Summer Heat and UV Labels


Summer is a time of fun and vacations. While you can go indoors when it gets too hot, what about your labels, can they handle the intense heat? Just as being out in the sun can damage unprotected skin, UV rays affect labels exposed to extreme conditions during the hot summer months.

We have all seen faded unreadable labels with curled up edges. Those labels did not have anything in them to combat the intense rays of the sun. The same UV rays that damage skin can break down the label, even causing the print to fade then eventually disappear after only a few years.

UV Laminate and Polyurethane Domes with built-in UV inhibitors actually deflect damaging UV rays and extend the life and quality of labels. Just as you would pick the best sunscreen for your skin, UV Laminate and Domes are like sunscreen to your outdoor labels. With UV inhibitors, your labels will last 7 to 10 years, or even longer, without breaking down or fading.

When you need long-lasting and durable outdoor labels, remember the importance of putting sunscreen on your labels and include UV inhibitors in the laminate!

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Understanding adhesives – What makes it Stick?


Selecting the proper adhesives for your label, nameplate, or decal requires a consideration of application surface, environment, and label performance requirements.

Let us consider what adhesion is. The Oxford Dictionary describes adhesion as “The property of sticking together, or the joining of surfaces of different compounds.” In technical terms, adhesion is the attraction between unlike materials at the molecular level.

Adhesive manufacturers use the term Surface Energy to describe the many different surfaces that require adhesives. The surface energy of the material you are adhering to determines the strength of molecular attraction. Stronger molecular attraction results from increased contact with the surface or increase “wet-out” across the surface. “Wet-out” is a term used to describe the adhesive flowing into and filling the dips and voids of the surface.  With high surface energy surfaces, the adhesive can flow or “wet-out” across more of the surface to create a stronger bond, the lower the surface energy the less the adhesive can “wet-out” thus a weaker bond.

Some examples of high-energy surface (HSE) includes stainless steel, glass, porcelain, copper, nylon, polyester, epoxy paint, and poly-carbonate.

Some examples of surfaces with low surface energy (LSE) are polystyrene, powder coated paints, polypropylene plastic, concrete, and wood.


For maximum adhesive performance, you should consider the amount of surface contact as the most important requirement. Here are some considerations to increase the adhesive-to-surface contact

  • Adhesion surface must be clean from all contaminates.
  • Adhesion surface must be dry.
  • When applying the label, use firm pressure to increase flow contact of the adhesive to the surface.
  • For best results labels and application area should be at 70° F (21°C).
  • Give it time, most adhesives have a “wet-out” or cure time of 12 to 24 hour in order maximize surface contact.

To find the best adhesive for your product you may contact our label specialist at (866) 897-3663 or you may email your questions to

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How We Turned an Ordinary Order into a Spectacular Success


When a customer comes to us with a label challenge, finding the perfect solution is something we take personally.

Dave contacted looking for a classy label to place on the center of the hubcaps he manufactures. In a combined effort between Dave and our TUFFLabels team, we were able to create and produce a laminated label with the holographic material he wanted.

Dave called and he was ecstatic! The finished labels were beyond his expectations and he could not praise them enough.

Meanwhile in production, one of the crew thought the holographic material would look awesome as a domed label. Since we are always open to improving perfection, we domed a few and they turned out amazing. The dome really enhanced the rainbow colors of holographic material creating a one-of-a-kind label. We shipped Dave a few samples of the domes at no cost, he absolutely loved them and proceeded to place an order for domed holographic labels!

We are in the business of turning an ordinary order into a spectacular success story! Now a valued customer can order domed or laminated holographic labels knowing either type of label will truly enhance his product!

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How to Apply a Domed Label to Your Product

Kwiklink Bezel Dome Label

Proper application of a polyurethane domed label is very important both for optimal adhesion and label appearance.

Here are 4 simple steps to applying a dome label:

1)      Always clean the application surface with rubbing alcohol or solvent and allow to air dry. Do not use soapy water or cleaners that leave a residue.

2)      Use firm pressure when applying the labels. Start at one edge and move across the surface of the label while pressing firmly to prevent air bubbles under adhesive.

3)      Warm temperatures help the adhesive and dome become more pliable and easier to apply to textured surfaces.

4)      Give adhesive time to cure after applying. Adhesive cures quicker in warm environments.  When extremely cold, adhesive will have less initial tack and take longer to cure.


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Do I Really Want Clear?


While there are many reasons to use clear, it is important to understand how clear labels look once applied. Here are a few items to consider before choosing a clear substrate.



  1. We first suggest you request our free sample kit. With free samples you will be able to see exactly how a clear label will look on your product surface.


  1. Air entrapment under a clear label on some surfaces is very visible. Air bubbles under labels can be especially noticeable when applied to imperfect or textured surfaces.


  1. A clear label may be more difficult to place on your product without getting a fingerprint on the back, which will likely be visible after the label is applied.


  1. The nature of clear substrate is that it may appear slightly cloudy once applied depending on the application and print.


Even though there are things to consider before choosing to print your labels on clear, there are times when clear substrate is the best option for a specific application.

Clear is an excellent solution when you want your label to match your product without having to print the product color. Clear may be necessary when the label is going on a clear object or container; or perhaps you need areas of the label to be transparent windows for LED lights; or when you want the label to blend in with a label-less look.

Consider these suggestions before ordering a clear label.


The Layers of a Custom Durable Label

Durable Labels
Showing DomeLabels and TUFFLabels

Durable labels, the ones that last on your product for years, are custom created from combinations of different special materials.

Liner is not technically part of the label, but it is very important to the end product. Liner has to be strong enough to hold the substrate, ink layers, and dome or laminate, and still stay flat and smooth so there are no creases or folds, which can cause visible flaws in the finished label.


Pressure Sensitive Adhesive has already been applied to the underside of the label substrate as tiny glue bubbles. Rubbing over the top of the finished label warms and softens it, and the pressure helps the bubbles to pop, they melt together to glue the label in place. The thickness and strength of the adhesive determines how permanent the label is.

Substrate is the base of the label and is usually a polyester, vinyl, polypropylene or polycarbonate material. Substrates can be colored, white, clear, metallic or reflective, the universal similarity is they are all capable of being printed on. Ink (or Print) goes on top of the substrate. The print layer defines the label as yours, because your unique artwork is placed here.

Once printing is finished, the label will be laminated or domed.

On a laminated label, the laminate is sealed to the top of the printed substrate, then the labels are cut and the excess material is removed leaving your custom shaped labels.


For a dome label, the printed substrate is cut and the excess material is removed leaving the individual shape of your label. Then a liquid polyurethane substance flows onto each label (the edge of the cut label acts like a tiny wall to stop the polyurethane from running over). The polyurethane cures and hardens creating a curved dome surface which gives your artwork a three-dimensional look.

Your one-of-a-kind label is custom created from start to finish.

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