Have you ever stopped to think about what is printed on your favorite shirt? Odds are the content, design, or style of the print on that shirt is the leading factor in your decision to buy that shirt.  But, what is it printed with?  You may not think too much about it until a hot summer day when you’re proudly wearing your shirt out at the music festival, air show, theme park or other crowded, shelterless place.  That funny saying and huge image on the front of your shirt starts to get pretty sweaty and soon where the rest of your shirt is hot, that huge print is holding in all the heat.  Often when printed on dark shirts, light colors of ink need to have an underbase of white to make the color pop and not mix into the shirt color and get mucky and muddy (think about how thin red ink would look mixed in a black shirt). But, all this ink thickness and bright pop of color comes with a price…The bullet proof screen print! You know what I’m talking about.  It’s that print that has 6 colors printed onto a black shirt and takes up the entire front of a shirt.  Traditional plastisol screen printing ink is the culprit here.  While it is great, easy to use, won’t dry out on the screen in production, and gives a nice crisp result, it also lays on top of the shirt on the fiber level and builds up a barrier on top of your shirt.  There are applications where this is the best option but we here at Eylan Arts have found that printing with water based and discharge inks is much more comfortable to wear, more eco-friendly, softer to the touch.  These processes are somewhat harder to work with in the early stages and require a little more care to keep from drying out during the print run, but we feel that this is a trade worth making for the great results and comfortable feel of the shirt for the long run in the life of your new favorite, breathable t-shirt. Typically water based inks sink down into the fibers and as they dry they bond deeper into the shirt and become part of the fabric.  Discharge inks actually change the color of the fibers in the shirt where they are printed and remove the existing color to bring out the natural cotton color or simultaneously remove the color and replace it with a water based color of choice.  We feel that this method creates a superior final result and while it is a bit trickier to use, the overall environmental impact and comfortability impact to the person wearing that shirt are the thing that makes it worth the effort.


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