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How Can I Print the Color White?


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Question: How Can I Print the Color White?


The short answer is that in most cases, you can't print white ink.


Answer: Most inks used in offset printing are translucent therefore a translucent white ink would not cover a dark color. There is an opaque white ink that could be used but it often requires multiple applications to cover sufficiently and can bump up the cost of a project far too much for the majority of customers. Additionally in order to insure the cleanest white possible requires considerable time on the part of the printshop spent cleaning the printing press to remove all traces of other ink colors that would muddy the white ink. In some applications opaque white ink is typically used as an undercoating before applying other inks on top. However, there are alternatives to offset printing inks and methods that use no ink at all.

Mix White Ink and Silver

A near-white ink effect that would provide adequate coverage could be achieved by mixing silver with opaque white ink.

Use White Foil

Using white foil stamping or foil blocking is one attractive way to get the white color you want. Foils come in many colors and textures including metallic, gloss, and matte finishes. An opaque white gloss or matte finish mimics the look of paint or white ink. Or you can achieve special effects with pearlescent, off-white, and silvery foils. Talk to your print shop about the foil process and any special requirements in preparing your artwork for foil stamping or embossing.

Try Screen Printing & Flexography White Inks

Screen printing and flexography both have opaque white inks. Explore those printing options for your project when you need to print white ink. Screen printing has applications other than just textile printing.

CDs are typically coated with a white ink before other colors are applied on top.

White Ink From the Desktop

There used to be a desktop printer that used a dry white ink ribbon (ALPS) but it is no longer manufactured. As of this writing, no desktop printers that print white ink are on the market. For some crafty computer projects that need small spots of white you could handpaint the printed project with white paint.

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