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My customers have been asking for water-based inks. Should I switch?

Answer

Find out what, exactly, your customers are looking for when they say this. I find that they often have no idea what they are talking about.

I've been experimenting with water-based inks that are so safe you can eat them, but water-based ink systems are not necessarily more ecological and may even contain chemicals that are potentially more damaging to the environment or dangerous to workers than plastisol inks.

Some folks want softer prints and the concept of “water” sounds soothing and soft. Water-based prints actually vary from extremely soft hand to acrylic inks that are almost like a hard shell, and have a more plastic-feel than plastisol. On the other hand, there are additives that can be added to plastisols that, when coupled with good printing techniques, can make plastisol prints have a very soft hand.

For printing inks, start with proper use, proper storage and proper disposal whether you want an ecological solution or soft hand solution. Beyond that, figure out some goals and evaluate the entire situation before making a decision.

For more information on testing and exploring different ink options, click here.

Mirror Image Inc., Inkkitchen.com