What Type of Ink Do You Use for Printing on Leather?

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What Type of Ink Do You Use for Printing on Leather?
Special ink is required to print on leather materials. (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The world of screen printing is not limited to silk or cotton mediums. The range of materials used for this purpose has expanded over the years to include leather, PVC, nylon and polyester. Using the appropriate ink on your chosen material will not only affect the quality of the print, it will also determine its longevity, brightness and colour fastness. Leather requires certain kinds of ink to get the best printing results.

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Nazdar offers a variety of ink, including the 7200 series lacquer screen ink. This type of ink can be used on all types of materials, including leather. If you need to thin this ink or add any additives, it should be done right before you use it. Add a mixing clear to thin the colour you are using or add an overprint clear to make it act as a varnish and protect the colour and ink. Nazdar 7200 ink dries within 10 to 15 minutes, but the dry time can increase if you expose the material to temperatures between 90 and 150F for 40 to 60 seconds. The best temperature range to use this product is between 65 and 90F.


Jacquard produces two main types of screen printing ink you can use on leather. You will find screen printing ink under the Jacquard label, as well as the Versatex screen printing ink label. Both are used for screen printing on leather, as well as fabric, paper, vinyl, metal and other materials. You can thin the ink with water if needed. Not only can you use this for silk screening, you can also use it for monoprinting, stencilling, printing and stamping. Jacquard and Versatex offer several colours to choose from.


Aerotex is produced by Union, and is formulated to print on cotton, polyester, leather and most synthetic fabrics. If your leather material is treated with a water resistant product, however, this kind of ink will not work well for you. You can air dry this kind of ink or you can accelerate the dry time with a dryer. To speed the drying time, expose the ink to 250F for about 2 minutes. Aerotex also offers a wide variety of ink colours to choose from.

Multi Aqua Inks (MAQ)

Multi Aqua Ink (MAQ) is a printing ink that you can use on leather, artificial leather, PVC and nylon materials. This ink is designed to be used primarily on footwear. Although the ink will most likely be at an appropriate viscosity, you can thin it with 5 per cent water prior to application. A second coat of ink can be applied to make the print thicker or darker. Allow the ink to air dry for 10 to 15 minutes or expose it to 140 to 176F for 1 to 2 minutes.

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