You are trying to print on mylar bags and pouches at home but don’t know what printing method to choose and how to print. Here, we will be discussing step by step how to print on mylar bags at home. We will be following DIY steps so that you can easily print mylar bags at home with a minor investment.
Mylar bags are lightweight to stock food grains or items to avoid oxygen, moisture, and light. The bags are prepared with aluminum foil or coated with polyester film. If you start a business and want to sell products under the hood of your brand, or you may be a product decoration shop, it becomes necessary to print custom mylar bags.
Further, we have multiple options to print mylar bags, such as silk screen printing, flexography, gravure, or simply print on labels and put them on the bag. While printing on the label can be the easiest and beginner-friendly way, you won’t achieve a branded look compared to printing directly onto the mylar bags and pouches. Again flexography and gravure aren’t suitable for home-based printing because it involves skill, technical tools & equipment, which won’t be budget-friendly.
Therefore, the best printing method to get a premium quality print on mylar bags and pouches at home is silk screen printing.
DIY Tips to Print on Mylar Bags at Home:
For screen printing on mylar bags, you need an inkjet printer(that we usually use at home), transparency positive, screens, squeegee, ink, and a wooden pad/platen that rightly fits the bag. Now, let’s get started.
1. Print the Design on Transparency film:
Print the design with an inkjet printer on an inkjet transparency film. Make sure to mirror the image so that you achieve the correct printing format. Most importantly, set the printer on high quality.
2. Making of Silkscreen:
For this process, you can choose an aluminum or a wooden frame. I would prefer wooden because it is cheaper and suitable for home-based printing requirements. Further, we will follow the DIY screen printing techniques that need steps, thus avoiding ready-made purchases from the local store. Therefore, we choose to prepare the screens at home. The procedure of preparing silkscreen as follows:
First, attach the silkscreen to the wooden frame. We will be using a 100 mesh screen. In securing the screen to the wood frame, attach the two adjacent sides first. Then attach the two remaining sides. Primarily we use a staple gun which is used in woodworking for attaching screens to the frame.
Meanwhile, continuously pull the screen using thumb and index finger. Pull the screen while the three remaining fingers are pushing the wood frame.
When you are done, trim the extra screen left along the borders of the frame.
3. Apply Photo Emulsion:
Before applying photo emulsion to the screen, mix it with the sensitizer or diazo activator. We add a sensitizer or activator to make the emulsion sensitive to light. The ratio of emulsion to the sensitizer should be 9:1. That is to say, mix 90% of phot emulsion to 10% of sensitizer/activator. The quantity depends upon your production requirements. Moreover, if you are limited to printing a few like 2 -3 mylar bags, you can prepare a cup of the mixture.
Here, we will be mixing the photo emulsion with the diazo activator.
- Fill the diazo activator container with tap water. While filling the water, be careful because some of the powder can get into the air, and you can breathe it in.
- Once you have filled the container to the shoulder, close with the lid and give it a good shake.
- Once the diazo activator in the water is thoroughly mixed, go ahead and pour it into your emulsion.
- Lastly, use a mixing stick and mix the emulsion with the activator. Just take your time and mix thoroughly until you find an even color. Mostly, a greenish color.
Procedure to apply photo emulsion mixture to the screen:
- Pour enough phot emulsion mix on the scope coater and apply it on the screen.
- Tilt your screen 45 degrees backward, and then you will use the thin side of the scoop coater and press it against the mesh. And let the emulsion slowly drip until it makes contact with the screen. Once it makes contact with the screen, you will still push against the screen with your scoop coater and pull it up till you reach the top.
- Lastly, flip the screen around and do the print side of the screen’s backside in a similar process.
Keep the emulsion-coated screen in the dark place and let it dry. Then we will set up the design or positive on the screen.
4. Preparing Screens for Printing:
Usually, we do not have a professional manual or automatic screen printing press or set up at home. Let’s get started with the DIY screen printing techniques at home.
- Take a soft pad/platen(mostly an wooden board) of size(length & width) suitable for printing mylar bags.
- Pull in the bag through the pad so that we get a flat printable surface.
- Next, center the design positive on the mylar bag and make its location on the screen using a ball pen.
- Now, we will stick the design positive on the screen using cooking oil. Apply hands to stick the design positive on the screen evenly. The cooking oil will also make the unprinted part of the paper transparent.
- After setting up the positive, we will expose the screen to 40 watts LED light placed at 20 ft for 6 minutes. Better use a timer. Then we will wash the screen after exposing it for 6 minutes. It cleans the excess photo emulsion on the design. Check for scums or emulsion that is blocking the designs. Finally, we could achieve a screen stencil. Then remove the excess water on the stencil using a cotton rug.
- Please wait for the screen stencil to dry, then we will apply a photo hardener to our screen stencil. The photo hardener will make our stencil tougher and durable. There is a ready mix photo emulsion available that doesn’t need a photo hardener. So, it is optional depending on the photo emulsion you use.
- Then wait for the photo hardener to dry. We will put packing tape on the edges of our screen stencil to prevent paint leaks. After taping our screen stencil, we can now begin the printing of the mylar bags.
Step-by-step Method to Print on Mylar Bags at Home:
- As we said previously, bring the soft pad/platen for printing the mylar bags. Insert the soft platen in the bag so the folds of the bag will not bulge during printing.
- Get a 70 durometer plastic squeegee(cheaper than the wooden squeegee). We will be using water-based ink for printing mylar bags. You can use Jacquard water-based ink as it is very strong.
- Next, put the ink on the screen, and you are going to push the squeegee, driving the ink through the screen. And there you have a successful screen print on your mylar bags.
- Finally, scatter the printed mylar bags to dry.
Finally, we are done with the silk screen printing on mylar bags. As we follow a DIY method, we are not going for professional equipment like a conveyor dry for the curing process. Instead, we opt for sun drying or under the light. Although it is time taking, it becomes easy and budget-friendly printing in small numbers at home. I hope that helped you.