How to Print on PVC Without a PVC Printer (Cheapest Ghetto Method)

✨ Megiddo

✨ President ✨
Staff member
May 15, 2016
How to Print on PVC Without a PVC Printer
by Novelty Temps

Items Needed:
Laminator (pref. with Tempature Gauge/Controller)
Inkjet Transparency Sheets (I used 3M HP & Epson Inkjet Transparencys)
Blank 30 mil PVC Card(s)


1. Turn laminator on to hot run with the temperature set to MAXIMUM HEAT. Let it heat up for about 20 minutes after the READY light comes on.
2. Take a inkjet transparency and print on the correct side (your temp that is). You'll have to do a reflect in AI to get it to be correct. I.E. You'll want it to be in the correct position when your looking at it through the glossy non-printable side.
3. Cut transparency to fit about .5 inches bigger than the PVC card.
4. Align on top of PVC card and place in carrier.
5. Run it through 5 times. The card will get so hot it will be almost liquidy in feel. The hotter it gets, the better. Just dont melt the fucking thing.
6. After you run it through the 5th time, IMMEDIATELY, THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!, have a heavy flat surfaced object ready for this, take the card out of the carrier and place the card on a flat smooth surface and place the heavy object on top of it. PRESS HARD and hold it there for around 30-45 seconds. Then take it off, the card must not get cold and stiff, it has to remain hot.
7. Very gently and evenly, pull the transparency off. If you pull it to hard, it will pop off taking the ink with it. If you pull slowly and gently, while the cards still hot, this will work flawlessly.
8. That's it. You'll notice that not all the ink comes off, that's OK, make the necessary adjustments to get the correct color on the finished card.
9. If you take your time and follow these instructions, this WILL work. Just dont get in a hurry.
10. To protect the PVC card (the ink will smudge if rubbed hard) place your overlay onto the front to protect it. The back can be sprayed with matte finish spray paint LIGHTLY to protect it.

Before you say this doesnt work, try it. The photo's I've included speak for themselves. Once again, as I've always told you, do not accept anything as being impossible.

Here's the various settings I used:
Epson C80
Matte Paper-Heavyweight

P.S. The Epson R-Series (I use an Epson R280) and Some of the newer EPSON ARTISAN models can print directly onto PVC using a separately available PVC ID Card Tray. The PVC tray should be positioned in the location of the CD/DVD tray. (I'll post a tutorial and templates soon)

You can buy an Epson printer if you are intent on mass-producing PVC IDs, too. You can buy a PVC printer for printing ID cards for certain US States, as one of the main benefits of PVC printers are the holographic ribbons that can be utilized to create holograms in bulk. Also, if you can find an ALPS dye-sub printer, these are excellent for various uses (IDs, Credit Cards, Holos, Etc...) They're hard to find and expensive but are versitile in printing novelty documents of all sorts! If anyone has one for sale, msg me!

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