Resources : PFL

A question we often get asked here at Printcraft is ‘why should I varnish my print job’?

Primarily for protection. Varnishes, laminates and coatings will help reduce problems with moisture, scuffing, marking, cracking and those pesky finger prints.  But more and more these days we’re also seeing varnishes used to enhance the design and finish of a job.

Whether it’s part of the creative, or simply for paper protection, here’s the low down on some of the varnishes we use here at Printcraft.

Aqueous Varnish

Aqueous coating is a clear, fast drying, water based varnish with either a high gloss or matt finish. It’s often used by printers to speed up the drying time of the printed sheet as well as providing a scuff resistant finish. Aqueous is typically applied to the entire sheet, and usually on the last deck of the press. With its water foundation, aqueous coatings don’t yellow like their oil based counterparts, not to mention being more environmentally friendly.

Oil Based Varnish

Varnish is basically a clear gloss or satin ink. An ‘allover’ vanish is as it sounds .. allover, however this process allows specific areas to be singled out, highlighting a particular image or pattern. Oil based varnishes tend to yellow over time and are not as thick or glossy as an aqueous coating.

Soft Touch Coating

This one creates a velvety texture. The paper becomes ‘soft’ to touch, is non yellowing and fast drying. It is applied in line on the same press unit as the aqueous varnish.


Celloglazing is the processing of applying a thin sheet of plastic film to the printed piece by a machine that uses both heat and pressure. The film is either gloss or matt and can help eliminate finger marks and cracking. Celloglazing is suitable for paper stocks over 170gsm. Whilst it does create a protective moisture barrier, take heed that celloglazing only one side of the sheet can, over time, cause the page to curl as moisture is drawn into the unlaminated side.

When not to use a print coating?

All that said, there are certain times when you DO want your paper to go naked. Some coatings can make stock difficult to write on, overprint or glue, especially a glossy finish. If there is any doubt always discuss the end usage of your product with the team at Printcraft.

For more information or samples of any of the aqueous, soft touch or celloglaze finishes contact us here.