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What's 'discharge ink'?!

I love this design and I'm now seriously considering buying my first ever Select design - being a student and paying for UK shipping normally means the $25 price tag rules them out! - but was just wondering what 'discharge ink' is before I buy it?!

(I'm a student doctor, so the word 'discharge' makes me think of rather more unpleasant things than t-shirts...)

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ir0cko profile pic Alumni

i don't know what it is exactly, but i know i like it.


when boy ink gets really, really excited...

Quag profile pic Alumni

It makes the ink feel like it is one with the shirt, rather than being bulky and grainy. It makes for a very smooth and soft experience. The selects are definitely nice in my opinion.

ladykat profile pic Alumni

it's a way of printing that keeps the surface of the shirt soft, supposedly it's great for larger prints on dark tees

read more about it here

(threadless described the process when they first tried it out)


I think it's the process that after every wash, the weight of the ink (like when you roll your fingers against the design) dissolves, and blends into the actual shirt. It's not supposed to lose quality, but like the design is part of the shirt, not on it.

ladykat profile pic Alumni

also, is your name really kat smith?

because my name is kate (short for katherine, i've also been called kat before) smith... though i've been hyphenating my middle and last name :-)


Yup, it most definitely is Kat (short for Kathryn) Smith - nice to meet another one on here, lol! My middle name's also Louise, which in the UK 20-odd years ago was apparently the middle name given to every other girl - so with that and my surname too I don't feel very individual =S lol


They should pre-wash these kind of shirts first.

ladykat profile pic Alumni

i know the feeling! part of the reason i'm hyphenating my middle & last name is because i wanted to be a little more unique

hell, catherine zeta-jones did it! before she started hyphenating she was catherine jones. just as common as us!

badnobe profile pic Alumni

there's actually no ink, they just faded out the color of the shirt to make it look like it's printed.that's what i not really sure.


Bad Nobe is right. Instead of printing a colour 'paint' on the surface of the shirt, the design is printed with more like a bleach, that takes out the colour of the original t-shirt colour. It can also include a dye to change the colour, but it is dying the actual shirt fibres, instead of being a surface paint. So the design never 'fades', 'cracks' or anything. Definitely better than paint. Hope that helps!


haha, using the word paint is a "no-no" in the screenprinting industry. We call it ink. But you are correct. Discharge printing is use to bring the colored shirt back to its original "gray good" look. Its not a new technique by any means but it is becoming more popular as people want the "no feel" print on their shirts.


Hey i'm a Catherine too!. i'm French Canadian, and my last name(Gauthier) is one of the most popular here. I'm a kind of Kathryn Smith :)


Lol - I'm feeling very good now; not only do I now have some concept of what discharge ink is, I also don't feel quite so alone in my 'grrrr, isn't having such a common name really irritating?!' suffering!


I just bought E.T.A. (and I was kind of wincing a bit at the price too) but it's so worth it. It feels SO much nicer than regular threadless shirts, which are really good quality in the first place.

The ink seems to be sitting IN the fabric rather than on top of it, so it's much softer and not stiff at all.

I'd say go for it! :)

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