Make the Sandwich Label

The steps shown here are for the Sandwich labeling technique. Skip to the Use the Sticker Method chapter if you plan to use a vinyl sticker as the label for your project's front panel.

Prepare and Print the Label Graphic

Prepare the final graphic by removing all but the final drawings and legends. Hole markings are not needed for every control or LED, but some should be included to align the label to the pre-drilled enclosure. 

Print the label on high quality glossy photo paper using your ink-jet printer's highest resolution setting. After printing, compare the component placement and overall size of the label with the enclosure and clear layer to confirm that the label dimensions are correct.

The next step will seal the printed label's front and back surfaces to protect it from fading and warping. Move to a dust-free environment where the fumes from the spray coating won't be a problem for pets or people.

Seal the Printed Label

Select a clear gloss spray that is non-yellowing and that will provide some UV resistance to keep the front panel looking fresh for a long time. The spray coating will also keep moisture from warping and decaying the label's photo paper foundation. The gloss finish provides a smoother and more uniform layer than a matte finish and looks better when sandwiched under the clear polycarbonate/acrylic layer.

  • Place a clean sheet of paper over the printed side of the label to protect it from handling and dust.
  • Flip the label and protective sheets over so that the protective sheet is on the bottom next against the benchtop surface. We'll be sealing the back of the label page first.
  • Tape the corners of the label page to keep the sheet taut and apply a coat of clear gloss spray to the back side of the label page. Wait until the spray has completely dried, then apply a second coat.
  • Remove the tape, flip the pages over, and place the protective sheet under the label page. Secure the label page corners with tape and apply a coat of clear gloss spray over the printed graphics. Work to achieve an even coating.
  • Wait until the spray has completely dried, then carefully apply a second coat. Allow the two coats to dry thoroughly before handling.
  • Let the coatings cure overnight before cutting the graphic to its final shape.

 

It's time to drill and machine the enclosure and the clear polycarbonate/acrylic layers for the sandwich. Power tools will soon make an appearance.

This guide was first published on Sep 17, 2018. It was last updated on Sep 17, 2018.
This page (Make the Sandwich Label) was last updated on Jul 11, 2020.