Pad Printing
3 min read

Print on Apple’s new leather and silicone cases for the iPhone 14 lineup.

Every year, Apple releases new products. This year, 2022, is no different. Apple announced the release of its Apple Watch series 8 and iPhone line-up. These products are the perfect corporate and consumer gifts. Both the Apple Watch series 8 and the iPhone line up have silicone and leather accessories. These accessories are perfect for customization. Watch bands and phone cases are ideal for pad printing, screen printing, or even engraving. DYI enthusiasts who sell on Etsy engrave and color-fill these products. For this article, we will focus on how to print Apple’s new leather and silicone cases for the iPhone 14 lineup using Natron printing inks.

The main purpose of cases is to protect the phones. While these accessories are important for keeping the phones new and safe, they also allow users to customize and companies to promote their brands. This is important especially as we approach the gifting seasons. Apple is offering three materials for the cases. These are clear PVC or vinyl cases for those who prefer their new device to take center stage; leather for those who prefer a luxury look; and silicone for those who want sustainability and a luxury feel. All of these cases are now available in the Apple Store’s online store.

Techniques for customizing, decorating, and printing iPhone cases

There are several methods for customizing cases for the iPhone 14 lineup. These are spray painting or coating, engraving and color filing, pad printing, screen printing, and digital inkjet printing. Each of these ways to customize iPhone 14 cases is different, gives a different finish, and can be used based on volume.

Spray painting iPhone 14 line-up cases

Spray painting is suitable for silicone-based cases. This customization method is very easy to do. It is perfect for DYI, hobbyists, and art students of any age. To spray paint, you will need an airbrush, silicone ink, and solvent. If you are interested in learning how to spray paint on silicone, please see the video below.

Engraving and color filling on iPhone cases

For this decorating technique, laser engraving equipment is required. The Glowforge is an entry-level engraving machine for DYI enthusiasts. This method of customization is suitable for leather and silicone cases. Leather cases do not need to be color-filled. Silicone cases look best if they are engraved and color-filled. To color fill silicone engraved cases, you will need the Natron SE silicone inks for industrial applications or SiliArt inks for DYI and Etsy resellers. The laser enables decorators to serialize or even create one-off designs or names. Variable data is very hard and expensive for silicone-based phone cases compared to pad printing or screen printing applications. On the other hand, inkjet printing makes it easy to decorate leather cases with data that changes.

Learn how to color fill engraved silicone products.

Screen and pad printing solutions for phone cases

Screen and pad printing are very similar. These two methods of printing use a stensil for the image. Pad printing uses printing plates (cliche), silicone pads, printing cups, pad printing inks, and a pad printing machine. Learn more about pad printing supplies. Screen printing, on the other hand, uses a screen printing machine, screen, squeegee, and screen printing inks. Screen printing is best for flat, circular, and cone-shaped items. Pad printing prints on both flat surfaces and odd-shaped items.

Both of these methods require an ink that will work based on the substrate. And as we know, the iPhone 14 lineup cases are made with silicone, vinyl, and leather. Each of these substrates requires a specific ink. To print on the silicone cases, you will need silicone ink. For leather, you will need our Natron TP or EK series inks for plastics and leather. TP ink will also work exceptionally well on vinyl and many other plastics. Please note that pad printing and screen printing methods are best for high volume production and bad for variable data applications.

Inkjet printing on iPhone 14 lineup cases

Industrial inkjet printing is expensive but very cost-effective in the long term. This method of printing requires inkjet printing equipment and UV inkjet printing inks. While UV inkjet inks are still evolving, UV ink primers are used to aid ink adhesion on hard-to-print substrates. UV inkjet inks do not adhere to silicone, but will work very well on leather on the clear iPhone cases. For this printing application, you can use our Natron 314 series UV inkjet inks or the Natron 160 flexible UV ink. These two UV printing inkjet inks work well with Piezzo print heads such as Ricoh Gen 4 and Gen 5 print heads. Learn more about our alternatives to Mimaki® LUS120, LUS150, and LUS170 inkjet ink.

Check out our printing applications page for printing and decorating solutions.

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