Printed Plastic Bags FAQ

How are printed plastic bags made?

Our printed plastic bags are custom made to your specifications. You can choose the size and type bag you are looking for. The plastic is manufactured first, printed and then cut into bags, which allows you to choose the perfect bag to meet your needs. We do not print on bags that are already made.

How many printed bags do I have to order?

The minimum order for a printed plastic bag varies depending on the size of the bag and how many colors you print. Some general guidelines are:

Low density merchandise bags

  • (die cut, patch, fold over die cut and loop handle)
  • 1 or 2 colors (2 colors on 1 side or 1 color on each side) 3,000 bags (3 boxes)
  • 3 or 4 colors (3 or 4 colors on 1 side or 2 colors on each side) 5,000 bags (5 boxes)

High density bags

  • (includes T-shirt bags, and merchandise bags)
  • 1 or 2 colors (2 colors on 1 side or 1 color on each side) 5,000 bags (5 boxes)
  • 3 or 4 colors (3 or 4 colors on 1 side or 2 colors on each side) 10,000 bags ( 10 boxes)

Ziplock bags

What determines the cost of my custom bag?

Several variables determine the cost of a printed plastic bag. The amount of bags you order greatly affects the cost per bag. By increasing the number of bags purchased, you decrease the cost per bag significantly when compared with a minimum order. Adding ink colors increases the cost. The amount of printing however does not affect the cost of the bag. Other factors that affect the cost are the type of plastic, its thickness and the handle type.

What is the proofing process?

Prior to printing your order, you will receive an artwork proof as well as a paper mock up to show placement. A signoff will be required before the printing begins.

In general, how long does it take to make a plastic bag?

For most merchandise bags or T-shirt bags the lead time is 2 - 4 weeks after the approval of art. Transit time is not included in this estimate. In some instances, rush jobs can be accommodated. We do not add an additional charge for this service. Expedited shipping charges may apply however. The lead time for printed ziplock bags is 10 - 14 weeks, as these bags are imported. This estimate is also after approval of artwork and does not include shipping times. These are only estimates as there are many variables in custom printed bags.

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How is a plastic bag measured?

To measure a plastic bag, lay it flat. The width is the first number, then the height. If the bag has a gusset (a fold on the sides or bottom) lay it completely flat and measure the gusset all the way across. For example, if your bag is 15" wide and 18" tall, it is a 15 x 18 bag. If your bag has a side gusset of 4", your bag would be a 15 x 4 x 18. If your bag has a bottom gusset of 4", your bag would be a 15 x 18 +4.

What is the difference between high density and low density plastic bags?

There are two main types of printed bags; low density & high density.

Low density is the "smooth glossy" plastic, often used in retail applications and for trade shows. Both merchandise bags and T-shirt bags are available in low density plastic.

High density is the "crinkly or frosted plastic. Merchandise bags and T-shirt bags are available in high density plastic. Grocery store type bags are high density t-shirt bags. These bags are economical and strong.

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How thick does my plastic bag need to be?

The thickness of your bag depends on its use:
Low density merchandise bags with a die cut handle generally are 2.0 mil.

Low density merchandise bags with a fold over die cut or patch handle generally are 1.75 mil.

High density T-shirt bags generally range from .65 mil to 1.0 mil.

These are just a few examples of some common printed bag types. You can choose a thickness to meet your individual needs from .65 mil (thinnest) to 2.0 mil (thickest) in high density plastic and from 1.25 mil (thinnest) to 6.0 mil (thickest) for low density plastic.

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Help me choose a handle for my printed plastic bag.

Die cut handle
A die cut or punch out handle is an economical choice for light to medium applications

Fold over die cut handle
Great for medium to heavy duty items or applications where the bag will be used for an extended period of time, such as a trade show

Patch handle
Great for medium to heavy duty items or applications where the bag will be used for an extended period of time, such as a trade show

T-shirt handle
Even though T-shirt bags are generally thin, they are surprisingly strong. Great for grocery bags or for food take out bags

Door knob handle
Similar to a die cut handle, this unique design is ideal to hang on a doorknob

Litter bag handle
Similar to a die cut handle, designed to use as an auto litter bag

Loop handle
Great when you need a sturdy bag, or your looking for a high end option. Loop handle bags make a great trade show bag or retail bag

Draw tape handle
These handles are very strong and easy to carry around. Great for retail

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Color Choices

What are the bag colors I can choose from?


