Professional digital textile printing v’s Quick and Easy printing

It’s all down to the dyes!

At the Silk Bureau we pride ourselves on sourcing the best fabrics and dyes so that we can provide professional results for our discerning customers. Sure, you can go down the  Pigment ink route, you’ll initially get a print back that looks okay on the surface but look at little closer. Is it vibrant? Does it last long? Does it have a professional finish? Did that pretty pattern fade and rub off after the first wash?

Some print companies offer pigments because it is simpler for them – but is it best for you?


Let’s investigate the options.

Industrial quality Reactive Dye Inks

Firstly, we select the best Reactivenon-toxic water-based dyes that have been approved by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). These dyes have been produced to the highest standards under controlled conditions. By using these dyes and the printing process involved, we can typically achieve superior colour vibrancy, light and wash fastness. The colour is deeper and far more intense and so it reproduces your artwork more accurately. Our results far outweigh the chalky, short-lived prints that are achieved with Pigment inks.

Next, we use quality AA grade fabrics. A chemical coating has to be applied directly onto the fabric so that the Reactivedye can bind into the fibres; a cheap alternative just won’t take it. As the dye is bound to the core of the fabric threads it gives a lasting colour fastness.

Achieving the best results using Reactivedyes takes time. The whole process of using these dyes is lengthy as processing requires intense steaming to fix the dye and extensive washing to complete the unification of colour to fabric.


We pre-coat, print, steam to fix, wash and iron.

paint printsPigment Inks – Not available at the Silk Bureau

Seen as the easy way to print. As the name suggests the inks contain pigments of colour. These unfortunately can only reach a limited colour gamut. So, if you are serious about the colour in your design, you may be disappointed if your colour can’t be achieved.

Often Pigmentinks can be used on cheaper un-treated fabrics, offering an great initial cost and time saving. The artwork is printed directly on to the raw fabric.

After printing the inks are dry baked to the surface of the fabric to fix them. Sitting on top of the fibres, the colour can’t penetrate the fabric like a Reactivedye ink will. Which means, it won’t tolerate repeated wet washing.  With poor durability in colour and wash fastness this method of processing is ideal for products with a limited shelf life.

It’s a much faster, easier and cheaper production process. After baking, that’s it. Production is complete. The simplified production process are viewed as a benefit by some print companies because of the lower cost of labour and processing equipment, but we believe it is a shortcut at the clients expense.

Disperse Dye Inks – also called Dye Sublimation Inks

We use these for all our Polyester fabrics and it is an excellent method of printing for products that need to be hard wearing. Our inks give excellent colour vibrancy and faithfully reproduce a wide colour gamut.

The artwork is first printed onto a special paper using Dye Sublimation inks. To transfer the print from paper onto the fabric it passes through a heat press. The intense heat turns the dye to a gaseous state and that’s where the magic happens. Combined with extreme pressure the colour is forced and absorbed into the polyester fibres. When cool the colour becomes locked with in the fibres creating a highly durable wash and light fast finish. You can wash it, leave it outside and you’ll still have an impressive colourful print.

Considered to be one of the most ecologically efficient methods of printing, we aim to use recycled paper which after use, we again recycle. There is no excess ink and the heat press does not use water.

It is faster and more efficient on many levels, and produces prints that meet stringent commercial light and wash fastness standards.

Professional Results

With over 30 years of specializing in traditionaland digital textile printing we have a thorough knowledge of the business and are recognized as the leading printer for the fashion and interior market professionals.

By always insisting on using superior products we can be confident in providing you with the professional look and feel that your finished product deserves.

Best quality inks, best quality fabrics, best quality prints.

Printed Silk