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What are your standard finishes?

Surface finishing includes different stages that affect the surface of the printed product. There are many reasons why printed sheets would be surface-treated. It gives you the opportunity to create raised areas on the paper, emphasize a picture with partial varnishing, or create metal effects with foiling. Often you surface-treat a printed product to protect it against wear and tear, or laminate it to increase its folding endurance.

Varnishing #

Varnishing is the most common surface treatment and consists of putting a glossy surface on a printed product. Varnish is a liquid just like ordinary printing ink. Varnish can be applied selectively to a printed sheet (partial varnishing) or it can cover all of the sheet. It may be applied in the offset press, via a regular inking unit or a special unit for varnish, or in a dedicated varnishing machine. Varnishing is used mainly for special visual effects, or to make faster off-press processing possible. It can also give extra protection against dirt and wear.

There are three kinds of varnish: Oil-based varnish, water-based varnish, and UV varnish.

Oil-based varnish #

Oil-based varnish is mainly used to create a glossy finish, to protect the print against the effects of postpress processing, and to avoid toning (when the printing ink’s pigments color nonprinting areas after the ink has dried). When you want to protect the printed product, you usually choose a matte varnish, which is invisible. If you want to create a glossy effect, you get a better result with a separate varnishing run once the ink has dried.

machine varnishing

Water-based varnish #

Water-based varnish can be done directly in the offset press and can give a higher gloss than oilprint varnish. It can also yield a high gloss when applied during the same print run as the ink (that is, printed wet-on-wet). Food packaging is a typical use of this technology since dispersion varnish is totally odor-free.

water base finishing

UV varnish #

UV varnishing is another common method, in which the varnish is cured with ultraviolet light. UV varnish can be applied in a thicker layer than the other methods and thus provides a higher gloss and a harder surface.

uv varnishing

Lamination #

Lamination increases protection against dirt, humidity, and wear and tear. Lamination is the process of coating a printed page with a protective plastic foil. The method is also used for aesthetic reasons. There is a variety of laminates, including glossy, matte, soft touch, Anti-scratch lamination etc…

Hot Stamping & Foiling #

Hot stamping or called foiling is done for purely aesthetic reasons. You can create metallic surfaces, metallic colors, or extremely saturated finishes. The coating is thick and covers all, and so gives the product a unique surface feel. The ink or the metal is transferred from the foil to the printed matter with the aid of a warm plate.

paper bag with raise silver logo

Embossing & Debossing #

When you want to create a relief effect in a printed product, you can make use of embossing. Embossing differs from other surface finishes since it is a physical reshaping of the paper. Embossing can cause the print to stand out (positive embossing) or to sink down (debossing).

custom gift bags with embossing logo

Silk-screening #

Silk screen printing is a stencil method of print making where a design is imposed on a screen of polyester or mesh, with blank areas coated with an impermeable substance and ink is forced through the mesh on the printing surface.

Silk-screening included: Spot uv, Flocking, Glow in the Dark, Fluorescent, Glittering, white oil and more …

Die-cutting #

If you want the printed product to have a shape other than a rectangle, you can have it die-cut. A punch die is created for the shape you want for the product. The die is a wooden slab in which a thin slot has been milled in the desired shape, and a steel band with a sharp edge is placed in the slot. The die is then pressed against the printed paper and cuts it to the desired shape. The cost for producing a unique punch die is relatively high for printed products in small editions, but the same die can be used for reprints.
Perforations are basically used to create a tearing reference and are a form of die-cutting. By punching a dotted line in a page, you make it easier to tear off a particular section of that page—a reply card, for example. Perforation is usually done in a letterpress with a special perforation blade, which is pressed into the paper, creating a series of tiny slits. Perforation can also be done in a special punching machine.

Updated on June 14, 2023
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