(Note: I asked this question on another SE site but I figured this site is more appropriate so I moved it here)

I'm looking for a material on which I could print digital media, and a suitable printing technique for it.


My intention is to print custom-made designs onto flexible products on-the-spot.

My Expectations


  • Different individual prints - The printing process should be suitable for single-use design and not require stencils, masks etc.
  • Water resistance and color durability - the printed dye should not be washed off of the material in warm water. It also should not fade easily due to friction or exposure to the sun. Ultimately it should last years in direct sunlight.
  • (Physical) flexibility - the material should be bendable to the degree of forming a 5cm ring at least.
  • Resolution and color - I don't mind a low printing resolution and a limited palette. I expect at least several dozen producible colors and the resolution doesn't really matter (even 10PPI will do).


  • Affordable - the material, printing process, printer and dye would preferably be cheap (i.e. around the cost of regular photo printing). If the printing is possible through regular inkjet printers it would be awesome.
  • Quick Process - I prefer the completed process (including preparing the substrate, printing and drying) to be done within seconds or minutes.
  • Eco-friendly - if the material can be made from recycled products and the dye is not too bad on the environment it would be nice.

What I've Found So Far

For now, I think my options are:

  • Inkjet printable vinyl - very cheap, but I'm not sure about its durability. This one, for example, claims 1 year outdoor durability.
  • Fabric printing - durable and as flexible as it gets but VERY EXPENSIVE.
  • Plastic/Nylon printing - there are a few methods and substrates for this one.

I would love to get any advice or suggestions. I'm especially interested in inkjet printable vinyl. Is it as good as it sounds? Can I make it last longer?

  • Hi user 20561, welcome to stackexchange.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 21:29
  • You know that years in direct sunight is a quite big request.
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 21:29
  • @joojaa I realized that during my research - that's why it's only "ultimately" years. Of course, the longer the better.
    – user20561
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 22:27
  • Laser printable vinyl is good, and would work with a colour laser (good for graphics, but not really for photos). I can't imagine it lasting years in sunlight though. The stuff I have is self-adhesive, but that's optional.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


The toughest material I have ever used is Tyvek for printing. It is sold as a building material made by Dupont. It is a durable spunbonded olefin (polyester) sheet that is stronger than paper and more cost effective than fabrics. It is water resistant, light, and flexible.

Sewing Tyvek produces mixed results. Although tear resistant on its own, needle holes must be placed far apart enough to avoid tearing from hole to hole as one can easily with perforated sheets.

I have not tried point-of-sale printing and that issue will have to be researched. Perhaps Dupont representatives will be helpful in that regard.

  • Interesting. Which printing method did you use on it? How long did the ink last?
    – user20561
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 21:56
  • 1
    I printed offset. We made bags for convention use to push a TV network. I never saw much of them after the campaign. I bet that Dupont will have some samples and data. They have been quite helpful for me.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 21:59
  • I forgot to mention a major requirement - the production should be suitable for singular prints (the question is now updated). Offset then is not an option but I will contact them about other possibilities. Thanks!
    – user20561
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 22:48
  • You covered that but not in exactly those words.
    – Stan
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 22:54

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