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Printing white ink on stickers and labels

White ink is magical in the world of sticker and label printing. Not only can it be used by itself, but it is also perfect for creating a base for vibrant colours or playing with opacities.

Using white ink can change the appearance of your stickers and labels. Depending on the look you are after, you need to include several layers of white ink in your design. If you want to find out more about white ink printing, read on!

The effect of white ink 

Now, what do these layers of white ink do? That depends on the material you have chosen. But in essence, white ink can result in three different effects:

Effect white

When you select one of our effect materials (clear, holographic, glitter, silver or gold) for your stickers and labels, you can create different effects by printing one layer of colour onto them.

On clear material, for example, one layer of colour (including white) will result in a stained-glass, semi-translucent effect in that colour. When we print one layer of colour on our holographic material, on the other hand, it will generate a metallic colour.

Round clear sticker with Google Chrome design applied to a silver laptop
Circle eco-friendly glitter sticker with gh logo applied to secure wrapping paper
Die cut holographic sticker with old school ice cream van design hand held
Rectangle eco-friendly silver sticker with vitamin c design applied to a glass bottle

White ink underprinting

If you do not want the effect of your material to shine through, we use white ink to remove it. This is called white ink underprinting because we use white ink in between your material of choice and your colour. Essentially, certain areas of your design will have two layers of ink.

Say, you have selected the glitter material but want certain parts of your design not to have the glitter effect. We then print a layer of white ink on top of the areas you want to appear normally and then add your colours.

White ink is essential for stickers and printing as it functions like a neutral canvas for creating stunning colours.

Circle eco-friendly clear sticker with baker bros deli design applied to a white sandwich wrapper next to a stack of bagels
Circle glitter labels applied to black tins containing a custom made vitamin mix
Die cut holographic stickers applied to honey jars
Rectangle mirror silver label used as a coffee label on a brown bag next to sticker sheets and coffee beans
Rounded corner eco-friendly gold stickers with greenleaf logo applied to a clear candle jar

Opaque white

Of course, this logic works just as well with white ink. When we print two layers of white ink, we can create a beautifully opaque (non-see-thru) white for your stickers and labels. Even tiny details like small text are not a problem at all.

How opaque is your white ink?

Very. We use the world's best digital printer with UV-cured inks to ensure we can print the most opaque whites available. The images below show you how opaque the white ink is:

Rectangular clear label applied to a pink gin bottle next to a measuring cup and mint leaves
Oval clear logo sticker applied to clear water bottle next to a backpack
Rectangle clear labels applied to four spice jars filled with different spices

How do I add a white layer to my design?

We have a few different ways you can add white ink to your design. This article will go into each method. Scan the headings below to see which method is suitable for you.

Adding white ink for designers

If you are a designer, you can add white ink behind the colours you choose by creating a white layer, and calling it 'white'.

You don't need to add white behind the black layer, because black is opaque enough, even without white ink.

Create this white layer in a vector design programme such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw. White layers are known in printing as a 'technical ink'. If it's a vector shape, we can tell the printer exactly what colours to use so we get a beautifully vibrant white.

Adding white ink for non-designers

If you are not a designer, let us do the work for you. Just let us know where you want the white ink, and our design team will do the rest.

You can do that by selecting "Add proofing instructions" and telling us which parts of your design you want to appear opaquely.

Screenshot of checkout page requesting a design proof

We will create the white layer to create your desired result and send you a digital design proof for you to approve. Your white layers will be indicated as shown below:

Example of a design proof of a die cut sticker with a bleed and a cutline added

Remember, the rules of white ink apply to clear, holographic, glitter, silver and gold materials. For white vinyl stickers and labels, you do not need to specify anything.


And that is all you need about white ink underprinting for stickers and labels. If you are still unsure, you can