Lilac City Print and Design


Our Process

Lilac City Print & Design’s default printing method is water-based.  We use water-based ink for a few key reasons:

  1. The way your shirt feels after it’s been washed.  It has what’s called a “soft hand” feel.  Water-based ink penetrates the fibers of the shirt and in most cases you can’t feel it’s there.  Some colors (white, white, oh and white) have more solids to make it more opaque so those colors will have a slight hand feel but still much less than plastisol.  
  2. The print moves with you.  Because the ink is a part of the apparel, it forms and stretches just like the material it’s printed on.  This is a great feature for stretchy or fitted pieces.  
  3. Waterbased ink is easier on the environment.  Nuff said.
  4. More options.  With water-based ink, most of the colors are transparent.  That means we can play with wet on wet or even incorporate the shirt color into the design.  Or, we can print an underbase like traditional plastisol methods and get vibrant colors on dark shirts.

Glad you asked.  Instead of writing a for-ev-ver and asking you to read it, take a look at the infographic to the right and this awesome youtube video from the folks at Craftsy: 


The ink is made from different compounds.

Plastisol is basically plastic.  It floats on top of the shirt and feels like a very thin plastic sticker on the apparel. 

Pros: It is incredibly long lasting and opaque. 

Cons: It can crack if stretched too far, and feels like plastic.


Water-based ink: The pigments are suspended in a water based compound.  It penetrates the apparel’s fibers instead of floating on top of them. 

Pros: You can barely feel it’s there-if at all.  It stretches with clothing. 

Cons: Many colors are transparent, requiring an underbase.

Easy!  Just request plastisol and we will be happy to accommodate. 

If you are budget conscious, have a small run (less than 10 shirts) with a bold, chunky 1 color design then HTV might be a good option.  It has a thicker, plastisol feel, no screen setup fees and often outlasts the shirts.

Our printing press is a smaller press with limited colors.  We can pull off some amazing results blending inks but we are limited.  That however, doesn’t mean we can’t get you the results you deserve.  We work with a specialized transfer company that can do infinite colors.  They send us the transfers and we press them to whatever apparel you need.

That is the next technique we are going to master.  

Discharge literally takes the dye from the shirt fibers (imagine like bleach, but not bleach) and then we can put another color into those fibers.  There are awesome results with discharge.


Reach Us

(509) 631-9508

Location :

Spokane, WA 99223

Email :