T-shirt printing can be customised in unique ways by introducing the use of specialty printing methods and inks. Here we will list a list of different methods and materials you can use for your specialty t shirt printing.
The puff additive has the effect of a raised, slightly spongy texture. It is the most common of the more 3-D t-shirt inks. Puff can also be combined with other specialty inks such as foil or suede. Puff can be stippled, used at a half-tone, and with multiple colors. At printing, there is a higher risk of puckering and cracking, but a successful print is very durable and can be cured with just one run through in the dryer.
Flock resembles felt in texture and weight. When used in moderation it can create both visual and tactile interest on a t-shirt design.
Suede ink looks like suede leather, but no animals were harmed in the printing of your suede shirt–it is just ink! It is thick, so it shouldn’t be used for huge designs.
Chromatic inks change color in different conditions, like a cuttlefish! These three varieties of ink respond to different conditions:
o Photochromatic ink: light-sensitive
o Thermochromatic ink: heat-sensitive
o Hydrochromatic: water-sensitive (How cool it that? Very cool!)
Like gold leaf, this ink is metallic and thin. It isn’t applied directly onto the fiber of a t-shirt. Instead, a layer of foil adhesive or a cold-peel heat transfer is layered underneath. The shimmer can be controlled by using more or less heat during application.
Blistering inks sort of look like the buckling that occurs on the vinyl print of a really worn out t-shirt, where indents randomly occur across the swath of ink. It is a heavy ink that should not be used for large areas. Conversely, it does not do well with detail so should be used only for indistinct shapes rather than lines.
This is ink printed all over the t-shirt, almost like a second skin! Though a low texture ink may be used, with such high coverage you can expect to notice a change in the texture of the fabric.
Glitter, crystallina and shimmer inks can be used to add some pizazz to a design. These inks come in metallic colors and rainbow colors. Metallic clear inks are also available for printing over a pre-existing design for added gleam.
Like a construction worker’s vest, a reflective ink is visible in all lights, but really stands out with a flash of light in the night.
Discharged inks are those that remove dye from the textile, like bleach. Because they print by removing color instead of adding it, the resulting image has no texture. On darker shirts the color may be a tint of the original color, especially in the case of royal blue and kelly green dyes, when the image will be a light blue or light green. This type of screen printing can only be used on 100% cotton t-shirts that are treated with a reactive dye. Instead of adhering by absorption, reactive dyes bond to the textile with a chemical reaction whereby the molecule and the fiber form a covalent bond. Besides being compatible with discharged inks, this type of dye is more permanent than absorption dye. Discharged inks are not the most versatile, but they age well and have little effect on the wearability of the t-shirt.