CB21-092 - How to print ink on vinyl

How to print ink on vinyl

How do you print on vinyl?

Many crafters use inkjet printers to print ink on their vinyl projects. Laser printers are also a suitable option that you may wish to try. Alternatively, a vinyl die cut machine will work if you are creating simple designs.

Vinyl is an immensely popular branch of crafting. It’s a great way to get repeated, professional-looking designs to adhere to a wide variety of products. 

However, you need to know what you’re doing to ensure you get high-quality prints. 

Luckily for you, I’ll show you how to print on Vinyl. I’ll show you which printers are best for vinyl printing and how to seal your vinyl. With that in mind, let’s look at how to print ink on vinyl.

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How Do You Use Inkjet Printers To Print On Vinyl?

Inkjet printers can print on printable vinyl papers which come in sticker sheets or printable vinyl sheets. Most inkjet printers can print on A4 vinyl sheets, so you’ll need a larger printer for bigger projects. Perform a test print before printing your final project.

Select Printable Vinyl Paper

There are two kinds of printable vinyl papers. You can buy printable vinyl sticker sheets or just printable vinyl sheets. The sticker sheets have extra adhesive on the back and tend to be more hard-wearing.

Choose whichever is more suitable for your product. Both tend to be readily available and fairly easy to source.

If you want to print your own vinyl designs, ensure that you’re using the right kind of paper. It must be print receptive. This means it has a film coating that will take the ink and hold it.

If you just try to print on ordinary vinyl, you will find that your ink does not take. Ink on ordinary vinyl will smear and come off immediately. 

Inkjet Printer Considerations

You will also need a printer. An ordinary inkjet printer will suffice for this project. You do not need an oversized machine as long as you are printing on A4 vinyl sheets.

If you want to move on to larger projects later, you can always get a bigger machine. It’s best to start with a small, cheap printer. See if you like printing on vinyl and you’re happy with the results before buying a fancy one.

Print and Cut Your Vinyl Project

Once you have your supplies, get your design ready on your computer. Hook up the computer to the printer, and then print the design. It’s a good idea to run a test sheet first to check everything looks good.

Finally, cut the printed images out. You may wish to invest in a machine for this, but good quality scissors will also work. You should have a sharp pair so that you get a nice, clean edge.

A razor blade or sharp craft knife will also work for cutting out designs. It can be a time-consuming process, so consider getting a cutting machine if you do a lot of vinyl printing.

Can I Print On Vinyl With A Laser Printer?

A laser printer will also work for printing on vinyl. Although most people prefer inkjet printers and they tend to be cheaper, a laser-printed image should look fine. If you already have a laser printer, feel free to use this instead.

Not every laser printer makes very sharp images, so do a test run before printing multiple sheets. If you are happy with the quality, you can proceed. If you aren’t, consider buying an inkjet printer instead, as this may give you a better result.

What Kind Of Ink Do You Use To Print On Vinyl?

You may want to use pigment ink if you want your vinyl to last outside. It is resistant to UV and water, so it will stand up to sun and rain. Pigment ink is the best option for durable products.

However, you can just use inkjet ink if that’s what you have. You should be aware that the product will not last as well. This is particularly true if it gets wet or is left in the sun.

You can make inkjet vinyls more durable by laminating them, but you may still find that pigment inks are better. If you want a really durable product, use both pigment inks and lamination.

Can You Print Straight On Vinyl Material?

You shouldn’t try to print directly onto vinyl material, rather than printable vinyl papers. Your printer won’t cope well with straight vinyl material as it isn’t generally designed to be run through a printer. It may be too thick and cause blockages.

If you want to print on vinyl, you will need to buy the dedicated printable papers. Running standard vinyl through a standard printer may break the printer and ruin your material.

How Do You Seal Printable Vinyl?

You can seal your printable vinyls to make them last better by spraying them with a suitable clear gloss. You should do this in a ventilated area and wear a mask to prevent yourself from breathing in any spray. Eye protection is also advisable.

Once your vinyls have been printed, you should put some protective material behind them. This will stop the spray from sticking to the surface you are working on.

When you have everything ready, spray a thin coat of varnish onto the designs. Allow it to dry, and then spray another coat on.

It is best to do three coats, allowing it to dry between each. This will maximize the durability of your vinyl. It is optional, but it will help to ensure that it lasts well.

If you do not seal your vinyls, be aware that they may run if they get wet or even damp. They are also more likely to get torn or to fade.

If you don’t want to use a spray gloss, consider using a laminate sheet. This must be done before you cut the vinyls out. You will need to leave the registration marks clear if you are using a cutting machine.

Cut a piece of laminate large enough to cover your image and then press it on, starting from one side. Work slowly and carefully to avoid any bubbles forming. Credit cards or flat edges will work well for removing any bubble formations.

Summary: How to print ink on vinyl

As you can see, inkjet and laser printers can print on vinyl. However, inkjet printers are preferred because of the cost difference. Ideally, your printer can print with pigment ink as pigment ink protects against outside elements better.

Printing on vinyl requires you to have printable vinyl sheets. Most inkjet printers can print up to vinyl sheets size A4. Do not try to print on ordinary vinyl as this can jam your printer.

Your vinyl can be sealed with a clear gloss or laminated sheets.