Water-based textile inks 101

It’s been a while since we’ve done a little Tales of Print Room blog post! Today we’re going to be doing the 101 on our water-based textile inks. We have engineered our own formula of water based inks which are completely white spirit and hydrocarbon free meaning they are safe for home, professional and classroom use. We choose not to use plastisol inks as they contain PVC and phthalates, which are harmful to the environment. Our water based inks wash off of screens using water and don’t need any harmful solvents such as turps or thinners which means the inks are safe for the environment, us and of course you! We have perfected the formula of our own range of water based inks so that each time you print the ink disperses evenly, lays down opaquely and lasts. 

How we mix our inks:

First off we pick our base (standard, opaque white, opaque clear; we’ll go more into each of these later on!).

We’ve got our own little formula books of ink colours, measured down to the gram

On a scale we meticulously measure each drop of concentrated [is that what it’s called?] ink (we have a few standard colours; [names of colours of the inks]) into the chosen base

Once all the colours are in it’s mixing time! We use a [name of tool] to hand mix our inks. It’s really quite satisfying to see the colour come to life!

For control purposes we always do a little swatch on a piece of fabric to ensure it matches the intended colour.

With this process we can mix up pretty much any colour you can imagine!

Different bases:

Let’s talk about the different bases we have.


  • This is the base for all of our standard inks (the ones that are perfect for printing on light coloured fabrics!). It’s a clear type base and morphs into whatever concentrate ink you put in.
  • The base for standard inks contain no solids. So it transforms into whatever ink is put into it.

Opaque white

  • This is one of the bases for our opaque inks (the ones you’d use to print on darker coloured fabrics). Our opaque white base is as its name suggests; opaque and white. Whatever colour we mix into it will blend in with the white. This will change the colour of the ink slightly; it will take on more a pastel colour.
  • The base for opaque white contains the solid titanium.

Opaque clear

  • This is our other base for our opaque inks
  • The base is clear and whatever colour we mix into it will remain unchanged. Perfect for when we want to match say a Pantone chip colour exactly.
  • The base for opaque clear contains clay. This gives it the same opacity as opaque whites without changing the colour of the ink.

Caring for your inks at home:

So you’ve bought some inks from us, how do you take care of them?

How to store it:

  • Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight

What if your ink gets a little thick:

  • For most inks you can simply use an electric hand mixer (ones you use when trying to bake a cake) to mix it. This will loosen all the binding properties and return it back to its original state
  • For some opaque inks you may want to add a drop or two of thinner [what is it?] during the remixing process

We hope this answered some of your questions about our inks! If you have any other questions comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

During this crazy time we are still able to mix up inks and have them sent out to you and for as long as we are allowed to we will be in the factory so feel free to place your order online or via phone.

Stay safe!
Team at Publisher

One thought on “Water-based textile inks 101

  1. Nadeena Dixon says:

    Hey Guys

    Thanks for sending me your latest email
    with information about your lovely Inks .

    Im Nadeena Dixon an Indigenous multi Disciplinary artist based in Sydney from
    Wiradjuri ,Gadigal and Yuin Nations.
    id love to collaborate on a project with you guys .
    i’m starting a live Facebook channel soon
    and thought I would reach out to see
    if you would like to be a Sponsor for my channel
    and provide the Inks for me to do live projects with .

    I’ve just build a Red Bubble Shop called Dingo and Emu
    hope you like my work ( I’m a digital Media Tech Specialist/content creator so will film and edit my content )
    My previous client include FaceBook AIR ( Artist In Residency Program )
    City of Sydney Etc .
    I’m currently casual lecturer in Indigenous methodology in Artand Design
    UTS School of Art and Design

    Kind regards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *