Project Description

What is UV Varnish in Digital Printing?

When you choose to use a large format digital printer, I think you should also know varnish besides the printer itself. Because varnish is often used, especially in UV printers due to its specific advantages. As the following you can see:


  • The most obvious advantage is varnish contains UV light stabilizers which enables to reduce fading, yellowing, cracking, peeling, flaking and something like these. Making it is a smart choice to print varnish on images that clients need to display for the gallery.

  • Varnish also can simplify the procedure of cleaning and handling a large digital printed image. Because varnish can make a print water-resistant but actually not waterproof. For example, you can post the varnish-cured image near a fountain. As for the limit of protection, test it for yourself.

  • Varnish offers a similar look as lamination, but it is much cheaper in fact. It’s a good way to bring more profits.

  • Besides the all above, varnish can be printed on a certain area of a print, such as shadows or highlight, called spot varnishing and we can compare it with spot color printing, which can offer the print a feel of quality.

So many advantages have been listed, you will surely want print varnish on images, right? Please wait and allow me to introduce what on earth is varnish, and why we don’t use varnish sometimes.

Definition & Disadvantages

Varnish, by the dictionary definition, is resin dissolved in a liquid for applying on wood, metal, or other materials to form a hard, clear, shiny surface. Virtually it is traditionally a combination of a drying oil, a resin, and a thinner or solvent. Many varnishes are solvent-based. That means when we operate the machine with varnishes, the VOCs they emit will bad for our body to some extent. We should follow appropriate measures to decrease risk.

Here is another: Though varnish can avoid the print yellowing

The varnish itself can yellow over time if the liquid contains tung or linseed oil. It is the point you should take seriously.

Yet the last but not least, the disadvantage is the lack of flexibility in changing the gloss level of the finished image. With varnish, the production efficiency will get slower.

Note: not all varnish is glossy.

There are also matte varnishes that merely intend to protect the image from damage without adding the shine. Like satin varnish offers sheen while tinted varnish gives the print a bit of color.