Discharge printing is the process of bleaching the dye out of the shirt, leaving its natural color showing through (usually a tan color). We can also PMS match discharge ink, however results vary depending on shirt color & brand. The only major downside with this kind of apparel printing is that you must wash the shirts before they take their "no feel" state. How do we know that - we have been working with discharge inks for over 10 years now!
What is Discharge Printing?
Discharge printing is the process of using water-based inks to bleach the manufacturer’s dye out of a shirt and replacing it with whatever dye color you choose. This kind of screen printing is done with water-based inks that soak into the fabric, instead of just sitting on top of it. Typically this is done with cotton tees that are black, gray or darker in color.
Discharge Printing Advantages
There are a few great advantages to choosing discharge printing for your custom apparel printing.
Softer look and feel. Everybody loves those super soft cotton tees that make groggy Monday mornings just a little less terrible. Custom t-shirts made with discharge printing have a softer look and feel than t-shirts made with plastisol ink.
Lighter weight. Discharge printing is also great for big prints, so you can have that huge design you want, without all the heavy weight. Large print design and plastisol ink don’t mesh very well, especially if you prefer lightweight, airy clothing.
Vibrant colors. Want bright, vibrant colors for your custom t-shirt design? Although discharge printing is typically done with darker materials, you can still get those bright, awesome colors your design needs to pop.
More detail. If your design is super epic and you don’t want to miss out on any of that amazingness, discharge printing will maintain the integrity of all those important details.
So you’re probably reading this thinking, “Wow, this is awesome! But there has to be a downside to discharge printing.” Well, you’re right. The only major downside with discharge printing is that you have to wash the shirts before they take their "no feel" state (by “no feel” we mean you won’t be able to feel the ink sitting on top of the fabric of the shirt). Although not all colors will discharge, our design experts at Threadbird can help you determine the best printing method for your custom apparel.
Positives of Discharge Screen Printing
- Very cool technique that removes the dye from the shirt
- Little to no feeling of the print on the shirt
- Vibrant colors
- The best way to print on dark shirts with non-traditional inks
- Something different from screen printing “norms”
- Still able to do a great amount of detail
- We offer discharge printing at no additional charge. In fact, it’s often cheaper than traditional ink because it takes less layers
Negatives of Discharge Screen Printing
- Some styles may discharge better than others
- Can be hard to use for photographic style or process printing
- Only works on natural fibers, like cotton, so 50/50 doesn’t discharge as well
- Not all shirt colors will discharge (royal blue never works well, for example)
- Process can be quirky
Why Choose Spin Ink for Your Discharge Printing?
We’ve been working with discharge inks for many years now and we know the ins and outs of making your design look its best with discharge printing or any other style of printing we offer. Contact us today to place an order or to learn more about discharge printing.