Colors shown are approximations of actual film color. Samples are available for color matching.

Color Name  Low Density  High Density 
natural (clear)    
hot pink    
dark green    
mint green    
navy blue    
dark blue    
light blue    
sky blue    
wilco blue  

What are my ink color choices?

When choosing an ink color, you can choose any PMS (Pantone Matching System) color you want. Customer must supply PMS color. Color matches are done free of charge (subject to a 10% color variance). If you need help with PMS colors, please give us a call at 425-776-3118.


Colors shown are approximations, and may differ from computer to computer. Please consult a Pantone Matching System color book for color matching.

For orders of 3000 bags.
Orders 5000 and over can specify any PMS color.
Warm Red  
Rubine Red  
PMS 185 Red  
Rhodamine Red  
PMS 348 Green  
Process Blue  
Reflex Blue  
PMS 872 Gold  
PMS 877 Silver  
PMS 876 Copper  

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What overrun or underrun can I expect?

All custom bag orders are subject to industry standard overrun/underrun. This is because we custom print your plastic and then cut it into bags. At the beginning of the process the amount of bags that are printed is determined by total weight of the order and will not be exact. Variations are billed accordingly.

Quantity ordered Over/underrun
3 - 10,000 30%
15-25,000 15%
>25,000 10%

What is a printing plate, and how do I determine how many I need?

Printing plates are rubber plates that are used in printing on your bag. You will need 1 plate for every color you print. For example, a bag with 1 color, 2 sides will need 2 plates. For 2 colors, 2 sides, 4 plates will be needed.

Plate costs (per color)
Up to 4 x 6" $70.00 (minimum plate charge)
Up to 8.5 x 11" $85.00
Up to 10 x 14" $125.00
Up to 11 x 17" $140.00
> 11 x 17" Call for quote

Note: The above plate costs apply to MOST printed bags

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What are my shipping options?

Depending on the size of your order, the least expensive option may vary. For smaller orders we normally use UPS Ground. For larger orders we ship via common carrier. You may specify the shipping method you desire when placing your order. We can also use your UPS account number.

What types of artwork do you accept?

(For more info, please go to our artwork specification sheet)

Camera ready artwork
We need black and white camera-ready artwork on paper. Please provide color separations for each ink color and a composite to show how each color should be stacked. Any halftones should be output at 35 dpi. Artwork on any type of disk carries a $50 minimum charge for disk conversion. For registered print, please allow a 1/8" trap.

Electronic Artwork
Please refer to the artwork specification sheet

What if I just want text on my bag?
Custom typesetting is available at $45.00/hour with a one hour minimum.

An enlargement of the art is free of charge unless otherwise specified, artwork will be centered on the bag.

A signed proof is mandatory to process your order. We cannot proceed with your order until we receive your written authorization.

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How are printed bags packaged?

All printed bags are bulk packed in corrugated cartons. Unless otherwise requested on your purchase order, we reserve the right to change carton case packs to best accommodate bag size, gauge and style ordered.

What types of payment do you accept?

Initial terms are 50% down with the remainder due before order ships. We accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. A credit application with banking information and three trade references is needed to open an account. Upon approval of credit terms are 1% 10, net 30. A resale certificate must be supplied for tax exempt status.

I would like to place an order, what do I need to do?

In order to place an order for printed plastic bags we will need the following signed and faxed back to us:

  1. Your quote. Please circle the quantity you would like to order and sign the bottom of the form
  2. The Artwork specification sheet signed
  3. The terms and conditions sheet signed
  4. Your credit card information or a completed credit application
  5. Your artwork. Please e-mail to
  6. Your billing and shipping information as well as your phone number and fax number

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For reorders, do I have to pay setup charges?

Unless the artwork changes, all artwork and plate charges are one time fees.

Do you offer discounted prices for companies that are reselling?

We offer discounts to customers who are reselling our product. When you request a quote, please let us know and we will provide a competitive resale quote. In order to qualify for this discount, you will need to provide proof that you are a printing, promotional, or plastic bag distributor.

Do you provide samples?

Yes, we are able to provide you with a printed bag sample that is similar to the bag you will be ordering. Please give us a call to request a sample. Samples will be sent via regular mail at no charge. Expedited shipping is available (charges may apply)

Do you carry any other products such as paper bags or labels?

We don't carry any type of paper bags, but we do offer both stock and custom labels. Please call or e-mail us for pricing.

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