A Crew For You

Printing Guidelines

 

Here's a short set of general guidelines to get you going with your print project. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 

1. Size: We can print on any size container from 3/8 inch to 5 inches diameter. Maximum print height is 8 inches. We can print on cylinders, tapered shapes, ovals and flat objects. Please feel free to contact us with your measurements, so we can help you determine the printable area on your container. You can find some tips on measuring your container on this page.

 

2. Materials/Substrates:

The material descriptions only describe the properties that are relevant to printing.

PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate is one of the most popular materials for containers, due to its clarity, relative chemical inertia, and recyclable nature. It requires no pre-treatment for conventional screen printing. PETE packaging must be stack packed after each print pass, and the ink is not highly scuff resistant. When treated with respect, the results are excellent and adhesion problems are rare. Reject rates can be slightly higher, because misprints cannot be recovered.

Polyethylene (HDPE/LDPE): This is a translucent or opaque, flexible plastic used for personal care products along with industrial applications. Polyethylene needs to be flame treated before printing. We will not print on Polyethylene containers that have marginal or no flame treatment! You can find more info about flame treatment in the box below.

Polypropylene (PP): This is a more rigid plastic, often used for straight-sided single walled jars. Polypropylene needs to be flame treated only if the product in the container will be oily (i.e. essential oils) or contain solvents (i.e. alcohol, mineral spirits)

Polycarbonate: This is the typical clear and/or tinted plastic used for reusable water bottles. It requires no pre-treatment for conventional screen printing.

Acrylic: One of the old-school plastics with a high level of clarity, used mostly for high-end jars. It requires no pre-treatment for conventional screen printing. Reject rates can be slightly higher, because misprints cannot be recovered.

Coated Plastics: There are a number of surface treatments available for plastic containers (soft-touch, glossy coatings etc). Generally, when a coating is applied it will not negatively impact printability. Caution must be exercised when purchasing coated plastics because coating adhesion is commonly problematic.

Glass: Most glass bottles are printable without any pre-treatment. Glass can have surface contamination that can negatively impact ink adhesion. Pre-testing glass for printability is important.

Metals: Most metals are printable without any pre-treatment. Metals can have surface contamination that can negatively impact ink adhesion. Pre-testing metal surfaces for printability is important.

 

About Flame Treatment: Some plastics, most notably Polyethylene (HDPE, LDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) have to be flame treated before they can be printed on. The flame treating process alters the molecular structure of the surface of the plastic, which allows printing ink to stick to it. Feel free to send us a sample container and we'll do a test to see whether the flame treatment is adequate for screen printing or not. This is a FREE test. Flame treatment on Polyethylene containers is usually done at the factory, and it is guaranteed for 3 months. Bottles that are older than that (prior to printing) will start to develop ink adhesion issues.

 

3. Artwork: If you have artwork that is press-ready, we can take it from there. We accept native Adobe Illustrator files (*.ai), EPS and PDF. Files must be vector based. Raster images are not usable for print as-is, but we can re-draw them as vector images. We may suggest minor modifications to the final artwork to make it perfect for printing. Our goal will always be to stay as close as possible to what YOU had imagined.

 

4. Artwork? Vector? If you are in the dark about artwork and logo design, we can help you with that as well. You know your product, we know printing and design, and together we'll figure out the packaging.

 

5. Your Containers and Product: Blank containers to be printed should be provided clean and dust-free, packaged in boxes with closed liner bags. The containers must be clear of all flashing and other protrusions resulting from the manufacturing process. You should always test the compatibility of the printing ink with your product (We can provide a properly cured draw down of the ink on your container for testing). Especially products that contain a lot of oils or alcohol-based components can affect the adhesion and durability of the ink.

 

6. Pre-Production Samples and Press Checks: We are happy to print pre-production samples. We do require at least 12 (twelve) items to produce 3 to 6 good samples. If you have fewer items than that, it is more difficult to get the press fine-tuned well enough to obtain good samples. You are welcome to visit the shop for press checks once your job is ready to roll.

 

 

7. Screens: We make our own screens off-site daily. We accept outside screens, provided that they are in perfect condition, the right mesh count (230-305 tpi), at the appropriate tension level (8-10 N/M2), and fit on our equipment (20" Width +- 0.25").

 

Please fill out the contact form, call us at 303-944-4372 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your project.