Printing white on black

I want to print white on a black image - photoshoped image of a corroded corrugated metal wall. The image has been professionally printed on a cotton based paper. I normally use VanSon rubber based inks.

What ink will give me the clearest, sharpest result?

Log in to reply   7 replies so far

White on black is about the hardest color to do.
Van Son opaque white is good.
It would be good to have some extra blackstock to experiment with before going to the printed stock.
You may find that it works best to either double ink or double strike. Maybe both. If you double strike make sure you are dead on on being in the gauge pins both times.

screen print it.

Fail stamp with dull white foil. You can get some impression this way and it will cover in one pass.

Letterpress printing. White alftone over black is asking for trouble. Even if you can hit it dot for dot in two passes you’ll likely add some gain in the second pass muddying up the image.

Maybe there’s a reason why you didn’t want to do this, but….

If the paper is white, why didn’t you just drop the white out of the black image in the art stage. Then you wouldn’t have to print white over the black because the white would already be there, dropped out of the black.

You’ll get crisper results printing a black flat with white knocked out than you will trying to run a light ink on dark stock. like, “Holy $#!T” difference between the two. The white on black will look like a 20-30% gray unless you can put enough hairline register passes down and you’ll need some stiff ink and dryer. It sucks to lose that many sheets, and trust me- for a large flat area like a halftone it is not an easy thing to register twice.

If you want the stock to be ‘black’ even up to and on the edge, why don’t you consider duplexing/laminating a white sheet to a black backer, and print your black inked image with knocked out type of some sort?

After trimming, stack the sheets nicely and touch up the sides with some black ink and a sponge/rag (edge painting).
If you have a good accurate cutter you could probably do a pile of about 100 sheets at once with some wood-clamps and boards and a properly stacked/jogged pile; since the image would be black up to the edge of the sheet anyhow the ink creeping in a little won’t be a big issue even if you’ve never edge painted before.

One of my Flickr contacts recently posted a photo of a very successful light-on-dark piece, using, I believe, the “knock-out” method described above:


It is impossible to print White Opaque on black. It will give you a translucent grey.The closes that you can come is use silver ink.
White can overptint only by using hot stamp or silk screen