Ink : Plastisol vs. Waterbased

Jesse MacKenzie
January 22nd, 2015

It’s Called Ink, Not Paint

Ink is the base of every printing process. Even with the best equipment, if the ink is bad, the print will be bad. At Trust, we use the highest quality Plastisol and Water Based inks available, because we know that subpar inks will leave you (and us) dissatisfied. We offer both types of ink because it lets us offer you exactly what you need for your specific job. It may be a little extra work on our end, but when you see the final print, we promise you it’s worth it.


Plastisol ink is plastic particles that are suspended in an additive and then pigmented. Plastisol is the most common ink for garment printing because it is predictable with color matching, has great opacity, and is easy to work with.

Ink - PlastisolPros

  • Plastisol ink is reusable, and will keep without losing quality.
  • Plastisol ink is easy to mix, easy to set up, and easy to clean.
  • More resistant to fading or fibrillation.


  • Heavier feel than water based.
  • Not suited for vintage or transparent designs.


Waterbased ink is made up of water and binders mixed with pigment. Waterbased is most popular for worn or faded looking prints. Waterbased inks deliver a very soft and embedded print, but are unpredictable with color matching, and are nearly useless on dark colored garments. When printing on dark garments, you have the option of Discharge. Discharge is an activated Waterbased and will bleach the garment to the color of the ink. This sounds like the end all be all (we wish), but discharge currently only likes cotton.

Ink - Waterbase


  • Beautifully soft prints, embedded into the shirt.
  • Cleans up with water.


  • Unpredictable color results when relying on garment.
  • Inconsistent color matching from garment to garment.
  • Less suitable for photo-realistic prints.

Jesse is our Creative Director. He splits his time between the Art Department and Creative duties, looking to innovate and push the company in both areas (unless he overslept.)

Filed under: Educate