Creation of Prepare for Fight

  • by the ThreadStaff
  • posted Aug 16, 2006

Over the past 2 months, we have been working on a new printing method for this Select tee. We are using a new process that mixes water based discharge ink with chino plastisol inks to create a tee shirt that can have an enormous print area but still be soft to the touch. As this process has never been used before, this tee will have certain imperfections that need to be explained before you purchase. This is also why the price has been reduced to $15 from the normal $25 Select price.

Here are the imperfections I will be covering in this little story:

  • The colors may vary from garment to garment and from what you see on screen
  • Colors will change after the garment has been washed.
  • You may see lines of white around pieces of the design, small blotches of color over portions of the design and jagged edges in the linework on the design

Color variation

On dark colored tee shirts, white is first printed under the entire design and the design is then printed on top of that. Like so:

This creates more vibrant colors but also makes the ink coverage thicker and harder and makes you sweaty. With this new process, the water based discharge actually takes the pigment out of the garment without leaving a bunch of ink behind. The problem is all garments discharge differently due to different dying processes used by the shirt manufacturer.

Here is an example of two American Apparel men's mediums each discharged using the exact same process. Notice the difference.

And here is an example of how those two different discharge results look after the design has been printed over them. Notice the difference in colors.

Color changes after wash

Also because of the discharge process, after your first wash the ink colors will change slightly. The initial wash wears away some of the dye, softens up the design and gets rid of the extra tack on the inside of the shirt that is used with this process. The garment should be washed before being worn.

Here is an example of the color change after a wash. The top version is the one that has been washed.

Registration lines, color blotches and jagged linework

There will be various other imperfections with the print. After the discharge is printed, the garment must be dried before the rest of the design is printed. This can shrink the garment a milimeter or two causing registration issues and jagged linework. The blotches and jagged linework also occur because the chino inks are so thin that they sometimes bleed before they are dried. Tack is used to secure the garment to the print press and the discharge inks degrade the tack. This can cause the garment to shift a bit while printing which also leads to these 3 problems.

Below, from left to right are examples of 1) Registration lines 2) Color blotches and 3) Jagged linework.

Using this process in the future

It is unbelievable how soft a print this process yields. After a few washes, the design feels as if it is just part of the shirt, you can hardly even feel the ink at all. We plan to perfect this method of printing and print more select designs using it.

Printing on a red shirt was probably a bad idea for our first try using this new method. Red is the hardest pigment to take out of a garment. We still decided to go ahead with a production print despite the problems we had because we actually kind of like the imperfections and how worn the design feels. Just be aware that there WILL BE imperfections in the design if you purchase this shirt.

We have plans to reprint this design on black which will help with all of the problems we've had so far. Keep in mind that the black version will be priced normally.

Watch this
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skaw profile pic Staff

That was written in the first paragraph, silly!

This is also why the price has been reduced to $15 from the normal $25 Select price.


It doesn't look bad at all after its washed. Still looks awesome.
But hey, good job on this!

tracerbullet profile pic Alumni

sounds like an awesome new process


wow interesting new process
i like how it looks

bananaphone profile pic Alumni

"This is also why the price has been reduced to $15 from the normal $25 Select price."

arzie13 profile pic Alumni

After it is washed it looks and feels like the design has been dyed into the shirt.. It is pretty awesome!!! So soft.

Papaprime profile pic Alumni

Seems like a lot of con's to get to the pro.

No complaining, as the end result justifies the means.

bananaphone profile pic Alumni

I think the disfigurations of the design are a good thing, makes them all unique.

hogboy profile pic Alumni

ha cool finally some discharge printing... sweetness

OlliRudi profile pic Alumni

i´ve gotta try this

OlliRudi profile pic Alumni

the handmade look is so in right now.

.moto. profile pic Alumni

this softness you speak of makes me want to get it...


i'm excited about this. but i think i'll wait for the next one as this design isn't really my style.

Skipper6745 profile pic Alumni

Oh wow, those imperfections make it look even better, oddly enough.

I couldn't contain myself, I just gobbled up one of these with 3 other shirts.

travis76 profile pic Alumni

those imperfections make it neato. the quicker it wears down, the better, as long as it doesn't crack.

the_boxkite profile pic Alumni

i like this a lot. now we can all be unique!!!!....but sort of the same......? :)


I think this process will be awesome once you perfect it an all! I can't imagine what "my little pony" or "no peeking" and the likes would have turned out like with this style of printing. I say you test it out on another KENNNNNNNNNN design next!

ziggy1283 profile pic Alumni

Awesome. If only I liked this select tee : (



Joe Johnson

i no i touched jake hicks after he washed the shirt, its smooooth


A few of those pictures up there look like it was spray painted! :)

benny breaks

soft is so hot right now. soft.


I like the look of the shirt but have already bought quite a few this week, anyone know if there is any likelihood that select shirts will be reprinted?


So threadless is both genius and innovative!


it looks great still


thanks for the info.

but this "select tee" is really ordinary.


Neat. What a cool idea. This design is really not me, but I'd buy a different design that used this method just to see the texture. I'm starting to really like the giant designs.

Shouldn't the warning be on the stock chart page, too, tho? I know that's where I do my shopping.


so how much will this be when the sale is over?

mezo profile pic Alumni

This blog said discharge!


id rather pay a few more $$$ for a better quality

skaw profile pic Staff

Traut, it's a trade off. If better quality means softer, smoother print than this is better. If better quality means no hiccups in the print but thick ink coverage, we'd have to print it the old way.

We are perfecting this method and as we said, it will be printed flawlessly on black using this method in the near future.


yea, i don't mind feeling the ink, though. Doesn't bother me. But whatever floats your boat threadless!


maybe your doing something i didnt catch but this process isnt all that new is it - we've been using discharge/waterbased/plastisol inks together for a few years now and i know other printers in the area have done the same
we've also used foils/gels/puff/high desnisty with the other inks

it can be a pain in the ass and it does yeild a much softer feel - it seems like most action sports clients prefer this method these days

the_boxkite profile pic Alumni

isn't the point that it's new to threadless....



Pure Genious! You guys have done it again!

OlliRudi profile pic Alumni

i kinda want one with just the bleached area


nice explanation:)


what a cool process!

i wouldn't mind the "imperfections"... makes every shirt unique


Nice, you guys rock. I learned something and I've just got up!
And I love the imperfections. They make the design more edgy.

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