How to Print on a Plastic Sheet

by Elizabeth Hannigan; Updated September 26, 2017
You can print on plastic sheets at home.

Transparent plastic sheets are useful for art projects, business presentations and teaching. When used in combination with a light projector, they can display the image or text of your choosing in a large projection on a wall or screen. You do not need to go to a special print shop to print your images and text onto plastic sheets. You can print these plastic sheets in your home with an inkjet printer. Just make sure to allow your prints to dry before you handle them.

Items you will need

  • Computer
  • Inkjet printer
  • 8-1/2-inch-by-11-inch plastic printer sheets
Step 1

Take all the regular paper out of your printer. If you have normal paper in your printer when you try to print your plastic sheet, it can cause your printer to jam.

Step 2

Look inside your inkjet printer and confirm that it has plenty of ink. You must use an inkjet printer, because a laser printer will burn your plastic sheet and destroy both your sheet and your printer. You cannot print on plastic if your printer is low on ink, because your print will be illegible. White paper makes your ink appear more vivid, and without the white background, you must ensure that the print is as dark as possible.

Step 3

Turn your printer on and load a single plastic sheet, rough side down, into your printer tray. Plastic sheets made for at-home printing have a smooth glossy side and a slightly rougher, cloudy side. The rough side captures the ink and prevents it from smearing.

Step 4

Command your computer to print your desired text or image. Note that if you are printing on plastic at home, the less text or ink you require, the more successful your print is likely to turn out. Color saturated images like photographs will smear in an at-home printer.

Step 5

Print your image or text onto your plastic sheet. When the plastic sheet comes out of your printer with your material, very carefully lift the sheet by its sides, making sure not to touch the ink at all. Lay the sheet, ink side up, in a cool, dry place for at least fifteen minutes to allow it to dry. Note that even after your ink dries, it may still smudge if you rub it hard enough or fold it.

Step 6

Store your prints in a cool, dry place where they will not be shuffled. If you want to stack your plastic prints, place one sheet of regular paper in between each print and make sure not to place anything heavy on top of them. This will cause your ink to transfer to the paper separating the prints.

About the Author

Elizabeth Hannigan began writing freelance articles in 2005. Her work can be found in "Orientations" magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in art history from the University of Delaware.

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