Unlock the Convenience of Plastic Card Printing for Your Business

Plastic Card Printing

Plastic Card Printing: Overview and What You Need To Know

Are you looking to make a unique plastic card that showcases your brand and makes a great lasting first impression? Plastic card printing has become a popular choice for both personal and professional applications, and with a little bit of research you can get everything needed to begin card printing. This article will cover the what, why and how of plastic card printing, discussing plastic card printers, accessories, features, benefits, pros cons, and the best practices of plastic card printing.

Introduction to Plastic Card Printing

Plastic card printing is a process that involves creating personalized cards, usually including a photo or graphic design, on durable plastic stock. Plastic cards have a variety of uses, ranging from ID cards to membership and loyalty cards, gift cards and more. Whether for a business, an organization or a personal life, plastic card printing can help create something special and customized for whatever the needs may be.

Plastic cards are made from a variety of plastic materials including PVC, PET or ABS, are highly customizable and can be printed with variable data, like customer information and barcodes, as well as logos, photos and personalized artwork. Additionally, plastic cards can also be printed with holographic foil to add an extra layer of security and sophistication. With all of the customization options, plastic card printing can be used for a variety of scenarios, from employee ID cards to promotional cards.

Plastic Card Printers

When it comes to plastic card printing, the first step is to purchase a printer. Plastic card printers are specialized machines designed specifically for printing onto plastic cards. There are two types of plastic card printers: direct-to-card printers and retransfer printers. Direct-to-card printers, also known as dye-sublimation printers, are often more economical options for printing cards as they are capable of printing directly on the card surface. Retransfer printers, on the other hand, are capable of print on a wider variety of card stocks, as they print onto a plastic film that is then transferred onto the card.

When choosing a printer, you'll also need to consider the features of each machine. Make sure to compare the print speed, resolution, card size and thickness supported by each machine. Additionally, it's important to consider the type of cards you'll be printing. For example, if you'll be printing thick cards with embedded electronics, you may require a retransfer printer, whereas if you'll be printing standard ID cards, a direct-to-card printer may suffice.

Features Benefits of Plastic Card Printers

  • High-quality, vivid printing.
  • Durable cards that last for years.
  • Ability to print on a variety of card stocks.
  • Easy to use and setup.
  • Faster printing speeds than traditional inkjet printers.
  • Great for printing batches of ID cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and more.

Pros Cons of Plastic Card Printers

Plastic card printers offer many benefits, however, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Some of the pros include:

  • High-quality printing.
  • Durability.
  • A variety of card stocks can be used.
  • Easy to use and setup.
  • Faster printing speeds than traditional inkjet printers.
  • Great for printing batches of ID cards, gift cards, loyalty cards and more.

The cons of plastic card printers include:

  • More expensive than traditional inkjet printers.
  • Card size and thickness are limited.
  • Printing options are limited.
  • Requires supplies like ribbons and cards.

Card Printer Accessories

In addition to the printer, you'll also need to purchase the necessary supplies and accessories. Most plastic card printers require the use of an ink ribbon to print on the card. Ink ribbons come in different colors and are specific to the printer model. Other accessories include: card stocks, cleaning kits, lanyards, name badges, badge holders and software.

Features Benefits of Card Printer Accessories

  • Ink ribbons for printing vivid, colorful designs.
  • Card stocks in different styles and colors.
  • Cleaning kits for removing dirt and debris.
  • Lanyards and badge holders for easy identification.
  • Name badges for a professional look.
  • Software for creating customized card designs.

Case Studies of Plastic Card Printing

To better understand how plastic card printing is used in different industries, let's take a look at a few case studies.

Magnetic Locksmiths

Magnetic Locksmiths is a locksmithing and security service located in San Francisco. They recently decided to invest in plastic card printing to create their company ID cards. By printing ID cards, they are able to identify their employees more easily and quickly and keep their company secure. Additionally, by using plastic cards, they can easily add barcodes, QR codes and holographic foil for added security.

Scratch Salons

Scratch Salons is a chain of hair salons located in Los Angeles. They recently invested in plastic card printing to create loyalty cards for their customers. With loyalty cards, customers can earn points for every dollar spent and get discounts on services. Additionally, they are able to add personalized photos and artwork to make their loyalty cards standout and more enjoyable to use.

FAQs About Plastic Card Printing

What is the difference between a direct-to-card printer and a retransfer printer?

A direct-to-card printer, also known as a dye-sublimation printer, prints directly onto the card surface. A retransfer printer, on the other hand, prints onto a plastic film and then transfers the printed image onto the card.

What type of cards can be printed?

Most plastic card printers are capable of printing standard PVC cards; however, some are capable of printing thicker cards with embedded electronics. Additionally, some printers are capable of printing on a variety of plastic card stocks.

Mistakes To Avoid in Plastic Card Printing

  • Choosing the wrong printerbe sure to do your research and compare the features and specs of each printer before you choose.
  • Not using the proper suppliesmost plastic card printers require special ribbons, cards and other supplies.
  • Using low-quality cardsusing low-quality card stock can result in poor print quality and faded colors.
  • Using outdated printer driversbe sure to use the latest drivers for your printer.
  • Not cleaning the printer regularlyif your printer isn't cleaned regularly, dirt and debris can accumulate and lead to poor print quality.

Best Practices of Plastic Card Printing

  • Research different printers to choose the best one for your needs.
  • Be sure to buy the proper ribbons, cards and accessories.
  • Purchase high-quality cards for vibrant colors and better print quality.
  • Always use the latest printer drivers.
  • Clean the printer regularly to prevent dirt and debris buildup.
  • Test print a few cards before printing in bulk.


Plastic card printing is a great way to create personalized cards that showcase your brand and make a lasting impression. There are a variety of plastic card printers available and it's important to research each printer to find the best one for your needs. Additionally, you'll need to purchase the necessary supplies and accessories to get started. Keep in mind the various features, benefits, and pros cons, as well as some of the best practices and mistakes to avoid when printing cards.