Water-based ink is an ink made with water rather than plastic or PVC. Water-based inks can be split into two main ingredients, water and pigment.
It serves as a great alternative to plastisol ink in many circumstances. One of the most prominent features of this type of ink is that the base does not include plastic, which makes it a more eco-friendly options. The ink seeps into the garment and dyes the material rather than sitting on top of the fabric. This creates a more consistent feel along with a more vintage look after a few washes.
We tend to use water-based ink as much as possible because it is a most sustainable option we have for printing. We add a mixing agent to the water-based ink to be able to print on darker garments. This ink, called Water-based Discharge, removes the dye within the image area of the garment and re-dyes it the color of the ink.
DISCLAIMER: Because water-based ink is water-based instead of plastic-based, it tends to fade faster on some types of fabrics. This is the sacrifice of having the best hand feel versus a plastisol print with a higher durability. Above is an Allmade Eco shirt printed with a black water-based ink. The right side was printed and washed once, while the left side was washed and dried about 15 times at various spin cycles and temperatures. Washout does occur at a faster rate for water-based inks than plastisol.
Overall, water-base ink is still a great alternative to plastisol and has a better feel and greater impact on the environment.