Looking for recommendations for printing clear vinyl labels by the sheet. Should I look for a sign company since they deal with vinyl? What kind of ink is best for printing on clear vinyl?
If you only want a couple hundred or less you can try a sign company.
If you want more than that, you might do better cost-wise for something gang-run or if mega-quantities, web run.
Are these die cut?
What’s your end use? Not all vinyls/inks are created equal. And clear vinyl is not “clear.” It’s more like a water-clear. If this is something high end on glass where it has to be clear clear, I’d recommend Lintec film. You’d have to specify if you want it removable or permanent. (both become permanent after 2 years and that only means ‘hard to remove.’ They do come off.)
A matching gloss clear overlam (also made by Lintec) is highly recommended to protect the ink.
For Lintec, either UV printed or latex works.
This film applies WET. Not something the general public likes to deal with.
If these are just little things where clear isn’t absolutely necessary, there are a number of clear vinyl products out there. Just ask your sign company what they use most. Vinyls can be printed UV inks, Latex inks or Solvent inks. If you need white underspotting, overspotting, or sandwiched, solvent machines are usually out, though some do have white ink capability. I’d steer clear of any kind of aqueous inks. Overlam is up to you and how long you want it to last. Exterior use, it would probably be a good idea. I tend to stick with 3M products as a match pair when doing exterior stuff. Your mileage may vary. While these things can go on dry, I’d recommend wet for a more bubble free application.
You know, after writing all that, it occurs to me I have no idea what you want. Especially “by the sheet” and why you need to know what inks you need to use.
More details required.
Thanks for the reply. I’m looking to make labels to put on video game cartridges and I want the text to be be seen and the substrate to be clear. Could also be translucent or frosty.
You want to make them yourself?
If you only need 100 or so, sure, go to a sign shop. UV or solvent inks will do the trick and there are any number of clear media materials to print on. Just get samples. Depending on the size of your type and how much white underspotting is involved will drive your cost. Inks are translucent. If you want your colors to read as solid, they may have to be backed with white (unless your cartridges are maybe white.) There is trap limit on how small you can go on elements and still underspot them with white with any hope of accurate registration.
Is this a game cartridge you developed?
I should point out, a commercial printer will question any kind of trademarked or copyrighted material in these labels, at the very least having you sign an indemnity waiver. Some might flat out refuse to print if copyright is in question.