adhesive label stock

I have offered to print labels for a friend who makes salve. It’s packaged in small plastic containers. The stock should be able to stand up to greasy hands opening and closing the container. Can anyone suggest an adhesive label stock? This is all new to me. I usually print with rubber based ink; I assume I’ll have to use oil based. Any suggestions are greatly welcomed.


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Usually, “like dissolves like”, so oil base ink may not be the best choice for use with an oil based product.

I’d get some salve and test it against prints made with the rubber ink.

As for stock, I’d look for one with gum that you wet with water, like old-school packing tape. (Most peel & stick labels I’m familiar with will loosen with exposure to oil. )

Example: Label moistener:

Heather, if it is a plastic container you must get a self adhesive label with the proper adhesive for plastic. The issues are that the solvents in the label glue will draw out the plasticiser in the plastic making the label translucent and”slimy”. As a printer l have learned the hard way about making sure the label and the product it goes on are compatible. Contact the paper merchant you are buying from to get you the tech support info from the manufacturer of the label stock.
Ted Lavin

Thanks for your replies and cautions. I’ve got the jars in hand and will experiment with different papers and inks. Any specific suggestions for a good label stock to start with?


Hi Heather, more to consider. Is this going to be a retail item ? If yes there is a whole boatload of regulation regarding product labeling that has to be checked. For a label stock I would go the paper merchant route for tech support & suggestions knowing the type of plastic the container is made of will help.
Ted Lavin

Almost all label stocks today use acrylic- or silicone-based adhesives. These are by far the most durable kinds and definitely can withstand oils. What you will probably need to use, though, are plastic labels. Paper ones will discolor with oil, even if the adhesive doesn’t fail.

To print on plastic labels may require an ink like ToughTex, but I’m not sure. They make plastic labels with special coatings to allow inkjets to print on them. Those coatings may allow litho/letterpress inks to dry as well. It could be worth a try.

As to sources, at the offset/laser printshop that is my day job, we buy sheet label stock from a company called Online Labels ( ). They have an amazing variety of pre-die-cut sheets as well as full-sheet label stock. You may well find something that would work from them. You might also be able to contact them for suggestions.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN