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#1 Posted : 2/9/2019 9:40:22 AM(EST)

Rank: New User

Posts: 1
United States
Location: FL

Hi All,

Im a new Etsy shop seller who sells my own STICKER designs on Etsy using onlinelabels Weatherproof Gloss Inkjet (OL177WI) paper. I use a Canon Pro100 printer to print. My stickers look AMAZING with this paper. Most of my customers use them on laptops, water bottles, books etc. But some, use them on car windows and bumpers. These customers return back to me, especially those in Florida, and say their stickers are already fading in two weeks! by 4 weeks, the image is almost completely faded. I have tried Krylon, 3M laminate, Oracal UV laminate with no success. I have been told that it has to do with the printer/ink im using?? Ive purchased stickers from the store before, and while mine look better, the ones I purchase and put on my car have lasted for years without fading! HOW??

Can someone recommend a printer I can buy to print my stickers where they will last at least 6 months or more? my budget is $600 or less. but willing to go up to $1000 if my stickers will last longer, like those commercial ones.

Thank you all in advance for your help and advice.

#2 Posted : 2/11/2019 11:21:51 AM(EST)

Rank: OnlineLabels Rep

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United States

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I'm sorry to hear about the issues you're having when attempting to print bumper stickers and stickers for car windows. Unfortunately, the print fading that you're experiencing is a limitation of inkjet printing in general. It's unlikely that it has anything to do with your specific printer or ink.

Most of the bumper stickers or car window stickers that are available on the market are printed using silk screen printers with UV resistant ink and a UV laminate. It's not an easy process to replicate at a reasonable budget. Most companies that offer custom printed labels are running a large press dedicated to screen printing and are capable of producing stickers at extremely high volumes. I'm unaware of a similar printing process that would be available at a scale that is suitable for smaller businesses or at-home printing.

The problem with inkjet printing for this type of application is that the ink itself won't have UV resistant capabilities and that it's ultimately left exposed on the surface of the labels. The inkjet topcoating featured on the weatherproof glossy label material does an excellent job of protecting against contact with moisture, but direct and consistent exposure to sunlight will cause the ink to fade over time. The effects of consistent UV exposure can be limited to some degree by using a UV protective spray like the Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coating, but this will likely just delay the rate at which the labels fade rather than make them fade-resistant permanently.

You may want to consider doing some testing with laser printing. Some of the same issues are still there - namely, that the toner from a laser printer will still be left exposed and unprotected from UV exposure when in direct exposure to sunlight. I do expect that toner will hold up considerably longer in direct sunlight than ink from a desktop inkjet printer. If you have access to a laser printer for testing purposes I'd recommend trying our weatherproof vinyl laser material. This material is typically meant for labeling chemical drums for maritime shipping applications, so it's one of the more durable options that we provide. You can view the full sheet configuration in this material type at the link below:

If you're interested in trying this product you can request a few free sample sheets at the following link:

The weatherproof vinyl laser material will probably offer the best solution for labels that will be exposed to consistent and direct sunlight, but it is important to note that they are not likely to provide a permanent solution to the problem. Fading will still likely occur after enough exposure, though I do expect that they'll last for a while longer than comparable inkjet products. To get a truly "fade-proof" bumper sticker label you'd almost certainly need to look into having them screen printed with a UV laminate, as mentioned above.

I hope this helps. If you need any additional information please just let me know.

#3 Posted : 2/11/2019 5:04:47 PM(EST)

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I've looked a little further into bumper sticker printing and fade-resistant labels this afternoon and there are a couple additional things worth mentioning.

There are two types of ink technology widely used in ink cartridges for inkjet printers: pigment based inks and dye based inks.

Pigment based inks feature solid, colored particles that are suspended in a liquid solution. By nature, pigment based inks are more durable to direct contact with moisture and have a relatively high UV resistance. Dye based inks consist of fully dissolved colorants in a liquid solution, rather than colored particles. They tend to be less durable to moisture while also providing less UV resistance than pigment based inks. You can read more about the differences between pigment inks and dye inks by clicking here.

Your printer model, the Canon PIXMA Pro-100, uses dye based ink cartridges. It does not appear that Cannon offers pigment based ink cartridges for this printer model. Any printer model that supports pigment based ink cartridges would likely provide significantly more durable labels in terms of UV resistance. It's important to note that switching to pigment ink would not completely resolve the fading issue when the labels are exposed to direct and consistent sunlight, but it should definitely improve the fading issue to some degree.

Something else to consider are small machines dedicated specifically to printing bumper stickers. I haven't had an opportunity to use any of these machines myself, so I'm not able to provide any firm recommendations. I was able to find information on these units by performing a Google search for "bumper sticker printing machine." These printers tend to use thermal transfer printing technology and seem to be limited to using a small selection of colors. They look to be made primarily for creating simple warning labels for industrial applications. Thermal transfer printing onto a synthetic/plastic material is incredibly durable so it makes sense that they'd be used for an application like this. Unfortunately, I don't think this type of printer will be suitable for the types of stickers you intend to print for your Etsy shop.

I hope this additional information helps. Please just let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.

#4 Posted : 4/10/2024 11:34:09 PM(EST)

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Posts: 1
United States

To replicate bumper stickers that will hold up, you would probably need at a minimum something like the Roland BN-20 eco solvent printer, plus a laminator. I want to say that printer is around $4-5k though. It's essentially an entry level wide format printer that has similar print heads to what many sticker companies use.

It's likely more cost effective to outsource them.
#5 Posted : 4/11/2024 1:19:26 PM(EST)

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kasonhills11 - Thank you for sharing your suggestions. While we haven't tested the printer you mentioned, we can provide you with custom printing services that include UV lamination through our Enterprise division. You can visit the link below to review our premium labeling solutions and contact our team or call 407-949-6499 to speak directly with an Enterprise representative.
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