WHY WE USE WATER BASED INKS
It might not seem like a big deal discussing what kind of inks we use in the studio but the truth is it's huge. That really nice soft hand print on your favourite shirt? That's been printed with water based ink. That cracked, thick print on the shirt you don't wear anymore? That's plastisol ink.
Now, don't get us wrong. It's possible to get a beautiful soft print with plastisol ink and they are much, much easier to use which is why most printers use them. They never dry up, can be more consistent and are certainly way cheaper. They also contain PVC and phthalates that are harmful to the environment and require toxic chemicals for clean up.
THE INK WE USE
We have used water based inks since the beginning and, for sure, it's a steep learning curve with plenty of testing and R&D work required. We started out, like many do, with Speedball inks and very recently made the jump to Permaset Aqua. Permaset make THE premium water based ink around. It's eco-friendly and recently received Soil Association credentials. They are also completely free of harmful ozone depleting chemicals and aromatic hydrocarbons.
INK VS FABRIC
The major difference with water based is that it works with the fabric and dyes the fibres to become part of the garment, that's where that nice soft hand feel comes from. With plastisol inks they basically sit on top of the fabric and form a layer of colour.
One of the best features of water based ink is the ease of clean up. You simply need water. No harmful chemicals required. This is a massive plus for us.
Ultimately our goal is to be as eco-friendly as possible as we outlined in another recent blog post. The ink we use is an important part of that story. It's not the cheapest way but we feel like it's the right way.