Discharge printing is a screen printing process where the same techniques and equipment are used but instead of normal ink, discharge inks are used, which remove the shirt’s dye instead of putting a color on top of the shirt. It is somewhat similar to bleaching in a design, except it doesn’t damage the fibers like bleaching would. It results in an extremely soft print, and shows the weave of the shirt. It can be used by itself, as an underbase for other colors to be put on top, or with pigments added. Pigmenting discharge can be difficult to achieve exact color results, as the discharge efficacy affects the color, and what you see is not what you get when mixing the pigments, but it can still be a great way to achieve colors on dark garments.
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
But don’t worry, we are experts and will let you know how best to use discharge ink for your project, and if it should be used.