Varnish - What is a varnish?
A type of coating material that is made of a drying oil and a resin that are dissolved in a solvent. Varnishes form a clear film that is usually glossy, but may produce a satin or semi-gloss finish through the addition of flatting agents. They are applied to face materials in liquid form and dry through solvent evaporation (solvent evaporates leaving behind a solid film) or through curing processes such as oxidation (chemical reaction with oxygen) or polymerisation (chemical reaction with a catalyst) - these curing processes are often accelerated using heat or UV light.
Varnish coatings are used to enhance the appearance of a face material and to provide a protective cover that is both smooth and highly durable. They can be applied during the manufacturing process or after printing and are either over coated (cover the entire surface) or spot coated (cover sections of the surface).
In labelling, varnishes are most commonly used as a coating on face materials, but can also be used as a vehicle for ink where they help to produce a glossy print finish.Go Back to Glossary