Protecting your inkjet prints from the effects of water, UV, abrasion

11th March 2017 | Inkjet Spray | Posted by Derric Landor | 8 Comments »

One of the major difficulties with using low cost desktop inkjet printers is that invariably the inks are not adequately or fully resistant to water and sensitive to UV light, or for that matter any effects when desired for a longer period of time. The mixture of water and inks will simply either stain, or disperse the inks especially if you are using a printer that uses dye inks. A lot of inkjet printers that are sold or marketed as pigment inkjet printers often have a combination of dye and pigment inks because the pigments are solids, and as solids they block out the transparency that effectively enables your print colours to be vibrant.

Even today, with the quality of inkjet inks, black especially lacks that extra depth of colour on its own with pure black pigments so the manufacturers, including HP, Epson, Canon enhance the depth by incorporating dye within their pigment inks. Some printer manufacturers also will compromise further as I have found a number of pigment inkjet printers black version is either 100% or to a large degree Dye mixed with pigment

This has been proven time and again when we have tested prints from these printers even when they reportedly claim their inks are pigmented!

Because we offer both water based and solvent inks for artists, photographers, as well as the sign, display and promotions market we know first hand that not all pigment inks are pure pigment. some have greater and lesser degrees of resistance agains water, and chemicals.

The other challenge is that papers are vulnerable to water so the addition of water to the surface of print papers will invariably cause the paper to cockle. So this is where our colourjet inkjet sprays will address the issue when you are not using film. Today there are some stunning films, mainly polyester and polypropolene that can actually print excellent colours and well beyond the quality of a gloss coated paper. Given the choice I would be equally happy with a white polyester film in lieu of a photo gloss or satin paper. And as well as total water resistance it doesn’t tear either.

Our Colourjet sprays are acrylic, and they are 100% successful onto almost any substrate, be it paper, cloth, fabric, films, pvc or board. The single main problem with them is they are acrylic and hence smell quite strongly and so you need to work in a well ventilated area.  But not all sprays are the same either. Some people recommend hairspray, which in my opinion is not giving your print the justice and protection it rightly deserves.

The main reasons for using an inkjet spray is either you need and want added protection for longer term or archival enjoyment of your prints or in some cases outdoors or they will fade over time by the effects of the environment, be it indoors, or outdoors, in a public environment or even in the home where dust, dirst and eventual accumulation of grime will lead to degradation of the ink on the surface. The use of our colourjet sprays will lead to some distinctive changes from the original quality you produced.

Different degrees of exposure to Water, abrasion, dirt, grease and pollution in the air will determine the life and quality of your prints.  Using our colourjet sprays you will find that the best resins, UV inhibitors will protect but also with the choice of gloss, satin or matt equally enhance the vibrancy and depth of your print colours as well as bump them up especially with gloss and Satin.

Water based inks will work very well with most films and plastic or non porous surfaces and is a lot easier. All you need is a paint or varnish roller and as with emulsion paints will self level and dry within about 15 mins. The only disadvantage is that during that drying period dust particles will stick and embed into the surface of the coating.

There are a lot of different sprays and fixatives that will do the job, but if you want a guaranteed bond, quality and longevity of your prints you really do need to make sure your coatings also have UV inhibitors especially if your prints will be displayed, or handled in or near UV light directly or indirectly.

Colourjet only uses the best in acrylic polymer and uv inhibitors and works on virtually any material. If your prints are water resistant, both the inks and the material then you can also use the colourjet water based coatings. Although you will have to hand coat as it is not technically possible to incorporate water based coatings into an aerosol, due viscocity and even coating/spraying with water. It is however possible to use a spray gun with air compression.

For more information or personal guidance as to the best methods, coatings and media compatability do not hesitate to contact us either at or call us on +44 1252 624411



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