Release Liner Film vs Paper


Curious as to whether paper release liner or film release liner is right for you? Before you make your choice, it’s important to take the differences between these different types of release liners into consideration.

So first of all, what is release liner? A release liner is a plastic or paper-based film sheet that is used to prevent sticky surfaces from adhering prematurely. They are typically coated on both sides, and their job is to carry the adhesive substrate, (i.e., sticker) until it is ready to be released.

Release liner bases or “substrates”, include film, paper, poly coating, and some occasions metallic papers or films. They are often coated with silicone, which aids in the release of the sticky surface.

Paper Release Liners

Paper release liners are made of, you guessed it: paper. There are a number of options to choose from related to thickness and coatings that can be suited to your unique printing needs.

Paper liners are one of the more economical substrate options, and also some of the most popular. In the United States Super Calendered Kraft (SCK) is the most commonly used material, while glassine release liners, which are similar to SCK, are used throughout the rest of the world.

Paper release liners are beneficial because they provide excellent “lay flat” characteristics and great ink holdout, providing brighter and sharper printing. Another great benefit to paper liners is that they easily accept different types of ink or varnish so you can easily customize your labels.

However, the challenge of paper liners is that they can be damaged easily when exposed to the weather. For example, water can cause the ink to run, and can also cause booklet pages to get stuck together. It is also more easily faded and yellowed when exposed to sunlight. Despite its many advantages, overall, the paper is not the best option if you are concerned about exposure to the elements.

Film Release Liners

Film release liners are made from plastic polymers and include Polyethylene (PE), Polyolefin, and Polypropylene (BOPP) as the three main types. There are plenty of options here as far as thickness, stretch, flexibility, strength, and appearance.

The advantage of film release liners over paper liners is the durability they offer in terms of sunlight, heat, water, and abrasions. They can typically endure approximately 6 months of exposure to these conditions. Film release liners can be clear or colored, which provides more flexibility for those who wish to go for a more transparent look.

Film liners are used in a variety of applications including tape, labels, bandages, and other consumer and industrial products serving a number of industries.

At the end of the day, your choice between paper and film release liners is going to be highly dependent on your needs. If you know that your product will be exposed to the elements, the durability, strength, and flexibility of film liners will better suit your needs. If sharp graphics and flexibility with printing needs are what you’re looking for, the paper is more than likely your best bet.