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UV White Ink Printing

You may or may not know that with our flatbed UV printing machine, we have the ability to print with white ink as well as normal CMYK (full colour) ink.

Why do we need to print white ink you might ask?

Well, on a normal piece of white material, the printed image has vibrancy and ‘punch’. When printing onto a clear material however the result looks rather like a stained glass window (because there is no opaque white background behind the ink).

If we are printing onto materials like clear self adhesive or self cling vinyl then white ink is essential. Imagine, for example that we want to produce a self-cling sticker for use inside a shop window. We want the sticker to fit inside the window but we want the printed image to be viewable to those potential customers walking by in the street outside. How do we do this?…….

Self cling or clear adhesive films have a peel-off release liner on one side. This is the sticky or the self adhesive side. Obviously, we cannot print onto the release paper so we need to print onto the back of the product.

The first step is to print our image as a mirrored version of the original artwork onto the reverse or printable part of the film. This means that when the film is stuck to the inside of the window, everything looks the right way around!

We use our UV white ink printing to overlay a flood of ink onto the back of the printed image as part of the printing process. This means that our sticker does not looked like a see-through stained-glass window anymore!

The printer we use is called Vutek GS. It is one of the best white ink printing machines on the market because it is capable of printing not one but two layers of white ink behind our CMYK print. This means the white is very solid rather than being slightly milky as is the case with some white ink UV printers.

Another application for white ink printing is for light boxes. Many companies use a slightly smoky (translucent) film for printing lightbox graphics. The smoked sheet is placed underneath clear acrylic. With white ink printing, we can print directly onto the clear acrylic sheet so that there is no need to trap a separate backlit print underneath. Backlit prints that are output directly onto the acrylic and backed with two layers of white are far superior to ink jet prints onto translucent film.

There are loads of ways that white ink printing can be incorporated into your artwork and setting up the files correctly requires some knowledge. If you are taking advantage of our graphic design service then we can handle this for you. Other customers might prefer to produce their own print ready artwork and the following document explains in detail how to prepare your files.