Thermochromic & Other Chromic Screen Printing

Ready to (Color) CHANGE the way you look at printing?

In addition to working with our clients to engage multiple senses by regularly printing with UV coatings, including glitter, gloss & matte, scented, scratch-off, glow-in-the dark, and textures, we are also specialists in printing materials that change color when stimulated by temperature, light, water, or pressure.

We have summarized the hottest chromic printing methods and color changing technologies below.

Thermochromic Printing

Thermochromic coatings change color in response to temperature fluctuations. There are two primary types of thermochromic coatings: liquid crystals and leuco dyes.

The most famous application ever, the “mood” ring of the 1970s, was a liquid crystal. Thermochromic coatings are ideal for use on consumer packaging, product labels, security printing, advertising, business cards, and novelty applications such as temperature sensitive plastics and mugs, promotional items, toys and textiles.

Most often, we find our clients engage us to apply the thermochromic coating in a solid color that disappears when exposed to temperature change, revealing the image underneath. We’ve printed business cards with a logo and otherwise appear blank, usually in black or other dark color, where your contact information is revealed upon touch. Wouldn’t that help you stand out and be remembered?

Thermochromic Printing: Before
H&H Graphics Thermochromic Coating in
Non-Activated
Thermochromic Printing: After
H&H Graphics Thermochromic Coating in
Activated (heated)
Thermochromic Printing: Before
H&H Graphics Thermochromic Coating in
Non-Activated
Thermochromic Printing: After
H&H Graphics Thermochromic Coating in
Activated (heated)

Thermochromic Example Video


Photochromic Printing

Photochromic coatings change from clear to color when exposed. Specifically, they change color in response to ultraviolet (UV) light, usually from the sun or a black light.

Photochromic behavior can be either reversible or irreversible. Reversible photochromics transform from clear to color by changing their chemical structure after absorbing UV light. The UV light causes the photochromic ink to absorb color (like a dye), and then change back to clear when the UV source is removed. They can cycle thousands of times depending upon the application. They can also change from one color to a different color by combination with a permanent pigment.

Photochromic Printing on “Snowblind” Field Notes

Thermochromic Printing

Photochromic Example Video


Hydrochromic Printing

Hydrochromic coatings change from color to transparent when they interact with water, and then back to the original color when dry.

Kindercare Hydrochromic Banner
Hydrochromic Water-Activated Paper
Hydrochromic Champagne Poster

Chromic Printing Experience

While increasingly popular, these coatings are complex to work with and require highly specialized manufacturing and production techniques. H&H has a wide depth of experience with these complex applications and we work closely with industry leading vendors to source raw materials that best serve our clients.

Contact us for a sample of thermo, photo or hydrochromic coatings

Printing Specifications

Substrates

  • Paper – for hydrochromic, must be > 100# coated stock
  • Plastic

Artwork

  • Area to be screen printed should be 100% solid black (no screens or half tones)
  • In position for entire sheet with crop marks
  • We prefer PDF format

Minimum Order Quantity

  • 500 sheets for fully automatic
  • Otherwise $1,500

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