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How to Make Your Labels Waterproof [After Printing]

Updated 05/16/2023
Different techniques/methods of waterproofing labels so they can resist water, moisture, and more

This article is designed to help you add extra durability to your label sheets after they've been printed. While these tips may increase your labels' resistance to moisture, contact, or submersion, they work best with film-based labels. Learn more about paper vs film label materials. We cover choosing a good base material below, as well as several proven waterproofing tips.

If you're starting with a paper-based label, please note that these tips will not make your labels waterproof – they will only help waterproof your printed design.

1. Choose A Waterproof Label

We're proud to offer a full line of waterproof/weatherproof labels for inkjet and laser printers. They are capable of withstanding moisture-rich environments, heavy-handling, and more.

Having said that, we understand there are conditions and applications that may require additional efforts. Before we cover those situations and possible add-on solutions, it's important to start with a strong base. Listed below are our waterproof label options separated by printer type.

Waterproof Labels for Inkjet Printers

Our weatherproof materials for inkjet printers both feature bright white facesheets perfect for creating vibrant, colorful designs. They function the same, but differ in their facesheet characteristics. One material has a matte coating whereas the other has a glossy coating.

Shop: white matte labels | white gloss labels

Waterproof Labels for Laser Printers

Laser printing technology creates a more durable print, so there are a few more options for laser printer users. If you're looking for white, we have a white polyester that features a slight satin sheen.

If you're looking for a more unique option, you can also choose from clear matte, clear gloss, and silver polyester. As the names suggest, the first clear is frosted whereas the latter is completely transparent. The silver, on the other hand, has a silver finish reminiscent of brushed metal.

Shop: white polyester labels | clear matte labels | clear gloss labels | silver polyester labels

2. Add Durability

Once your labels are printed, here are two of our top recommendations for additional protection.

Some things to keep in mind if you're printing with an inkjet printer:

  • Print your labels using your printer's photo paper/glossy setting. On most printers, this setting lays the ink down more permanently compared to the default plain paper setting.
  • Allow your labels plenty of time to dry before attempting these methods. Waiting 24 hours is ideal, but even just a few hours would give the ink enough to set properly.

Read through both options then choose the method that's best for you.

Note: The following two methods will work for clear gloss laser materials, but your best bet for durable, waterproof labels is to print your labels on our clear gloss laser material which requires a laser printer.

A. Clear Gloss Overcoat Spray

There are great topcoating products available at most hardware and craft stores. A clear product with a glossy finish will provide the best look and give your labels maximum staying power.

  1. Print labels and wait for them to dry.
  2. Remove the matrix from your label sheet. The matrix is the facesheet material separating your labels.
  3. Place labels on a clean surface.
  4. Shake can vigorously for about a minute.
  5. Hold the can 10-12 inches away from the surface and using a sweeping motion, begin spraying off to the left of the sheet. Release the spray after each pass and give the can a good shake. Repeat until label sheet is covered to help ensure you get an even coat.
  6. Allow the labels to dry for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Peel your labels off the sheet and apply.

B. Apply An Overcoat Sheet

Our clear gloss laser labels are perfect for "laminating" your labels. The secondary label will help protect the edges of your label, so your designs will be sealed in safely!

  1. Choose a size slightly bigger than that of your label.
  2. Apply the clear label over the top of your existing label.
  3. Let it set. The longer it can sit before being exposed to wet conditions, the better it will perform.

Whether you're looking to increase the strength of your waterproof labels or add a little more durability to paper ones, the above tips can help certainly help.

To safe time, consider having us print your labels for you on our weatherproof material. We offer both our white weatherproof and clear weatherproof materials when you get custom printed labels on rolls rather than sheets.

Looking for personalized support? Our customer service team is happy to help you find the right fit. Call us at 1-888-575-2235.

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