Learning how to print labels that are waterproof is a very practical and useful business and even a household step. Choosing water-resistant labels is also a more cost-effective option for temporary labeling needs. 

Source: Pexels

Waterproof labels and stickers are a requirement in many labeling applications. 

The primary goal of learning how to make them is to protect the vital text and graphic prints from fading or smudging. 

We cannot emphasize the importance of these items as part of compliance with safety regulations and marketing your brands. 

This article outlines simple steps on how to make waterproof stickers and labels for small businesses and home offices. 

Can I Print Waterproof Labels at Home?

Yes. You can create waterproof labels at home for your needs using the right materials and the right printing process. These labels practically solve any storage and marking need in various environments such as your bathroom, kitchen, pool, garage, or shed area. 

If you decide to DIY, here are some tips on how to make them. 

Tip #1. Use waterproof materials. 

To make a label that’s waterproof, you need to use waterproof materials, including your print media and adhesive. 

While you can “waterproof” plant pulp-based print media with coating and finish, moisture can seep and damage your material when the coating or the finish gets damaged.

Waterproof materials, such as plastic-based media that are perfect for labels and stickers, include the following components:

    • Polyester
    • Polyethylene
    • Polypropylene 
    • PVC or vinyl

Tip #2. Use Waterproof Prints

Most labels are printable in laser and inkjet printers and direct thermal and thermal transfer printers. These printers are compact, easy to use and readily accessible for home use. 

Sheet Labels

: 400 (100 sheets)
: 3-1/2″ x 5″
: Deskjet & Laser Printers

Here are some printing processes that will help you decide how to make a label that’s waterpoof using some of the common label printers. 

Inkjet printers. Inkjet printers offer low protection against water. We advise against using inkjet printers as most inks use water-based coloring components that will smudge when in contact with water. Some inkjet printers, however, use high-quality water-resistant and pigment-based inks that do not smudge with water contact. 

Laser printers. Laser printing is one of the ways for making a label with waterproof features. Laser printers offer medium protection against water. We recommend laser printers that use powder toners and heat to melt the prints into the label. Unlink most inkjet inks, laser toners contain pigments that are not water-based and thus, do not wash out with water.

Direct thermal printers. Direct thermal printers use heat to create prints to a label and do not require inks, toners, or ribbons. Direct thermal technology does not fade with moisture and water. The label prints, however, fade when exposed to extreme temperatures and friction and require additional protection. These printers also do not print well on plastic-based media. 

Thermal transfer printers. Thermal transfer printers use a combination of heat and a ribbon to print on media and are therefore highly resistant to moisture. They last longer than direct thermal and print on synthetic-based media. 

Learning how to make the this type of label requires choosing a printing process that offers high level protection against moisture. Laser and thermal transfer printing offers high protection against moisture. While direct thermal printing can offer resistance to moisture, the process is vulnerable to temperature changes which lower the bar of protection against water. Direct thermal printing is less applicable to waterproof print media such as plastic. 

Tip #3. Use waterproof adhesive. 

Our additional tip when looking to create a label that’s waterproof is to use waterproof adhesive. The adhesive on your label can leave you in a bind when you choose the wrong one. 

Specially-formulated adhesives are used in “permanent” adhesive labels and last for long periods in different environments and moisture exposure. 

No printing process is waterproof. But, the choice of the process increases the protection of your prints when it comes in contact with water. 

The art of making them waterproof requires a combination of these elements. Using a waterproof label and waterproof printing technology, you can better protect your prints from moisture. 

You can also apply a special coating or spray to your media to create a waterproof finish. Read on to learn how. 

Source: Pexels

Making your Labels Waterproof

This article on how to make waterproof labels is for you if : 

    • Your label is a wood pulp-based paper or a water-resistant media. 
    • You are printing from an inkjet printer. 
    • You are looking for ways on how to make waterproof bottle labels and stickers exposed to high levels of moisture. 

If your labels are one or two of the following, we recommend the following steps to waterproof them. 

Step 1. Use a Clear Overcoat Spray. 

  1. Purchase a waterproof clear gloss overcoat spray. 
  2. Print your label using self-adhesive media. Make sure the ink or print has dried. 
  3. Remove any excess paper or matrix from your label. 
  4. Place the label on a clean, dry, working surface. 
  5. Shake the spray can. 
  6. Spray the coating evenly on the label surfaces in a sweeping motion about 10 inches away. 
  7. Shake the can after every sweep. 
  8. After spraying, wait for the label to dry. 
  9. Peel the label and apply the sticker on a clean, dry surface. 

Step 2. Use a Clear Overcoat Sticker Sheet. 

Option 1. Use a clear overcoat sticker sheet. 

  1. Purchase a clear self-adhesive overcoat sheet slightly bigger than your labels and, if available, the same shape as your labels.  
  2. Print your labels on any printable media. We recommend using self-adhesive labels. 
  3. Wait for your labels to dry. Gently clear your label surface from any dust or dirt.
  4. Apply the clear overcoat sheet on your label. To evenly apply your overcoat on your labels, press on the surface and remove any bubbles. 
  5. Cut the labels according to your desired shape using a cutter or a Cricut, if applicable. 
  6. Let the overcoat set. 

Option 2. Use a laminating film. 

  1. Print your labels. Wait for your labels to dry. 
  2. Cut your laminating film to fit the size of your labels. 
  3. Place the laminating film over the surface of your labels. If you’re using  self-adhesive labels or stickers, do not place the film on the adhesive side. 
  4. Place the sheets on the laminating machine. 
  5. Cut your label to your custom size and shape. 
  6. Peel and apply the label on a clean, dry surface.

Can You Make your Waterproof Labels on an Inkjet Printer?

Technically, you cannot print waterproof stickers and labels on an inkjet printer. Inkjet printers use water-based inks, and the resulting prints are not completely waterproof.  

But you can use a laser printer, coating or spray for additional resistance to water and other liquids. 

Find the Label that Suites your Needs

Waterproof labels and stickers are available at many shops to comply with marking requirements for transport and storage. We also outlined some tips on how to make waterproof stickers and labels using various media you can usually find at home or office.

But water-resistant labels also do the job of protecting against low exposure to moisture at a lower cost. Check what type of labels suit your needs with your working budget. 

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