Peel Back the Possibilities of UV Coating

UV coatings offer more than just shine. They offer protection, function and other unique properties. You can choose a gloss, satin, or matte UV coating that functions and exhibits properties such as:

Foil Stampable


‘Pseudo-emboss’ or raised image


Glitter or pearlescent

Liquid Foil

Each formulation unlocks the opportunities of creating new and exciting graphic designs that will set you apart. Requirements to achieve these new opportunities include desire, the right equipment, and insight on equipment setup.

Foil stampable and glueable coatings require the most attention to detail in the set up. Generally speaking, to make a UV coating foil or glue receptive, many of the wetting and slip additives are removed. As such, special precautions need to be taken in the set up: all pumps, hoses, and equipment should be thoroughly cleaned, to avoid cross-contamination. If the coating gets cross-contaminated, it will not accept a foil stamp as well or the glue won’t adhere as well.

‘Pseudo-embossed’ or raised image UV coatings are typically applied by a screen coater, using a large mesh screen (40-180 mesh). These UV coatings are higher viscosity than other coatings, so that they don’t drip through the screen while the coating is being applied. While the biggest ‘trick’ to these coatings is the formulation itself, the set-up and application procedures can make this job run a lot smoother. For example, a typical screen is built with a couple of layers of knock-out emulsion on top and bottom; a raised image screen should be set up with two to three layers of knock-out emulsion on top, and up to eight to 10 layers of emulsion on bottom.

A textured UV coating is generally defined as a coating that produces a sandpaper feel. Achieving that sandpaper feel is one of the most difficult processes with UV coatings. The main reasons why this is the most difficult process are that large particles are being applied and because UV coatings are 100% solids. Particles used in UV coatings to create the textured effect are generally 10 to 50 micron. A standard anilox (or screen) does not have the carrying capacity to transfer these particles. Thus, the particles are ‘held back’ and deposited back into the coating. In order to achieve the sandpaper look, the particles need to protrude enough through the surface. To achieve this look using an anilox coater, wider and shallower anilox cells are recommended.

Glitter and Pearlescent UV coatings will definitely add a unique look to a print. Glitter coatings will show up no matter where they are applied, due to the size and shape of the glitter in the coating. Pearlescent materials are much smaller in particle size, compared to glitter additives. Pearlescent additives typically run from one to 100 micron. Glitter additives run from 0.002 (or 50 micron) up to nearly any size you want.

Liquid Foil UV coatings are some of the most exciting coatings to be developed in recent years. These UV coatings were specifically developed to imitate the look of a foil stamp. These coatings give nearly the same effect, but don’t require another piece of equipment to achieve the same look. All you need is a UV coater that can spot print an image to use the liquid foil “coatings”. While these “coatings” are considerably more expensive than your standard UV coatings, you will be able to save more by creating the foil stamp look in one-pass, versus the extra work required to get a job foil stamped on a separate piece of equipment and shipping the job back and forth.