Printing on Silicone Phone Wallets
Silicone phone wallets are the perfect phone accessory ever. This is because they have an adhesive that enables them to adhere to the back of any phone. The adhesive is strong enough to securely hold business cards, cash, identification or credit cards. This enables you to ditch bulky purses and wallets on your night out, sporting events or travel. Because they are easy to apply to a phone and can be taken anywhere. This makes silicone phone wallets a perfect promotional product. The challenge is decorating or printing the silicone phone wallets. On this article, we are going to discuss how to print on silicone phone wallets.
Items are needed to print on silicone phone wallets
– Catalyst (activates the ink)
– Solvent for silicone inks.
– Screens or printing pad
Optional: You can use a screen printer or a pad printer
-Pad printing machine like the Volta M100 1-Color pad printer
Printing custom silicone phone wallets
Silicone phone wallets are made of silicone. Printing on silicone is challenging. This is because it required a specialized ink which is silicone based. Many decorators and printer struggle and eventually give up or lose business because they do not know what ink to use to print on the wallets. Luckily, Boston Industrial Solution has developed the best ink to print onto silicone rubber-based products—Natron™ SE Series silicone ink. In addition, we have developed a screen printer for printing on silicone wallets – the Volta™ S150 1 Color tabletop screen printer
Why Natron™ SE Series silicone ink?
The SE Series silicone ink is the most trusted silicone printing ink globally to print onto any silicone-based product. The ink is not only technologically advanced compared to other silicone inks, but also features the highest opacity, gloss, and ease of use. This ink is ideal for both pad printing and screen printing.
For pad printing, this silicone ink release from a printing pad easily and offers a high opacity. In addition, the ink has a pot life of 8 – 24 hours depending on the solvent used to alter the inks viscosity. Type TRM Solvent offers about 12 hours pot life, Type TR offers 10 hours of pot file, Type SF offers 8 hours of pot life but gives the best release off printing pads. Type SS solvent is ideal to print in dry climates and open ink well machines.
SE silicone ink is also ideal for screen printing. The ink is easy to use and will not lock up the screens. For dry environments, Type SS solvent will increase the pot life and stability of the ink.
How to print silicone phone wallets
Printers all over the world are looking for ways on how to print onto silicone rubber products including silicone wallets. Some typical questions printers think about are:
- How do you print onto silicone wallets?
- Is the wallet made of silicone?
- Will the Natron™ SE series inks work for my wallet application?
- Should you pad print or screen print on silicone wallets?
Let’s address these and many other questions in detail.
Most popular silicone phone wallets
You can pad or screen print onto silicone wallets. This decision is dependent on type of silicone wallets.
There are several types of silicone phone wallets. They are all made of silicone rubber. However, the silicone rubber may vary from one silicone wallet to the other depending on the manufacturer. None is superior than the other. Choosing which to go with is a question of cost, aesthetics, design and feel. Below is a list of the most popular ones.
- 3M Silicon Wallet Cell Phone Card Holder / Econo Silicone Mobile Device Pocket Card Holder (most popular)
- Silicone Phone Wallet with Stand / Silicone Phone Stand and Smart Wallet Card Holder
- Dual Pocket Silicone Phone Wallet
- Strappy silicone Phone Holder / Silicone Lanyard with silicone Phone Holder and Wallet / Silicone RFID Card Holder with Lanyard
- Silicone Phone Pocket with Stand / Marsala silicone Phone Wallet and Stand
- Silicone Phone Wallet with Finger Grip
All these silicone phone wallets can be pad printed with the exception of the wallet with a stand. It is challenging to print on any wallet with bulging shape.
Testing the type of wallet rubber
Silicone generally is stable, non-reactive, and resistant to almost all extreme environments. It can endure temperatures ranging -55 °C to +300 °C (-67°F to 572°F) and still maintain its valuable properties. To determine if the silicone wallet is made of silicone, throw it in an oven at 400°F for a minute. If the wallet melts, then it is not made of silicone. If the wallet does not melt, then it is made of silicone rubber material.
Pad printing silicone rubber wallet
To pad print on silicone phone wallets, you’ll need a pad printer, an oven, silicone ink, pad printing pads, pad printing plate, and a solvent. Use the solvent to alter the inks viscosity and to clean up after printing. We offer several types of solvents ideal for pad printing. The choice of solvent is determined by how dry your printing environment is. If you are not sure, in general we recommend Type TRM solvent—it plays nicely in all printing environments.
We recommend the pad printing plates to be between .0013″ to .0017″. This will give you the best prints. If you are using a laser to etch the plate, make sure you do several (two or three) loops of the etch. For Photo polymer plates, shorten the time of the first exposure on plates. The theory on this is that the longer the first exposure time, the harder the plates, the shallower the etch – the opposite is true. For more information how to pad print please visit our article Pad Printing process explained. As a rule of thumb, Pad printing is ideal for printing small graphics (up-to 3 inches or 76mm) and on odd shaped objects. Screen printing is ideal for flat or round objects. The image size can be small, large, or a bold type graphic.
Ink for pad printing and screen printing onto silicone
Only silicone based inks will adhere onto silicone substrates. The best silicone ink in the world to print onto silicone rubber is the Natron™ SE™ Silicone inks. The SE silicone inks are easy to use, flexible, and offer excellent opacity. The ink also has a near perfect release from silicone printing pad especially if mixed with our solvents.
For screen printing, we recommend using any mesh count between 200 – 305.
Steps on how to print on silicone phone wallets
- Pour silicone ink into a mixing cup and note the weight of the ink. This is important because the amount of catalyst and solvent is dependent on the amount of ink. This step is very important.
- Using the ink weight as a basis, add catalyst. The catalyst should be 10% of the inks weight.
- Mix the ink together with the catalyst.
- NOT REQUIRED FOR SCREEN PRINTING: You may add solvent to alter viscosity.
- Pad print or screen print the wallets.
- Dry them through and oven at 275 – 300°F for 4 – 6 minutes in an oven.
Caution: Let the silicone wallets cool before touching them.
We recommend to always do a test run before running a full production run. This will help you determine your ideal settings for printing the silicone wallets.
Should you have any questions we are always available to answer any questions that you may have. You can contact us by clicking here