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Printing on plastic injection mouldings - the 3 best methods

You don't need us to tell you it makes sense to put your name & logo on your products. But which printing method is best for you ? Here's our short guide to the 3 main methods suitable for printing on plastics.

1. Hot foil printing

You'll probably know hot foil printing from those nice embossed effects on wedding invitations. But there's more to it than that :-

  • it's a very cost-effective method which makes it justifiable for your short run products
  • it's very long-lasting and hard wearing
  • there's a great range of colours available, with metallic, gloss, matt and holographic finishes

If you're considering this method, remember that :-

  • the printing colours can't be matched to specific colours
  • the surface you want to print must be flat(ish)

2. Pad printing

Pad printing is used to print just about anything from golf balls to washing machines. It's extremely versatile because :-

  • you can print on curved, convex, concave & recessed surfaces
  • you can have wraparound printing on three-dimensional objects
  • edges are sharply defined and the printing is very high resolution

Pad printing inks are available that :-

  • have very high resistance against mechanical abrasion or chemicals
  • etch into the plastic material which makes them very long lasting
  • can be colour matched to your company colours.

However, as the inks are more expensive and it takes longer to set up and clean up than hot foil printing, it's most likely to be suitable for long run or high spec products.

3. Screen printing

Screen printing is the method used for most printed promotional T-shirts. It's very suitable for :-

  • large or long designs, with blocks of colour and large fonts
  • thick layers of ink, which makes it suitable for the conductive lines on circuit boards for example
  • slightly curved surfaces.

Again, it's fairly expensive to set up.

Is printing not for you ?

Don't forget that logos and other text can also be engraved or embossed in the injection moulding or vacuum forming tool.


Toolcraft offer hot foil printing and pad printing on plastic components in house and we can arrange for your screen printing needs as well. We're happy to help you decide which of these methods will give you the best result for your purpose & budget and we'll advise you of the information and artwork we need in order to quote.

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