inks for printing on vinyl / leatherette?

I am attempting to print on a journal cover that is made of vinyl / leather-like material. I started out with oil based inks, and so far nothing seems to be drying. I’ve tried oil based block printing ink from Graphic Chemical and Ink Co (that took days and never dried). I am currently testing Gan’s Hard Dry blending ink, which is supposed to be formulated for vinyl and non-porous materials. So far it’s taking forever too. I have not yet tried rubber-based ink, but research has said that this dries by absorption, which would be a problem here. Has anyone else had experience printing on this type of material?

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You need an ink that dries by Oxidation, like one used for printing on foil

There are special inks made for Vinyl, but most Vinyl is screen printed with solvent based ink that etch into the substrate.

Try requesting samples from the big ink makers, can you get Van Son inks in the US?

Good luck


Thanks for the info. I can get Van Son inks, and I have used them in the past with good result.

After reading more on the Gans ink I am trying, it does dry by oxidation only. It was eventually drying, but you could flake it off after it dried.

My final solution was to coat the vinyl with a primer first. The oil-based inks still wouldn’t work, but that allowed the Gans ink to adhere properly.

Thanks again!

Hi Again

…I have just had a thought.

I think I once added a little vinyl solvent to the ink-stirred it in and it etched the vinyl so the ink did not flake off

I don’t think rubber based is any good at all-probably won’t dry

Worth a try


We actually had this same problem with a photographer’s portfolio that we printed and hand-bound.
After trying everything from rubber to acrylic to sign paint to vinyl paint to whatever else we could think of…nothing worked. We ended up outsourcing the book to our local hot foil stamper.
Maybe if it’s an option, you can go with a foil stamp.

You can see how it turned out here:

Good luck.

The portfolio is beautiful! I had not considered foil stamping, but that sounds like a good option too.

The only combination of ink/primer that is now working on our project is Chromatic Ti-Cote primer with the Gans Hard Dry ink. My usual oil based ink still would not stick even with the primer. The Ti-Cote is normally used to treat vinyl surfaces to make them receptive to lettering enamels, but for some reason it worked with the Gans ink.

Wow that’s interesting…the next time I’m ever working on a project that involves vinyl material and ink, I’ll keep that combination in mind.

I have successfully printed on vinyl (both clear and gloss white) using Van Son “Tough Tex”. Left overnight the ink has dried perfectly. Good luck, John