol Ink from your T-shirt, particularly the one you’ve just finished printing? There could be a number of reasons behind doing so: 

  1. You’ve just spotted a mistake in the design or the text, and want to rectify it; 
  2. There’s a smear on the T-shirt that is not a part of the design; 
  3. There’s a spelling mistake on the text/name printed on the T-shirt; 
  4. You are tired of the design and want to recycle the T-shirt for another design; 
  5. You want to change the color of the font, or any other details of the design. 

Any of these reasons could be why you want to remove plastisol ink from your T-shirt, and it is possible to. Here are some special ingredients and tools that you are going to need, and the necessary steps to remove plastisol ink from fabric.   

These are what you need to remove Plastisol Ink from your T-shirts: 

  • Plastisol Ink Remover 
  • A piece of soft cloth
  • A soft-bristled brush 
  • A pair of gloves and Protective Goggles  
  • Water 

Some starter Plastisol Ink kits come with a remover, such as the Speedball Art Products 4559. You can use this remover to easily remove any part of the design, smudges or mistakes in your T-shirt. 

Step#1

This is something you need to always do in a well-ventilated area, because Plastisol Ink Remover or any other chemical spirits give out a strong odor that’s harmful for you. Always wear rubber gloves and protective goggles to safeguard your hands, fingers and eyes. 

Step#2

Pour out or spray a small amount of the remover on a piece of cloth, just enough to make it damp. Don’t use too much and don’t completely wet the cloth, because it might reach the parts of the design you don’t want to remove. 

Step#3

Dab the damp piece of cloth on the part of the design, or the whole design, that you want to remove. Do this until there’s a thin coat of the remover on the design; if the design is too large and too complicated, you can directly spray the chemical on it for direct results. 

Step#4

Keep the fabric damp with the chemical for at least 30 minutes. 

Step#5

After half an hour, use a soft-bristled brush to lightly brush the ink away from the fabric. For lighter colors and simple designs, a single coating of the chemical can be enough.

If the first coating doesn’t work, you can spray the remover one more time on the part you want to remove, or apply another coat with the damp piece of cloth. Keep on doing this until all the ink has come loose from the fabric. 

Step#6

When the ink has been removed, hold the fabric under running cold water. This would remove traces of the ink from the fabric. The more vibrant the color was or the more colors you had on the design, the longer time you need to hold the fabric under cold water. Remember to use only cold or room temperature water, and not warm or hot water. The colder the water, the better it is for the ink. 

Step#7

Hang up the fabric to dry it in natural air. One dry, you can see that all traces of the plastisol ink disappear in the areas you want it removed. If drying the fabric doesn’t help remove all the Plastisol Ink, you need to repeat all the steps from Step#2. 

However, if the mistake happens while or immediately after you have put on the ink, there’s an easier way to remove the Plastisol Ink without using any kind of chemical. Here are the steps to follow: 

Step#1

If the mistake has been spotted while you are in the middle of the printing job, i.e. if the ink is still fresh on the fabric, you need to immediately remove it. Use a spoon to scrape off the extra ink from the location; you can use this ink later again in your printing.

There are special tools available for this as well, that some professionals use to save on ink. You might have to use your spoon or the special scraper tool a few times to get rid of all the excess ink from the fabric. 

This step will make it easier to clean the ink from your fabric as well as save a lot of ink for future uses. 

Step#2

Hold the fabric under running cold water as soon as possible. The faster you can come to this step, the quicker you can get rid of the ink from the fabric. As before, remember to use cold water instead of warm or hot water. Rinse the fabric with your hands; it will make it easier to get rid of the ink. 

Step#3

When all traces of ink disappears from the fabric, rinse the cloth under warm water. When all the color is gone and the T-shirt is completely clean, hang dry it. 

Step#4

Sometimes, you might still find some smudges or ink stain that has spread to other parts of the T-shirt, and these need to be removed in a different way. 

Step#5

Place a paper bag on top of the T-shirt, directly over the parts with the ink stains or smudges. Use a household iron on top of the paper bag, making it warm enough that the heat reaches the ink on the fabric.

The heat will quickly drive the ink remaining on the T-shirt into the paper bag, to be absorbed by the paper. Do this everywhere there are ink that you want to remove. 

Step#6

You can give the T-shirt another wash with cold water to remove any traces of ink that hasn’t been absorbed by the paper bag. Your T-shirt will be good as new, with no extra ink that you don’t want. 

Wrapping Up!

The right ink is extremely important for the quality of your end product. When you use the right colors and the right ink, you can recreate your exact designs on your T-shirts, caps and hats, bags, bed sheets or anywhere else you want to.

There aren’t many options for Plastisol Ink in the market to choose from, but they are all extremely efficient and easy to use, even for amateurs. 

Robert Miguel.
 

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