Custom Printed Poly Mailers - Decode The Best Printing Method

What we’ve learnt about poly mailers over the years is that

“Poly mailers can be easily customized without affecting the lead time or quality”

Or if we may say, 

“Poly mailers check all the boxes from packing to branding without really being a box!”

Which is why many e-commerce and retail sellers have now turned to poly mailers over boxes. The choice seems fair- poly mailers are lightweight, inexpensive, save space and works like a cheap branding strategy. For instance, two USA based brands, Need Supply Co and Ugmonk have customized their poly mailers to stand out from the crowd.

However, since poly mailers are made from polyethylene, printing on them can be quite a task & a bad print can hamper a brand’s identity.

That’s why, when it’s time to choose a method to make custom printed poly mailer, you have to be tactical in your approach. How you customize the poly mailer is based on the requirement of your business. It can be confusing to decide which option makes sense for your brand. But, there is no need to worry as here is a guide to help you out in getting some clarity.

What Are Poly Mailers?

Poly mailers are thin, lightweight, and protective envelopes made from polyethylene (PE). Polyethylene makes the poly mailers durable and moisture resistant. Poly mailers come in different sizes and can be custom made according to the user requirement. Typically, they are white or gray in color, but it is also possible to color print them.

For a more in-depth understanding of poly mailers, click here.

Benefits of Customizing Poly Mailers

Our doorstep is filled with a diverse number of boxes, mailers, and envelopes. In the modern-day, beautifully designed packaging is equivalent to having a shopfront. It’s a practical space through which you can express yourself as a brand, and also when it comes to market yourself eventually.

Big companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, and others have their own standardized customization. But, startups are leading the charge when it comes to making the packaging of poly mailers exciting.

Your marketing team will also have an easier job to do if the customization of your poly mailer sets the tone for the brand. The design should leave an immediate impression on the customer. In a way, it should reflect the ethos of your brand, and it should be instantly recognizable to build an image in the market.

Also, custom printed poly mailers help in avoiding shipping mistakes along with an increase in brand awareness.

Printing Methods for Poly Mailers

While shipping, custom printed poly mailers need the print to be waterproof and durable. When it comes to customization, a good print on your merchandise packaging can win customers in the long run. The typical printing methods for poly mailers include-

  • Inkjet printing
  • Screen printing
  • Flexography
  • Offset Printing
  • Rotogravure

But which method matches your packaging expectations and at the same time is feasible? Let’s find out.

Inkjet Printing 

Inkjet printing works on the principle of creating digital images. It is a method of computer printing, which propels droplets of ink on the plastic print.

Since poly mailers are a plastic derivative, regular water-based ink is not suitable for printing. The inkjet printers need to use solvent-based ink for printing poly mailers. This ink can produce a waterproof and smudge-free print.

Custom printed poly mailers - Inkjet printing
Image courtesy: www.amazon.com


  • Feasible for less quantity of poly mailers.
  • Fast.

If you change your poly mailer packaging print frequently and need a fewer number of printing units, then you can buy a semi-professional model of the inkjet printer. This can reduce the hassle of finding a retail printer. There will be a one-time investment, but it will save printing cost in the future.


  • Lack of image detail
  • Expensive for bulk printing

When to use

If you change your poly mailer packaging print frequently and need a fewer number of printing units, then you can buy a semi-professional model of the inkjet printer. There will be a one-time investment, but it will save printing costs in the future.

Custom printed poly mailers - Inkjet Printer
Image courtesy: bhphotovideo.com

Screen Printing

Screen printing is an old technique for printing in bulk. In this method, a screen is created, which is a combination of a frame and mesh. Spreading the ink on the screen placed on the mailer creates the print. 

One needs to make as many numbers of screens as the number of colors on the print.

Custom printed poly mailers - screen printing
Image courtesy: cutpak.com


  • A dedicated screen or stencil for your artwork which can be used multiple times and with different colors.
  • Applicable to poly mailers of any size and thickness.


  • Time-consuming.
  • Suitable for a maximum of two colors.
  • One poly mailer is printed at a time.
  • Requires human effort
  • Requires prepress work

When to use

It is an ideal choice to print custom mailers with similar artwork. Since your logo, tagline & other graphic elements will be used multiple times and will almost have the same dimension, this method is an ideal choice.

screen printing process
Image courtesy: medium.com

Flexographic Printing 

Flexography is a popular method for printing nonporous materials like plastics and poly mailers. It is an upgraded version of the letterpress printing method. In flexography printing, a flexible plate, which uses a relief carving design, prints the pattern. Heat rollers which are used for printing can be used again later seal poly mailers.

Custom printed poly mailers - flexographic printing
Image courtesy: www.inspiredmailers.com


  • Durable color & print
  • Utilization of the same machine for heat sealing poly mailers
  • Compatible with water-based inks
  • HD prints with UVC inks


  • Flexography printing requires setting, tooling, and prepress process- plate making and mounting. 
  • The printing cost rises by using aqueous inks on poly mailers. 
  • Not ideal for print requiring more than 3 colors.

When to use

If your poly mailer packaging requires printing with solid colors over a large surface, then flexography is the best method.

flexography printing for Custom printed poly mailers
Image courtesy: www.flexologic.nl

Offset Printing

Offset lithography is one of the most popular printing techniques. This method needs prepressing, and the modern-day offset printing uses the computer-to-plate system, which is simpler and more accurate.

Custom printed poly mailers - Offset printing
Image courtesy: www.alibaba.com


  • High definition images.
  • Most economical method for making custom printed poly mailers in large volumes,


  • The quality of images is of a lower quality than that of rotogravure.

When to use

If you require printing poly mailers in large quantities, then offset printing is the most reasonable method. If you can compromise on image quality (which is satisfactory), financially, it is an ideal choice.

offset printing for Custom printed poly mailers
Image courtesy: printingpress.spruz.com

Confused between Lithographic and Flexographic? Read this to make a decision.

Rotogravure Printing

Rotogravure printing method involves engraving an image on a cylinder. While using a rotary printing press, the image or design is printed on the poly mailers.

Custom printed poly mailers - rotogravure printing
Image Courtesy: Alibaba


  • Capable of printing poly mailers of different thicknesses.
  • Quality results even after extended usage of the cylinders
  • Low cost for bulk printing


  • High set-up cost.

When to use

This method should be used when your business requires printing thousands of poly mailers. The quality of printing is unquestionable and is especially appropriate for bulk requirements

rotogravure printing process
Image courtesy: www.kingsunmachinery.com

Why Choose Custom Printed Poly Mailers?

Giving a poly mailer an identity of your brand will help your company distinguish itself from its competitors. A personalized touch to packaging can lead to having a better customer relationship, and it significantly increases the marketability of the product.

In your custom printed poly mailers, you can easily create shiny, matte, shiny-matte combined, patterns, etc. It’s you who will choose what needs to be on it, and what you want to tell about yourself to the market.

Overall, choosing the right printing method is of the essence. It all depends on the number of poly mailers you require, the cost of the project, and the limited time to get them printed.

Still confused about which printing method to use? Tell us about your requirements in the comments section below and we will surely help you out.