What is an adhesive label made of?

A typical adhesive label is composed of three layers: the surface material with print (covered with varnish or laminate), an underlying layer (a so-called base or silicone paper) and a layer of adhesive between them.

The surface material primarily impacts the label’s appearance and properties. It is this layer that the client sees when they pick up your product. In order to choose the right material for a specific label, it is worth considering a few issues:

  • what products and package shapes the label is going to be put on,
  • what features of the product it should highlight and what additional functionality it should have,
  • whether it will be exposed to humidity and high or low temperature.

If we additionally cover adhesive labels with laminate or varnish, they will get a stylish, luxury finish. Depending on the kind of laminate, the label can be glossy or matt. Laminate also creates an additional protective layer which protects the print on the label from environmental impact.

It is also important what glue is going to be used. Various kinds of glue, depending on the needs, are used for adhesive labels. Sometimes it is necessary to use permanent adhesive, resistant to aging and environmental conditions; in other cases, the opposite: one which can be easily removed without leaving any traces on the package.

Finally, the medium (base), i.e. the underlying layer: silicon paper or foil covered with wax or silicon, which makes labels easily removable right before application. The base is selected depending on the label type. Sometimes it is regular paper, but if we want to achieve the “no label look” effect (transparent label which is invisible – so the design is directly on the package), it is better to use a PET base, as it makes the glue layer smoother and therefore less visible. Very similar base is also used in case of labels for quick application (up to 200 labelled packages per minute) – then the durability and dimensional stability of the used medium are the deciding factor.

Of course, it does not mean that quick product labelling by use of labels with a paper base is impossible – but that is a completely different story.

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