Waterbased screen printing ink is thin and can make an extremely soft-hand print on t-shirts and garments. However, alot of screen printers refuse to screen print with waterbased inks because there are problems such as screen drying and clogging or under cured inks. In the past most water based screen printing inks were designed to print on light garments with out using a white under base. However, in today's market there have been several advances allowing printers to use different types of waterbased inks such as High Solids Acrylics, Medium Solid Acrylics, Discharge Inks and new Wet on Wet Ink systems. Each of these new waterbased ink systems have developed a white ink that is able to be printed on top of. Each system has also developed a line of additives for keeping inks "wet" longer or curing at a lower temperature instead of keeping the garments in a conveyor for 90 seconds or longer.
Which ever type of waterbased ink system you decide to try- follow the ink manufactures recommendations and don't hesitate to reach out to them for guidance in printing their inks.
Here are some tips we have found with waterbased inks-
Waterbased inks usually require air flow to dry and cure the inks- different then plastisol inks. To fully cure water base ink you must drive or force the water out of the inks before they can be cured so use forced air to cure your inks.
Water base inks can be mixed with pigments. Discharge inks are actually waterbased inks- adding the discharge additive is what turns that ink into a "discharge" ink.
Water base ink can "dry" in the screen- But there are additives to keep the ink "wet" longer- These additives have made printing with water base inks easier.
Waterbased inks are not eco or green earth friendly inks just because they have the word water in them. The chemicals that go into waterbased ink along with the water actually make the waterbased ink more hazardous then plastisol ink. The pigment in waterbased inks can not be put into your drain- it is a hazardous chemical that your water treatment facility will probably not "pull" out.