Print in black stock, how do I prep the file?

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Would love feedback on how to create the file to achieve this look. Would like to print in black card stock. Can this work 4 color or one color + white? Any help appreciated Thanks!

This really really depends on what you mean by print on black card stock.
And how your printer wants you to represent white ink.
I think it’s fairly universal that CMYK inks are translucent in nature and will not show on black stock. Even Pantone spot colors have to be underspotted with white to get their true values when printed on black stock.

If I were doing this image on a black substrate using one of our white-ink digital printers, A) it would take some minimal trial and error to get the gray value correct - white ink is notoriously opaque at very low densities, and B) if that is not a grayscale image (my monitor shows a very slight tint) what the overprint ink will be and whether the print machine can apply it at the minimal density needed. You run the risk of ink droplet visibility at low densities. Low percentage screen values can have similar issues. The file would need to be set up with the white ink represented by another color, usually Magenta, but it can be any spot color that is labeled “WHITE INK” in the color palette and called out in the instructions email.

Your mileage will vary.
Call the printer you would be working with and find out what they suggest.


It’s doable, but the more interesting ways would be more expensive and specialized. In addition, the more interesting techniques might be hit-and-miss as far as how they’d turn out, which could be expensive to get right.

  • Black halftone on white stock
  • Black & gray duotone on white stock
  • Four-color process on white stock
  • Black on dark gray stock (if you can find it) with opaque white ink (might require a double hit of white)
  • Gloss spot varnish halftone on matte black/dark gray stock with opaque white ink, thermography, or screen printing
  • Gloss spot varnish halftone on matte black/dark gray stock with white foil stamping
  • Black ink on matte dark gray stock with gloss spot varnish and white foil stamping
  • Black ink on matte dark gray stock with gloss spot varnish and white foil embossing
  • Black ink on matte dark gray stock with gloss spot varnish and die cuts for the dots showing through to a second page that’s white.
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I love that.

My approach would be to make an appointment with one or two local print manufacturers and try to use only one or two colors to print on black stock. They should have some experience how halve tones behave on certain surfaces.


I thought about varnish on black too. I don’t get to do it too often in large format and only have one vendor, not local, who does it any more. My local guy closed shop during Covid and didn’t re-open. :frowning:

What’s this? Are we allowing free commercials on our help forum website now? I do not like this one bit!!! Just-B, we are going down a slippery slope here! Dump this “Joe” (if that is his real name.)

How is a link to a search engine result for images “printed+on+black+cardstock” on the above topic “Print in black stock” a commercial?

( Joe is my nickname among some friends in my home country. I like to use it on the internet :man_shrugging: I guess PopsD, PrintDriver or Just-B aren’t real names either.)


Joe wasn’t advertising. He’s a good forum member who posted a search engine link to lots of interesting examples of printing on black stock.

DuckDuckGo is just the search engine he used. It’s similar to Google or Bing.

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Thanks for the clarification. To me, the generic name and image (instead of a URL) looks too similar to a Spammer trying to hijack another forum post.

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We’re pretty good about sorting out the spammers - they don’t last long around here :grin:

Joe is definitely not one.

If you should see something that you aren’t sure of, please click the little flag button under the post. That way you can let us know what the issue might be. It will notify us right away and we can have a look see :wink:


Oh and for future reference … the forum is set up to do that so it gives a little preview of what the link is. Joe had nothing to do with that formatting. :smiling_face:

Kittie — Thanks for the info, Kat. (This has not been a very good day for me, and I may have been too quick on the draw with Joe. Sorry, Joe. Please accept my apologies.)

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Any monetary penalties will be gladly accepted at eriskaybenevolentfunds dot ca

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Any time my friend … and I hope things start going better today :heart:

and …

LOL Eriskay :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

I’m serious. With the rates of spammers and rule-breakers, I’ll be rich in 35 years.

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LOL if only that were true … if so Just B, Kool and Myself could all retire to Bora Bora :wink:

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Now that’s some spammin’.


LMAO, my friends! You made my day much better.


See the OP has not been back.

If you’re printing from home, black card stock is often thicker - so make sure your printer can hold that weight/thickness of paper.

There’s white ink cartridges you can buy from arts shops for a lot of printer models which you exchange for the black cartridge in your home printer.

If it’s to do with sending to another printer/printing service etc. then you really talk to them first.

Best of luck.