Bad Mojo Design has officially begun the transition to water based inks with our first 3 print jobs in June.
Water based inks leave a thinner ink deposit on the shirt, and typically have a softer, “vintage” look in the final product.
Another advantage to using water based inks is the reduced environmental impact. Instead of using expensive solvents to clean up conventional plastisol (vinyl) inks, all that is required to clean up is a spray bottle of water.
The thinner nature of water based inks makes for some minor adjustment in my printing technique, in both handling of the squeegee and maintaining a good ink flow (water based inks dry on the screen if you work too slow!)
The first 2 of the jobs printed in June (photo above) were white ink on black shirts and medium grey ink on black shirts. Getting good opacity (depth of color) with light colored inks on dark shirts is often a challenge. If you have ever used a white crayon on black construction paper you know what the results look like. It took a little bit of screen print magic, but the final results on both of these jobs were both very satisfying.
The third job used a dark purple ink on light grey shirts, and provided excellent opacity, and nice sharp, bold prints. The watery consistency of the ink pushed me to work very fast and it was an enjoyable experience watching those shirts fly off the press.
Judging by the 3 jobs executed so far, the decision to transition to water based inks was a smart decision environmentally, financially, and creatively.