Home Wedding Planning Ask DIY Ask DIY Bride: Printing In White?


This pressing missive comes from Julie:

I saw some killer invitations that were dark purple with white printing. How can I print in white with my inkjet or office laser printer?


DIY Bride Answers:

Though home and office printers have come a long way, none of the ones on the market print in white ink. What you see with most commercially-printed invitations is most likely an inverted printing technique. The designer will create a design with white text on a color background in her layout program. She’ll then print the design on white paper. Because home-office printers can’t print in white, only the background color will print, leaving the text areas open. The wording/design will show as white because there’s no ink on the areas the printer didn’t put color on the white paper. Make sense?

If you truly want white ink on colored paper, you’ll need to do a labor-intensive manual process something like using a rubber stamp, letterpressing or screen printing where an opaque white ink is spread onto a stamp, plate or screen (respectively) and then applied directly to the paper. And, for what it’s worth: getting a solid, opaque white ink is notoriously hard. Be prepared for lots of experimentation and extra printing!

9 replies to this post
  1. You cannot print white ink on colored paper with neither laser/inkjet. However, in simpler terms, just use white cardstock to print your invites. The background will be purple and type your text on your pc using white font. Send it to print and that’s it. There is a slight problem, there are a lot of inkjet printers that do not print borderless. This means the you will have a 1/4″ white border around your design. Hope this helps and good luck!

  2. If you do use White Stamp ink, a few I have heard that have a good strong white colour are Clearsnap Colorbox Pigment White Ink and Staz On White Ink. :)

  3. It’s true, if you’re planning on digitally printing the colorful invitation, you’ll have to print in full color on white paper for the same effect.

    But hey, you can go to your local artist/crafter print shop and print the invites with silkscreen yourself – using white paint on purple paper. Better yet, with some supplies you can do it at home (search for gocco printing and silkscreen tutorials on youtube). It’s going to be more labor intensive but it will add a special touch to your invitations.

  4. If you go to a specialty crafting store, like Paper Source, they’ll show you how to do your own embossing, with stamps and white embossing powder. This is a good option to do for smaller projects, like place cards or the covers of your thank you.

  5. Speaking of digital printing, we just read that HP’s Indigo 5500 digital print press can print in white! In the article, C-M-Y Stop There? Time to Think About White Ink says HP is “…the first digital press manufacturer to produce a white opaque ink option.”

    This should open up another printing option for you if you can find a local printer with this machine.

    We’re still hoping white ink will become available on home printers in the near future!

  6. We have an affordable new option available for short-run laser printing of white toner onto dark card stocks and even envelopes with variable data. Visit the link below to learn more about the revolutionary new OKI C711WT printer with white toner, available exclusively through Mountaincow.


    We are an OKI solution provider offering invitation design and envelope addressing software and stationery designed to work perfectly with this new OKI color + white laser printer. Please contact us if you have any questions.


  7. Sadly printing white ink at home isn’t an option, but as a DIY-er, you could have the top layer of your invitation printed by a digital printer that can print white ink by uploading your print ready file. Smartpress.com offers white ink printing in their wedding section, as well as file setup instructions for both InDesign and Illustrator. Here’ s a link to the instructions: http://smartpress.com/pages/white-ink-printing

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