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Water-resistant versus Water-proof Inkjet & Laser Label Sheets

Some companies sell what they call "waterproof labels" for you to use in your inkjet or laser printer. Vinyl is often used for inkjet printing and polyester is used for laser printing. While we agree that polyester laser labels are (cold/roomtemp) waterproof once printed, we recognize that not all of us do not have access to a laser printer. So when discussing waterproof vinyl inkjet labels - the term waterproof might be a bit misleading. Creative Label Concepts refer to the same type of inkjet vinyl labels as "water-resistant". This by far is the most honest description of such a label when printed on an inkjet printer. Regardless of how it's described, it's typically the same material and therefore the key to success is simply knowing how to work with the waterproof / water-resistant label material.

HOW THEY WORK: Water-resistant vinyl label sheets manufactured for an inkjet printer are top-coated with a substance that "locks in the ink". Therefore, it is important to achieve a balanced ratio between ink used and top-coating available for locking. If too much ink is used and therefore, not enough top-coating is available to lock it down, you will see some bleeding when in contact with water. There are 3 things that can be done to help resolve this issue, leaving you with a true water-resistant or near "WATER-PROOF" label:

Adjust your Printer Settings

  • most printers have advanced printer settings you can adjust for the different media types you might put through the printer. When you hit print, find the "paper type" or "media type" box and select premium paper (or experiment with the many media settings for best results)
  • You can also turn down your ink volume, too much ink being used can cause bleeding to occur. When you hit 'print', select the advanced features (you may have to look under different tabs to find this, it's different on every printer) -under the 'advanced settings, you should be able to turn down your ink volume resulting is a better-quality water-resistant label.


  • If you are printing using heavy graphics, rinsing of your water-resistant label sheet might be required. Print as usual and let the ink set for several minutes. Then, simply rinse sheet under cold water to wash away any "unlocked" ink that is sitting above the top-coating - this will leave you with a perfectly bleed-free and near waterproof label sheet.
  • You can also add your own top-coating - if appropriate for your application, giving it a bit of extra protection. This is especially useful if you will be using the waterproof / water-resistant label as a bumper sticker or some other outdoor use label. It is also useful when you are needing near waterproof labels for your line of bath and body products. We recommend Krylon's Preserve It (matte finish) spray on top-coating (available at your local craft store). It will leave a chemical smell, however, if you leave your treated labels sit in open air for 48 hours, we have found the chemical smell to dissapate and that it will not interfere with your scented bath and body products.