Surface Finishing Styles

Closer To Our Custom Finishing Styles

The finish is a process of the card, box and booklet surface with a layer of paint. It is also known as varnish, which can improve the gloss and smoothness of the surface, and serve as a colorfast, scratch-resistant, and moisture-resistant material.

Moreover, in today’s world where environmental protection is advocated, varnish-treated cards are more environmentally friendly and can be easily absorbed by the soil. But in contrast to the lamination mentioned above, varnish has a lower gloss overall.

Common finishing

We now offer two finish styles to choose from when printing your project: lamination (matte/glossy/silk-touch/anti-scratch) and varnish (matte/gloosy/UV gloosy).

Special finishing

You can try: hot stamping, spot foil stamping, cold foil stamping, gilt edging, matte cold edging, holographic Effects, 3D stamping, Reverse UV, etc.

Lamination finish types

Lamination is essentially an adhesive film covering the surface of cards or boxes. There are overall two effects: gloss lamination and matte lamination.

  • Gloss lamination

It can create a bright, vibrant, and beautiful effect on the card or box surface. Generally speaking, we would recommend it for faces with lighter overall colors of patterns (such as a lot of pink, white, etc.). It can perform well to protect against fading, water, rubbing, scratching. We offer both normal glossy and holographic glossy as regular options.

  • Matte lamination

It can give a non-smooth effect to the card or box surface, which makes the color more subdued and elegant. For some overall darker colors (such as a lot of black, dark blue, etc.), matte lamination is recommended. Besides, it can be matched with spot UV and spot gold stamping to present a more stand-out visual effect. We offer a wide range of different matte laminations to meet your special needs.

Whether gloss lamination or matte lamination depends on personal preference, there is no absolute advantage or disadvantage between them.

Attention: The lamination and edging processes conflict with each other. If you want a gilded edge or matte edge, with a glossy or matte surface effect, you can choose varnish styles as following.

Common gloss lamination

Common gloss lamination

  • Effect: Shiny
  • Fit: Poker cards, game cards, flashcards, tuck box, lid & bottom box, etc.

Gloss lamination also called PP lamination or POP lamination can create a bright, vibrant, and beautiful effect. We recommend it for card or box faces with lighter overall colors of patterns (pink, white…). It can protect against fading, water, rubbing, scratching, and so on, but it cannot be used at the same time with the edging finish.

Common matte lamination

Common matte lamination

  • Effect: Elegant
  • Fit: Tarot cards, oracle cards, affirmation cards, tuck box, lid & bottom box, etc.

Our standard matte lamination can be both colorfast and waterproof, but there is an inevitable risk of scratching or scuffing. If you have higher requirements, we recommend using our higher-end anti-scratch matte, which can largely avoid scratches.

Holographic film lamination

Holographic film lamination

  • Effect: Super shiny
  • Fit: Tarot cards, game cards, collector cards, magnetic boxes, etc.

It is a premium lamination option with different patterns and a relatively high price. The holographic treatment is very shiny and cool, bringing a luxurious visual feeling. It can protect the card or box to a great extent from warping, delamination, fading, and moisture. However, it makes shuffling or cutting less smooth. MOQ: 250 decks.

Anti-scrath matte lamination finish

Anti-scratch matte lamination

  • Effect: non-fading, waterproof, anti-scratch
  • Fit: Tarot cards, oracle cards, affirmation cards, magnetic box, lid & bottom box, etc.

It uses a special laminated technology that is visually perfect and more scratch-resistant than a normal matte lamination. It is ideal for use on large areas of solid-colored card surfaces (such as black and red), thus preventing scratches and wear and giving more protection to the cards.

Silk matte lamination

Silk matte lamination

  • Effect: Smooth and tactile
  • Fit: Tarot cards, oracle cards, affirmation cards, magnetic box, lid & bottom box, etc.

It is a unique and high-level coating that lies somewhere between 100% shiny and 100% matte to a certain extent, and it allows for a smooth touch in a glossy way and durability and ease of writing in a matte way. When it is used with spot UV, it can create a strong contrast effect.

Varnishing finish types

Varnish is a coating applied to your printed artworks during or after printing. Add varnish to the work to enhance the appearance or protect the work from abrasion or scratch. It can also protect your prints when handling or in contact with moisture or chemicals. But in contrast to the lamination mentioned above, varnish finishing has a lower gloss overall.

Next, we will present our 4 varnish finishing effect options in the order of low to high gloss:

  • Common matte varnish/Aqueous finish
  • Butter varnish/Semi-matte varnish
  • Common glossy varnishing
  • UV gloss varnishing
Common matte varnish

Common matte varnish

A common matte varnish is also called an aqueous finish or water-based varnish, with cost-effective. 

It can give your print a less glossy look, colors and images will look softer and more subdued, and makes the text easier to read. It does not contain organic solvents, heavy metals, and toxic substances, it has no irritating odor and is friendly to humans and the environment. It can protect your card or box face from fingerprints and prevents scratches and wear.

UV gloss varnish

UV gloss varnish

This is the most commonly chosen effect. It is made by exposing the coating to UV light, which allows it to dry and cure quickly, resulting in a coating with a super high gloss finish.

It has the highest gloss (especially for dark colors), higher abrasion resistance, and clarity compared to the above methods. It is also a recyclable and environmentally friendly material. If you don’t want the entire card or box face to be too dazzling, you can also use spot UV printing process technology to make the accent details stand out.

Common gloss varnishing

Common gloss varnishing

This is a normal gloss effect. It has standard dirt and water resistance and makes colors appear brighter and richer.

It is commonly used on ordinary playing cards and flashcards. However, for PVC cardstock, the gloss may have the problem of color loss because it is too slippery.

Butter varnishing finish

Butter varnishing finish

The butter finish has a semi-matte varnishing effect, which is perfect for casino playing cards, Cardistry playing cards, and magic playing cards.

Besides, it achieves superior smoothness, touch, shuffling, and cutting experience while ensuring an elegant appearance.

Linen Effect Imprinting

Linen texture is a special finish that is often used in high-end playing cards and game cards. We have described its features in the “Playing card cardstock types” section.

Our options include linen-textured cardstock, which may have a weakened tactile feel and lines after printing and other surface treatments. If you want a more pronounced touch and lines, you can choose a smooth cardstock first and then proceed to add a linen finish later.

Post-processed linen textures need to be added after the printing is complete. At this point the paper will be pressed under a heavy metal roller with a crosshatch pattern and the lines will be etched into the paper by the weight of the roller.

linen finish 1
linen finish
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linen finish
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linen finish

Ready to start?

We aspire to be the best card company in the world, and we never sacrifice quality for any custom order.

Let us make your custom playing card or tabletop game card designs come to life. You can customize just about anything.

If you’re ready to learn more, then deal us in and we’ll be more than happy to help you with your custom order.