Printbuyers Online

Why did the dull varnish not show as dull?

Answered by Suzanne Morgan

I recently had my printer print a two-pocket 9 x 12 folder using 10 pt. Kromekote C1S. I specified dull in-line varnish to dull down the heavy ink coverage areas on the front cover, in order to "pop" the unvarnished predominantly white areas. End result? There was no distinguishable difference between varnished and unvarnished areas on this paper. I know dull aqueous or dull UV would have been more obvious, or even dry-trap dull varnish, but the cost would have been significantly greater. However, no difference whatsoever? What went wrong?

There may be several reasons why the dull in-line varnish didn't appear dull enough -- if at all.

  • Your printer may not have used a dull varnish that gives the optimum effect. I've been told that a Magnum Flat varnish appears much duller than a satin dull varnish.

  • It could be that the press operator didn't use enough varnish to give the effect you desired.

  • A dull varnish shows much better when printed off line -- in a separate pass through the press. Since they ran this varnish as they were laying down the other inks, it is likely that the varnish was absorbed into the other inks.

So, in addition to the above, here are a few things that you could do to avoid that problem in the future.

  • Have the printer run the dull varnish in a separate pass. Yes, it's more expensive, but in this case it sounds like the added cost would be worth it.

  • And yes, you are right in suggesting that a dull aqueous or UV coating would be an even better bet. The dull UV is going to be more expensive than a separate pass or the aqueous.

  • Definitely ask for an ink draw down or rollout from your printer. This is when the printer demonstrates what the ink will look like on paper before going to press. He simply draws the ink you have specified down the exact substrate you intend to print on.*

  • You may also want to talk to an ink manufacturer -- or have your printer do so. They should be able to advise the best way to run this job.

  • If using the same printer for this type of job again, make sure there is a plan to make this work. I'd want to know what they intend to do differently to get the effect you want.

* For more information on ink draw downs and rollouts, see our Ink Resources article in the Technical Corner. http//

   © 2016 Print Buyers, Inc.