Printing on top of Varnish

Hello all,

I have a 2 colour business card that I will be printing tomorrow. There will be a large Solid circle of varnish printed. On top of this I need to lay down silver text. Will the varnish underneath affect the silver ink opacity? I am using KF95 polymer plates. I do not want any surprises, I can have the designer do a knock out if this will be a better option.

Log in to reply   7 replies so far

Never should be surprises if you’ve tested and proofed your project first. If you haven’t, anything you do will be a surprise.
Depending on the type of paper you are printing the varnish should help seal the sheet and allow the silver to look more like silver and less like a dull gray.
If you are printing on an uncoated paper, and presumably you are, the varnish should help. The advantage is that the varnish seals the sheet and helps hold out the pigment in the ink. This also works against you by sealing the sheet and preventing the vehicle in the ink from draining into the sheet. This will probably result in longer drying time.

If you’ve tested and proofed -no surprises- if not surprise!

Some varnishes have a wax component which could cause the overprinted ink to resist sticking. If the varnish is over-printable, then Steve is correct, and the silver ink will have good gloss and metallic effect.

John Henry
Cedar Creek Press

“Some varnishes have a wax component…”

What are the recommended varnishes?
Advice gratefully received, as ever.

etinink, asking for varnish recommendations is one approach, but probably the best approach, especially if you have varnish already, is to ask the varnish maker if the varnish you got from them can be overprinted. I would also specifically ask if there is wax in it, just to be sure the varnish maker didn’t forget to consider that. Don’t be afraid to do this; ink and varnish makers are there to help you be successful, so that they can sell more ink and varnish :)

If you haven’t got varnish yet, you can ask the ink maker which of their varnishes you should get, which can be overprinted. It is not absolutely essential that the ink and varnish be made by the same company, but it is a good idea, because if you have a problem, they can then help you troubleshoot.. If use ink from one supplier and varnish from another, and you have a problem, neither supplier will help you because one of the products wasn’t theirs and they don’t know what is in it.
I completely agree with Steve and John on their comments above.

Thank you everyone, the designer opted for the knock out. I am printing on colorplan Claret 130lb so the silver will show up well. I also like running it this way as it creates a somewhat embossed look.


Not clear what you you mean by the “knock out”. I know what a knock out is but how does the design relate to the varnish underneath. I think several would like to see how the project turns out so we can all learn from your experience. Please post pix when your done.

Yikes, I’d be afraid of register problems to a knockout. My Heidelberg register is perfect - but most litho printers can’t provide me with dead on register. I would opt for a wax free varnish with a little drier added..