A varnish is a clear liquid coating applied to a printed surface to add an even gloss, matte or satin finish. A varnish increases colour absorption and speeds up the drying process. It also seals the surface,providing a protective layer to prevent ink rubbing off by handling.


Machine Varnishing

A Machine Varnish is a virtually invisible coating that is applied to the printed item immediately after the ink is put on the paper. It will not affect the appearance of the job, but works as a seal so that the job dries very fast. Often used for fast turnaround jobs on matte papers.


Aqueous Varnishing

Aqueous Varnish is a water-based varnish, which is generally more scuff resistant than machine varnishing and has a faster drying time. It can create a higher quality gloss finish too.



UV Varnishing

Whilst the two previous varnishes dry by air, UV Varnishing is a coating that “cures”. Curing is a term that refers to the toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains after been exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UV light) and requires the use of a special ultraviolet drying machine. A UV varnish is noticeably richer and more luxurious.


UV Spot Varnishing

UV Spot Varnishing is when the varnish is applied to specific areas on a printed sheet. This has the effect of highlighting that part of the design, but it also provides the additional visual stimulus of having varied textures on a single printed surface. Aesthetically, it is very eye-catching and brings a new dimension to the print.


One very effective application is to apply a UV gloss spot varnish on top of matt laminate. This achieves maximum contrast between the highly reflective gloss UV coating and the light-absorbing matt laminate, and creates a striking first impression of the print.