OFFICE: (253) 582-4444
PSW10731-A A Street South
Tacoma, WA. 98444

Water base and Discharge Inks

Water base inks are for use on light-colored garments. They provide a very soft hand, as soft as the shirt after one washing. We can do PMS simulations; the color will be matted, not glossy, due to the nature of the ink. With the addition of a penetrate additive, these inks can be printed on the inside of a shirt to show through to the outside for a subtle distressed look.

Discharge inks are water based inks that are designed for use on dark colored garments with discharge dyes. The shirt color is eliminated (discharged) through the drying process, leaving the printed area the natural shirt color, usually tan, although some over dyed shirts may discharge to their original color. Discharge inks can be pigmented to simulate PMS color. Exact PMS matches are difficult with discharge inks and tend to be to the matte color swatch of the ink. Discharge can be used in conjunction with plastisol ink to create a soft hand and vibrant color to achieve the overall design look. All water based and discharge inks are NPT and PVC free.

Non Phthalate Ink (NPT)

Orthophalates have been used for several decades as the main plasticizers in PVC compounds. There are dozens of orthophthalates used today and they give different properties, e.g. cure speed, permanence and viscosity.

PVC textile inks have been used by the screen printing industry for the last 20 years or so and these normally contain one of these orthophthalates.

Federal and state laws went into effect in June of 2009 banning the use of orthophalates in children’s toys and apparel. The specialty bases labeled NPT in the descriptions are phthalate free. Please note that water based and discharge inks do not contain any phthalates.

Pacific sportswear has been using Non phthalate inks for over two years now and our shop is phthalate free.

Specialty Plastisols


Consists of large flakes of a single color suspended in a clear base, best used when overprinting on a base color.


These are large multicolored flakes that have the same application as glitter.


There are two types of silver metallic ink, metallic silver and a polished silver look, Sparkle silver looks more like fine ground glitter. Gold metallic inks are similar to the sparkle silver in appearance. Metallic gold can not be mixed to a PMS simulation and is NPT.


This ink gives a raised look similar to blister base which is harder and smoother in texture. Puff ink is generally used to simulate embroidery and tends to pucker the shirt when large coverage areas are printed with it. This ink can be mixed into a PMS simulation and is NPT.


Gives a raised look similar to puff ink. This ink is used to simulate the look and feel of a leather sewn on patch. It can be mixed into a PMS simulation and is NPT.

Blister Base

This gives a soft raised look with an irregular bubbling effect that simulates a blister in appearance. It can be used to simulate appliqué or used as an under base to provide texture to overprinted colors. Each print will turn out slightly different due to fabric content, ink blistering effect, etc., giving a cool individual look to the art. Not recommended for large coverage areas. Blister base can be mixed into PMS simulations and is NPT.

High Density

This gives a raised 3-D look similar to a die-cut image. It has sharp edges. This ink can be mixed into a PMS simulation and is NPT.


This gives a clear glossy look to the print. Gel is used for over printing simple images to give a glossy 3-D look or printed directly on the shirt to give a tone on tone effect. Best used in small areas to enhance the look and feel of a design or the highlight certain features. This ink is NPT and cannot be mixed to any PMS colors.

Meteor or Rock

This is a version of high density ink that results in a glossy hard finish. This is sometimes referred to as Rock base ink. This ink is NPT and can be mixed to any PMS colors.


This process glues a foil to the garment to give it a metallic look. Best used with water based inks in the surrounding area so that the foil does not stick to them.

Oversized Prints

This is any large print up to a 17.5" x 21" maximum print area.

Super Size Prints

This fills the front of the shirt excluding sleeves 19" x 23" Maximum print area.

4 Color Process

4-color process printing is where you start with finished full-color artwork and have a color separator separate out the three subtractive primary colors of yellow, cyan (process blue), magenta (process red) and black. The artwork will NEVER look better than the original. the print will look a little different on a knitted shirt than it does on a poster or paper. With this process you can come within 80% to 90% of the original. This process works only on white or light colored garments and is not recommended on black or dark at all. The four colors are semi transparent and blend together to make up different colors in the image. Great for photorealistic images on white or light shirts and requires good separations, screen making and printing technique. The best process prints have additional spot colors. Prints may be a little duller than a simulated or index print.

4 Color Process on Darks

4-color process can be done on darks with the addition of a discharge base and a spot white making it a 6 color print. Ideally you will want to use index printing described below on darks.


Works on light and dark shirts. Typically requires more colors than simulated or process color (especially if going on black shirts). Very easy to print because all the dots are the same size and you are printing square dots next to square dots rather than halftone dots on top of halftone dots. Separations are easy to do in Adobe Photoshop and screen making and printing can be forgiving. This technique is very production friendly and easy to print. Images can have a slightly grainy (stippled) look. Works well for spot color also.

Simulated Process Color

This is also known as "fake"; process color. Simulated Process color images have a photorealistic look but are not printed with the process colors of CMYK. They look like process, smell like process, feel like process but aren't process. The color separations for simulated process color are made up of halftone images of spot colors like red, yellow, blue, etc. They are often called "tonal"; or "channel"; separations. Simulated process separations can be printed on light and dark shirts and are generally done in Adobe Photoshop.

Because the inks for simulated process color are generally all-purpose, semi-transparent plastisol they give you a bright print even when printed on an underbase of white ink. When done correctly, simulated process prints can be very photorealistic with smooth gradations and bright colors.


Index         inside hoody print

Various Placements

1.    Side seams

2.    Neck seams

3.    Over zippers

4.    Hoods and pockets of hooded sweat shirts

5.    Inside the hood of a hooded sweat shirt

6.     Sleeve

7.    Lower back print

8.    Neck labels and inside neck tags

Specialty Garments

1.    Jackets

2.    50/50 poly cotton blends

3.    100% polyester fabrics

4.    Nylon fabrics

5.    Stretch fabrics such a Lycra or Spandex

Downloadable Documents

These documents can help you sell to your customers.