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How to print on plastic film

Updated March 23, 2017

Most home printing revolves around basic paper projects and printing photos. What many computer users don't realise is that their printer is capable of much more. Printing on almost any surface is possible, including various types of plastic film. To be successful at this project, you need to work with the properties of plastic and make it more compatible with your printer.

Prepare your plastic film for printing. Commercially available inkjet plastic film is ready to use out of the package. Prepare other plastic film by taping the plastic securely to a sheet of printer paper with clear tape. Plastic film with two textures should be placed with the printable surface facing away from the paper. Ensure that the tape is completely attached, with no edges to snag in the printer.

Place the plastic film in your inkjet printer. If your printer has a manual-feed tray, use that. Otherwise, place one sheet in your regular printer tray. Make sure that the printable side of your plastic film is facing toward the print heads.

Select the image to print on the plastic film with your home computer.

Select the correct printing settings for your machine. Select "transparency" and "best quality" if those options are available. Check your printer manual to verify the best settings for printing on plastic.

Press "Print." Allow the plastic film to feed through the printer completely.

Allow the print to dry for several hours before touching the surface of the plastic film.

Tip

Test your print on regular printer paper to ensure that the image is as desired and to avoid making a mistake on the more-costly plastic film. Plastic surfaces that are less conducive to accepting ink can be treated with a special coating to make them optimised for printing. Most other unusual printing surfaces can also be handled by securing them to a sheet of printer paper.

Warning

Avoid pushing or pulling the plastic film through the printer feed; wet ink will smear easily on the slick surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Inkjet-compatible plastic film or standard plastic film
  • Paper
  • Clear tape
  • Inkjet printer
  • Printer manual
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About the Author

Rosa Lyn has been a freelance writer since 2009. She has worked as a ghostwriter for companies such as eBay and was the editor-in-chief for the member newsletter at the websites SewingMamas. She specializes in subjects such as home and family, parenting, alternative health and crafts.