How to Print directly onto Leather

By now you’ve definitely seen the best of brands using printed leather in their products and you’ve begun to wonder how is it that they’re doing that.

This might not be intuitive but with new technology, a lot of equipment and services are available which might help you print directly onto leather. This printed leather can further be used to make bags, belts, jackets, covers, cases and what not.

What is the process of printing leather?

The process is quite simple actually. In the case of thick real leather, the sheet or skin is kept on a the bed of UV flatbed printing machine. The machine has a movable printing head that moves along the bed and keeps printing the relevant portion without moving the leather.

For artificial leather which comes in rolls, there are special UV roll-to-roll printing machines which print leather like any other paper or vinyl surface. The only difference is that these inks are UV-cured and hence form a permanent thin layer on the surface thus giving the material a spectacular finish.

This is quite an advanced technology and these machines costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The good news for you is you don’t have to spend that much as UV printing companies will do it for you.

What kinds of leather can I print on?

There is no real limitation – the leather can be real (cow, goat, sheep, buffalo) or artificial (PU foam, Leatherite, Rexine, fabric based etc) . Though it sometimes might be a problem to print on leather which is extremely stretchable for it’s size can change and since the print is a fixed size, it might lose some of its ink. But for the thicker lot or the non-stretchable sheets, it’s much easier.

Can I print on a specific color of leather?

Ordinarily, leather which needs to be printed should be of a white or a light color. Since printing always needs a white (or light colored) base as colored inks are deposited onto the surface, printing dark leathers can sometimes be an issue. However, with the advent of white printing this is resolved too. The UV machine first prints a layer of white ink wherever the colored ink has to fall and the colored printing is done as a second process hence giving us the ability to print on all colors however this is more time consuming and expensive.

Jacket made by Printing on black leather

Jacket made by Printing on black leather

Do we need an extra coating on the leather after printing it?

Sometimes. Depending on the grain and surface quality of leather, sometime the UV curing is not enough and an additional layer of a UV liquid laminate might be required to make sure the ink stays in place. The print service provider will be able to help you with these details.

Amitoje India is one of India’s leading provider for UV Leather printing in Delhi, India. Contact us for more details.