How to Print Waterproof Labels
A common question for us here at Planet Label is how best to go about creating a waterproof or water resistant label using an inkjet or laser printer and which material to use. Many of these customers are using the labels for skin care products which contain oils and or waxes, others may be looking to create custom water bottle labels for a party or event. In any case, Planet Label has what you need, and in this post will explain which products and methods to use for either desktop laser or inkjet printers.
Inkjet vs. Laser
Before choosing the material that you would like to use it is most important to confirm the type of printer you intend to use in producing your labels. Water Resistant Inkjet Vinyl is well suited for most desktop inkjet printers, however is not recommended for use with laser printers. Vinyl is a very pliable film with excellent resistance to moisture, however it has a very low resistance to heat making the material unsuitable for use with most laser printers.
Our vinyl material features a proprietary coating on the surface of the material, which allows the liquid inks from an inkjet printer to adhere and dry to the touch immediately. Does this mean the label is waterproof? Not exactly. Composition of inkjet inks can vary from one printer and or ink manufacturer to another. Some inks will resist moisture and abrasion better than others.
What can I do to further protect the printed surface of the vinyl or paper label? In a professional digital printing environment most films and papers would be treated with either a varnish or a clear film over laminate to protect the print surface from moisture and abrasion. The same can be done with labels produced on an inkjet printer and at a very low cost. Most Do-It-Yourself outlets offer clear protective spray-on products. One of the most popular is a product manufactured by Krylon® call Preserve-It®. This product is designed to protect print surfaces from moisture, UV exposure which can cause fading and yellowing. In addition to waterproofing the printed surface, this product will also produce a professional looking glossy surface as well.
Unlike inkjet printers which use liquid inks, laser printers use static electricity, a series of drums and of course a laser to adhere a dry powdery substance called toner to your labels. In order to adhere toner to the label surface a great deal of heat is needed, and as result film material choices for laser printers are somewhat limited. To create a water resistant label using a laser printer, Planet Label recommends using our Laser Poly material, which has excellent resistance to both heat and water. Much like the inkjet printable vinyl products, durability of exposed toner on the label surface can be an issue if untreated and exposed to moisture, UV or abrasion. As with inkjet vinyl, Planet Label also recommends the use of Krylon® Preserve-It® to varnish the printed surface.
Things to keep in mind
Too Much Ink (inkjet)
Using an inkjet printer, you may need to adjust media settings to “transparency” or “glossy” in cases where too much ink is being applied. Media type can be found in the advanced settings for your individual printer.
Not Enough Toner (laser)
The same adjustments above may need to be made to your laser printer to achieve acceptable color saturation on film labels. Most laser printers are set to print to copier paper by default, and may need to be adjusted to produce richer color on films. Adjustments to the media type can also be found in the advanced settings for your printer.
Too Much Money
Films are more expensive, whether inkjet or laser printable. If your label is not going to be submerged in liquid or excessive amounts of moisture, blank paper labels (which are less expensive than films) using the varnish technique described above may very well cut your expense of producing the labels in half! If you’re not sure whether paper labels will work for your application, give us a call at 866-252-1520.