Detailed Material Guide

Detailed Material Guide

There are a number of different make-ready materials available and some of the more popular are as follows:

Press Board:

Produced from 100% Kraft wood pulp and designed to have excellent physical and mechanical properties, this material is ideally suited as a low cost make ready. It is a make ready of choice, and is extensively used in the setting up and in improving the quality of print on certain items such as business cards. This board is ideal for the majority of items you’re looking to print onto, and is available in various thicknesses. Press board will allow some compressing when printing and will give reasonable impressing run before requiring replacement. This product is recommended for use when there are short print runs

Phenolic Board:

Phenolic board is a low cost commercial quality paper based laminate, and is a tough, light weight, durable and very hard material. Generally used when printing on to paper. Phenolic board is very similar to fibreglass board but tougher and is also used as a make ready when die cutting. Phenolic board has a long usage life and so will withstand a large number of impressions. When foil printing, this material helps prevent indentation on the reverse of the substrate. Phenolic board is excellent for achieving fine to medium detail on paper and thin board.

Fibreglass Board:

A translucent or yellowy green laminate made of an epoxide resin impregnated glass cloth, with excellent mechanical and flame resistant properties. Similar to phenolic board but not as tough and is available in various thicknesses. This material is an excellent make-ready base for a print platen when printing and or embossing onto soft materials. Fibreglass board is recommended when hot stamping fine to Medium work.

Printers Blanket:

A soft non self-adhesive backed or self-adhesive backed printer’s blanket that is attached/clamped or stuck on the printing bed and is used when printing and or embossing, using multiple dies and or die’s with a large print area, unifraction embossing plates etc. This material is popular because of its longevity and the fact that the printing die can indent (lightly de-boss) into the substrate while hot foil printing. Printers blanket is very resilient material and is suitable make ready to compensate for any irregularities between the print die, the substrate and the print platen. It will withstand repeated impressions without damage and is available blue or grey.

SY Blanket:

A good general purpose durable woven fabric suitable for long production runs and can be used on cylinder and platen presses. This product has good degassing properties as it allows air bleed through. SY Blanket is a good general purpose make-ready product.

Rubber cork:

A soft make-ready ideal for short runs and is recommended when printing onto uneven substrates or and when printing large solids .This material is also recommended when used as a make ready when hot foil printing with a silicone die mat for sublimation plate less printing. Due to its compressibility, it is suitable for printing onto rigid substrates. As the name implies, it’s a blend of rubber and cork.


This product is primarily used for foil printing large solid images and or areas on a platen press. Its pliability allows for excellent foil print impressions and coverage but still hard enough to prevent indentation of the substrate. HDP is also suitable for kiss cutting as it is a forgiving material. If setup correctly HDP will allow the die cutter to cut the substrate without damaging its own surface.


The print results between HDP and LDP are quite different. As LDP is softer, it will compress slightly more the HDP resulting in a slightly different print result. LDP is an ideal substitute if the result when using HDP is not satisfactory. LDP is also suitable for kiss cutting as it is a forgiving material. If setup correctly LDP will allow the die cutter to cut the substrate without damaging its own surface.


A slightly translucent and soft make-ready that has similar make-ready characteristics as press board and is suitable when printing fine details or lines close to solid areas. Due to it being fairly clear it is easier to accurately pack out under the make-ready to achieve even pressure. Sustamid lasts longer than press board but is more expensive and only available in one thickness. Sustamid is recommended for use on large bed machine e.g. Gietz

Toughened Press Blanket (TPB):

A black rubber cloth interlaced with tiny glass beads that makes the fabric firm but flexible and reduces the risk of marks. These characteristics make it an ideal make-ready material when large solid areas need to be printed. Allows you to apply more pressure and helps prevent gassing. Toughened press blanket is used on machines to smoothen out any irregularities that may exist with the bed. TPB is recommended for simple textured dies, multiple dies covering a large area and or a very large die all on a large bed machine.

Acetate Film:

This soft make-ready film is recommended for cylinder presses. This material has a very accurate gauge thickness, and combined with its softness is recommended for foiling fine designs. This film is a dual purpose product as it can also be used as an overlay make-ready which will extend the life of embossing or other prepared make-readies.


0.8mm / 0 .031″ thick, plastic-coated material used as a make ready overlay when die stamping bold images. Its texture will allow you to emboss into the boldest lettering or image. Tough enough to retain integrity for many thousands of impressions.

Rubber Pick-Up Sheeting:

Thin, soft fabric, used as a make ready overlay. Its tacky rubber coating prevents the substrate lifting off and sticking to the foil after an impression has been made. Generally used when printing business cards on a hand feed hot foiler.

Make Ready Tape (Spot Make-Ready Tape):

Apply behind (floating) make-ready on low spots as they appear in the printed image.

Float Sheet:

This material is placed behind the counterforce on the print platen to compensate for mechanical wear on the press. This allows the die and counterforce to align correctly when printing and or embossing.

Adhesive Overlay Film:

The protective film is applied over the counterforce to extend its life and reduce cutting through the substrate.

Embossing cover Film:

For embossing especially when using heat as it will conform to the engraving/etching on the die. This material is well suited for combination / fluted work.

Tough-tee Cover Film:

A high quality durable pre-treated film that lends itself to bonding on to counterforce resins. Ideal for combination work.

Cover Film:

This material is extensively used as a protective film to prevent, when curing, UV cure resins and other room temperature cure systems, from sticking to the surface around the die, e.g. glass or metal platen(s).

Manila Paper overlay:

This material is a high quality Kraft paper used as a make ready. A number of layers sometimes in different thicknesses to build the print platen to the required height.

Mould Release Film:

A material used in place of release spray in when making counterforces. Suitable for some designs and counterforce production methods only. For other uses see Mould release paper in the detailed section.

Mould Release Paper:

A material used in place of release spray in when making counterforces. Suitable for some very simple and shallow designs only and not suitable with all counterforce systems as the film version is better. Paper will not stretch as film will, so application where you could use it would be very limited. Paper version cheaper than film version so in some price sensitive situation it may be suitable. Good for use as a replacement release liner on dies or counterforces where double sided adhesive tape is pre-applied and the release paper/film is soiled or damaged. Alternatively where the customer wants to be able to remove the release paper /film quickly so the original release material is replaced by an oversized release material.

Teflon Coated Draw sheet:

Ideal when running large Dies that cause the substrate to stick to the counter. Helps release the substrate from the make ready when running metallic inks where the ink’s binder is pushed through the paper.