A technological advance in the field of textile printing has given rise to experimentation in fashion clothing. Printed t-shirts is a great example of how the industry has used these technological innovations to give it a new face every day. Textile printing has opened new avenues using these developments in t-shirt printing. The most prominent changes have been in the use of inks for t-shirt printing.
Different types of inks are used for various type of fabric in t-shirt printing. These printer inks bind with the fibres of the textile used to give the final printout a high level of quality and durability. For synthetic fibres such as acrylic fibre, polyester and nylon, disperse dyes are used for printing. Disperse dyes are named so because they require a dispersing agent to spread the dye over the fabric. For dispersing these dyes to work high temperatures are usually required.
For fabrics made from animal protein fibres such as silk, mohair and wool, acid dye printer inks are primarily used. These acid dye inks have either acetic acid or citric acid as their base material. Acid dye needs special care while using as they can be.
Reactive dye inks are used specially for printing on cellulose or plant-based fabrics like linen and cotton. Heat is an important component for T-shirt printing where reactive dye inks are used. Use of high heat releases the colours in the dye and binds the dye to the fabric.
Another ink used specially for cotton fabrics is pigmented textile printer ink. These inks are known for their durability but they lack the credentials in rendering colours as compared to dye inks.
One more type of ink that is largely used in t-shirt printing is the dye sublimation ink. They are also used on various printing media other than just fabric. Dye sublimation textile printing is quite similar to thermal printing in which high heat is used to transform the ink from its solid state, which later can be bound to the fibres of the textile used.
For those who are conscious about their environment and believe in using eco-friendly products there are eco-friendly inks available for t-shirt printing. Most eco-friendly inks are water-based and non-toxic.Water based inks are much more environment friendly as they do not contain phthalates. They are usually is formulated free from Lead and other heavy metals and do not contain any toxic chemicals at all. There are also inks that are specifically designed for modern high speed automatic screen printing presses.Pre-mixed and ready to use inks are also used for printing t-shirts on stretchable fabric, which produces a discharged-like effectwhen printed. They are a ready to use opaque printing base for dark coloured fabrics and but provide a much softer hand. Non-formaldehyde type of binder is also used for glitter printing on cotton or polyester and cotton blended woven fabrics. This type of colour is particularly designed for glitter printing because it has an excellent transparency and surface shine. These are usually fast colour and have good elasticity.