There are a variety of ways to get a particular image on a shirt, and most often that involves adding something: ink, a heat transfer, adhesive for foil printing (covered in an earlier post) or a combination of these to obtain a desired effect. Discharge printing involves, however, removing something – the color from the garment.
In its basic form, discharge ink is clear and has an added activator, which acts like bleach in that it causes dyes in the garment to vanish. Printing straight discharge ink typically bleaches fabric down to its somewhat off white, natural color. Discharge inks work well on fabric that’s dyed with reactive dyes; some are a little more resistant than others, chiefly those in the Kelly green, purple and royal blue families. These resistant fabric dyes, when discharged, yield a more muted print that is usually a few shades lighter than the base fabric color.
We can use this discharge process in conjunction with regular Plastisol ink to make the design stand out that much more. With the pigment removed from the garment, the Plastisol ink has a blank base on which to adhere, allowing the color to stand out.
But that doesn’t mean you need to worry about when and where to use discharge printing. We have years in the business, and we know when the time is right.