Specialty Inks can Take your Print to the Next Level

If you’re looking for ways to make your prints standout, or if you have a particular result in mind, then you can’t go passed specialty inks.

Omen has a number of options available to you when printing your design. Normally the standard ink used in screen printing is plastisol ink, which is part PVC and part plasticiser. It requires heating to cure, and once this has gone through the oven, the ink will be able to accommodate some stretch on clothing without affecting the print. There are also ‘stretch additives’ available to increase this even further for high stretch garments like leggings.

If you’re wanting to move away from traditional plastisol ink you will usually have a particular visual or textural effect in mind. Customers will often opt for different inks to reduce ‘hand feel’ which is the way the ink feels on the garment when you run your hand across it. There are options to reduce this or avoid it entirely. Take a look below at some of the inks we commonly recommend to our customers:

Metallic Plastisol

Biggest Benefit: Visual Impact

Suitable for: All fabric types / on darker garments a base screen may be required

Metallic plastisol is also called shimmer or glitter plastisol. It is ink infused with a glitter to create a metallic effect. Gold, silver, copper, gunmetal and many other metallic shades are commonly achieved, although we can create any shade of metallic including pinks, greens etc.

Water-based Ink/Water Based Screen Printing

Biggest Benefit: Environmentally friendly, low hand feel

Suitable for: 100% Cotton

The biggest selling point of water-based ink is that it’s an environmentally friendly option, free of PVC and phthalates used in plastisol ink. The lack of PVC also means that water-based ink has a softer feel, as well as breathability. This makes it perfect for a range of products from exercise gear to clothing for your street wear brand.


Biggest Benefit: No hand feel, vintage look

Suitable for: 100% Cotton

Additional cost

Discharge is a ink with a bleach additive, which appears very light when first applied. As it goes through the oven the discharge effect will become more opaque as the dye is removed from the garment. This will normally result in an off-white print depending on the original colour of the garment.

Glow in the dark or fluorescent ink

Biggest Benefit: Dramatic visual impact

Suitable for: Most fabrics

Glow in the dark and fluorescent inks provide unique visual effects and can be used to give your products a point of difference. Fluorescents are great for sporting products and glow in the dark inks are great for kids’ garments or illustrated designs. Of course whether to use these specialty inks comes down to the end result you have in mind and personal preference.

Gel Ink

Biggest Benefit: Unique visual impact, subtle appearance

Suitable for: Most fabric

Clear and coloured gel inks can be used to create a high gloss effect. Clear gels can be printed directly onto coloured fabric or a coloured gel can also be printed.

There are also a number of other specialty inks and effects including foils, high-density inks, puff inks and more. If you have any questions about the effects of the inks we’ve discussed here today, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We can help guide you towards a solution for the end result you have in mind.

To get in touch with our team please contact us here.