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Printing on bottles for cosmetic packaging

Author: May
Oct. 24, 2022
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Although printing on cosmetics containers and packages looks the same at first glance, there are actually various printing methods.


The following items are explained here.

● Silkscreen printing

● Pad printing

● Offset printing

● Hot-dry printing

● UV printing

● Inkjet printing

● Coating

● Vapor Deposition 

● Hot stamp printing

● Shrink 

● In-mold printing

● Adhesive labels

*The methods employed differ depending on the container (material) manufacturer, finish, quality, etc.


Printing on bottles for cosmetic packaging


1. Silkscreen printing (silk printing)

A technique for printing by using a silkscreen made of nylon, Tetoron, or other synthetic fiber (silk used in the past) attached to a frame, filling the mesh of the silk with emulsion in areas not to be printed, and rubbing the paint with a squeegee while applying pressure.

The printing process is repeated by printing one color and drying, and a printing plate for the number of colors is required. *Color compositing is not possible.

The printed ink layer is thicker and less affected by the substrate.

Because of the possibility of positional shifts, gradation, and gradation expressions color photographs cannot be printed. Uniform application to the printed surface is required.

Printing cost is high.


2. Pad printing

ink applied to a metal intaglio plate is scraped off, and the ink remaining in the recess is transferred onto a flexible silicone pad, which transfers the ink to the container.


The pad then transfers the ink to the container.

Ink thickness is slightly thinner than silk printing.


*If the color of the container is dark, the coloring may be poor or slightly sunken depending on the printing color (e.g., light color).


Because of the possibility of a shift in position, gradation, color photos, and other gradation expressions cannot be used. The printing surface must be uniformly coated.


3. Offset Printing

Offset printing is often used for high-grade paper media such as brochures and catalogs, but offset printing is also suitable for printing delicate designs and fine text on containers.

Offset printing is especially suitable for colorful printing. (Offset printing is especially suitable for colorful printing.)

*Plate cost is required for each color

The ink is so thin that printing a light color on a dark container will affect the color of the container. (Colors may not come out well or become slightly sunken.


4. Hot-dry printing (quick-drying method using heat drying)

A drying method is based on the evaporation of volatile components by heat (infrared rays), which takes a long time to dry and requires large amounts of energy.

Furthermore, this method is not suitable for mass-produced products due to the manual labor involved.

The thickness of the coating film after drying varies depending on the ratio of volatilized components. In addition, volatile components must be removed by exhaust treatment to avoid air and water pollution.


5. UV printing (fast-drying method with UV irradiation)

UV printing refers to printing using UV inks that cure and dry when irradiated with ultraviolet light. This drying method is suitable for mass production because it provides instant curing (dries in less than 1 second).


Also, since the ink is 100% solid, the thickness of the coating film after drying is the same as the thickness of the coating film before drying. UV printing is used for most cosmetics package printing.


7. Inkjet Printing

A familiar printing method used in home printers, this printing method (non-contact, non-pressure printing) injects ink through a nozzle, electrically charges the ink, and deposits the ink in particle form on the printed material.

In addition, printing is performed based on data from a PC, eliminating the need for a plate.

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In the case of single-color printing, it is used to indicate the date of manufacture of products.

Full-color printing can be used for a wide variety of packages.

Printing in small lots is possible and cost-effective

Printing is possible even on containers with uneven surfaces (unevenness varies from manufacturer to manufacturer)


8. Coating (container coloring)

Dough bottles are dried at high temperatures in a drying furnace, and dust removal and spray painting (spindle method, etc.) are performed.

Various methods are available, such as matte coating to produce a frosted glass-like texture without luster, gradation, pearlescent or metallic effects, etc.


9. Evaporation Deposition (Vacuum Deposition)

Gold or silver plating can be applied to give a heavy, glossy, metal-like finish. (e.g., plating of the entire cap, etc.)


10. Hot stamp printing

This method adheres gold or silver foil to the surface. It is called this because a heated letterpress is pressed on top of the foil.

Hot stamping is used for brand logos and marks that shine in gold or have gold or silver lines in the shape of a ring, giving the product an even more luxurious feel.

Gold and silver are the most common colors, but there are many other colors available, and you can choose whether to have a glossy or non-glossy finish.


11. Shrink

This method covers the container with a pre-printed shrink film, which shrinks when heated and is then attached snugly to the container.

The advantage of this method is that it allows for a large printing area.

In the past, gravure printing and letterpress printing, which are suitable for mass printing, were used for this method, but in recent years, on-demand printing using digital printing presses has made it possible to print small lots.

In addition, polyester (PET) and polystyrene (PS) are commonly used as film materials.


12. In-mold printing (insert mold printing and indirect printing method)

In-mold labels are almost one piece with the plastic container and appear to be printed directly on the label.

Basically used for blow-molded bottles, the material resin is placed in a mold that is divided into two halves, which are then joined together to form a container by expanding the resin with heat.

At that time, the printed label is also placed in the mold and fused to the container by heat.

The heat from the heated resin activates the adhesive on the label’s inner surface, bonding it to the label and integrating it with the molded product.

(Injection molding is mainly used for cup-shaped containers.)

Label printing is done by offset or gravure printing. Both are water-resistant and suitable for products such as shampoos, body soaps, and detergents that are used around water for long periods of time.


13. Adhesive labels (tack labels and stickers)

Adhesive labels are also called tack labels or stickers.

The entire or part of the backside is coated with an adhesive to maintain adhesive strength for a relatively long period of time.

There are various types of adhesives, such as strong adhesive, weak adhesive, and clean peelable types, depending on the application.

In most cases, labels are delivered with the label attached to a backing called a separator.

Recently, however, labels without a separator, which are delivered with the label surface processed in the same way as the separator and overlaid on the label surface, are also increasing.

Printing is mainly letterpress (offset printing in some cases). Materials include paper, film, and synthetic paper.

Weltrade packaging

We provide creative custom solutions for packaging needs .

We offer a wide variety of options and features to get the look you want at an affordable price without sacrificing quality or service!

Whether you’re looking into tubes (tubes), bottles/ jars, pumps spray airless packaging–we’ve got it all here with us.

You can also find customization services such as label printing on sleeves which will make sure no one forgets about them when they’re being distributed around town; just contact our team today if this sounds like something up your alley.


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That’s it for our overview of printing on cosmetic packaging.

We hope this has been helpful and given you a better understanding of the market landscape.

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