Ryan Moor

Testing Alternative Underbases to Plastisol White

Ryan Moor | December 14, 2021

How to choose and test alternative under base’s to white plastisol ink.

While it’s true that white plastisol is the go to under base ink of choice when it comes to 95% of screen prints, sometimes using an alternative underbase could not only save you white plastisol ink (a hot commodity in 2021!), but also provide a better print for your customers. In this video Ryan travels to Fingers Duke in Bremerton Washington to test two underbase options, black plastisol, and a discharge underbase. Check out this video to see which option worked out better on a heathered grey garment.

The Result?

Derek at Fingers Duke had the right call on this one, I figured that since most heathered garments used a black polyester they wouldn’t discharge that well and combined with using a black underbase on the design would provide enough mat-down and coverage to use as an underbase. Though black ink sometimes can work as a good blocker when correctly formulated with carbon, traditional spot black plastisol doesn’t fair well as a traditional underbase.  Black plastisol is typically thinner than whites, and lacks the body to mat-down fibers as well as also darkening the overprint colors on top of the print, especially red. Derek’s selection of a U-Base discharge worked much better for the final result.

Unlike discharge white which is thicker and can break apart, or discharge base which is thinner and does not provide any pigment, a U-Base or Under Base discharge mixes the best two attributes of these inks to provide an out of the bucket solution for a lot of jobs. U-Base is thin enough to soak into the garment and plastisol or water base can be printed over, but also has some white pigment in it which allows the printer to print on a wider range of garments like the heather grey we used in this video. If you’re not utilizing discharge underbase as a tool in your shed, it can be a great way to expand what your shop can do and give you an alternative to plastisol white if it becomes hard to get.

Looking for more info to help your plastisol supply chain issues, check out Brian Lessard’s first technical article for MADE where he explores solutions to conserve and source plastisol ink in an ever changing market. From conserving and recycling ink to how to expand your ink systems and resource base, Brian breaks down some of the best tricks he has learned in this new MADE Lab Tech Article – Read more here.

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