Show off with drip off

The secret behind the finish of this Inspire cover is drip off. Impressed? Here are five simple tips to help you master the technique.

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There are almost as many different types of varnish as there are types of printed material. The most rational use for varnish is of course to provide protection. A varnished surface stops the ink from smearing but it also protects the printed material itself from rubbing and other external influences, not least during transport. Some varnishes are used mainly to heighten the visual and sometimes also the tactile effect – such as marking the distinction between matte and shiny surfaces. For this issue of Inspire we have used a technique called drip off. Mats Strand of Strand Grafiska explains how it works.

1. Two stages for a 3D effect

Drip off is a finishing technique that uses two steps to create a three-dimensional impression. First apply a primer to the areas you want to highlight to give them extra structure. Then apply a shiny varnish to the entire surface. It is this combination that creates the drip off magic. You can control and experiment with the effect by using the right amount of varnish and the right power of the press’s UV lamps.

2. Let the details make the difference

Unlike partial varnishing, for example, which is also a technique to add a structural effect to selected parts of an image, drip off creates a far more detailed and effective result. Another advantage is that a drip off-treated surface is much more resistant to scratches and dents.

3. Drip off likes the dark

For the best possible effect, drip off should be used on darker colour shades. It does also work on lighter shades but the contrasts are less and therefore the result is not as obvious as it is against a dark background.

4. Invercote is a perfect choice

Most types of paperboard that have a smooth, fine surface can be finished with drip off but as you can see from this cover, Invercote is a particularly good choice. That is not least thanks to Invercote’s surface, which is easy to work with and has excellent printability.

5. Good bang for the buck

Drip off gives you a lot of effect for your money. That is because the entire process – from printing to finishing – is done at the same time, which keeps the production costs down.

However, it is important to use only UV inks because rapid drying time is a necessity. And of course you also need to find the right printing firm. The technique requires a special configuration in the press, which is relatively common among printers who work with packaging.

Discover more finishing techniques in our Reference Manual

Inspire contact

Charlotte Lagerwald
Iggesund Paperboard
Mobile: +46 73 077 05 59


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