Base vs. No Base


To achieve vibrant colours on dark coloured garments it is often required to have a base layer. This is because screen printing inks aren't opaque. Instead of doing multiple layers of a colour to build up its intensity we use a base layer so that the print isn't thick and is comfortable for you to wear. Without the base layer, you may find that the texture/colour of the garment will show through the print. This base layer is usually something customers do not plan on, however we recommend this to help you achieve your vision. 

A base layer is generally a white or light colour that is printed onto the garment first. The other colours will be built on top. A good base layer is one that is invisible- don't fret! We do lots of test prints before production to ensure that every layer matches up and the base layer isn't bleeding out the edges.

Sequence of screens with base layer.

No base layer.

With base layer.

Here is a video that shows hands on how it is done. As you can see the artworks line up so that the base layer can not be seen in the final product. Also notice how vibrant the yellow colour is. This wouldn't have been made possible if it weren't for the white underbase.

This just goes to show that an under base can really make your print stand out!

If you are printing an all-white print onto a black t-shirt. this does not require a base layer. To achieve a really bright white, we just do two hits of the white ink to build it up.

Other tips:

  • If you're on a tight budget, it might be worth it to consider the colour of the garment you are printing on. The cheapest will always be to have a dark print on a light coloured garment as you eliminate the need of a base layer.
  • You can never go wrong with an all white print on a dark coloured garment! It'lll always stand out!

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