Methods for coloring plastics

Coloring plastics

Coloring plastics is a transformative process that not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of plastic products but also serves functional and branding purposes. As the demand for customized and visually appealing plastic items continues to rise across various industries, understanding the methods for coloring plastics becomes crucial. 

This blog explores an array of techniques that go beyond the conventional and delve into innovative ways to achieve vibrant and durable colors on plastic surfaces. From traditional methods like masterbatch and compounding to cutting-edge technologies such as in-mold decoration and laser marking, we’ll unravel the diverse palette of possibilities available.

1. Reasons why coloring plastics is important

1.1. Enhanced aesthetics

The most apparent reason for coloring plastics is to enhance their visual appeal. Adding vibrant and attractive colors to plastic products can make them more appealing to consumers. Whether it’s toys, packaging, or consumer goods, aesthetically pleasing products often stand out in the market and capture the attention of potential buyers.

1.2. Branding and product differentiation

Color plays a significant role in brand recognition. Consistent use of specific colors in plastic products helps in building a strong brand identity. This is especially important in industries where competition is fierce. Consumers often associate certain colors with particular brands, fostering brand loyalty and aiding in product differentiation.

1.3. Product identification and coding

Color is a practical means of product identification and coding in various industries. For instance, different colors can be used to distinguish between product variations, denote different features, or signify specific manufacturing processes. This aids in streamlining inventory management, quality control, and overall production efficiency.

1.4. Safety and warning signs

Colors can convey important safety information. For example, in the manufacturing of tools, machinery, or medical devices, different colors may indicate specific functions, potential hazards, or usage guidelines. This helps users quickly understand important information and promotes safe handling of products.

1.5. Market trends and consumer preferences

Staying in tune with market trends and consumer preferences is crucial for businesses. By incorporating popular colors and staying ahead of design trends, manufacturers can align their products with current market demands, potentially increasing sales and market share.

1.6. Customization and personalization

Coloring plastics allows for customization and personalization of products. Manufacturers can cater to the diverse preferences of their customers by offering a range of colors and finishes. This level of customization can be particularly important in industries such as automotive, electronics, and consumer goods.

1.7. Environmental considerations

Some coloring methods can contribute to the sustainability of plastics. For example, using masterbatch additives that are environmentally friendly or employing recycling-friendly coloring processes can align with the growing demand for eco-friendly products and practices.

2. Methods for external coloring plastics

2.1. Painting and coating


External painting and coating represent a versatile and widely utilized method for adding color to plastic surfaces. This technique involves applying a layer of paint or specialized coating to achieve the desired visual effect.

Application Techniques:

  • Spray Painting: Employing a spray gun for an even and consistent application of paint.
  • Dip Coating: Immersing the plastic part in a paint or coating solution for comprehensive coverage.
  • Powder Coating: Applying dry powder electrostatically, creating a durable finish upon curing.


  • Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of plastic materials and shapes.
  • Texture and Finish Options: Offers diverse texture and finish options, including matte, glossy, or textured surfaces.

2.2. In-mold decoration (IMD)


In-Mold Decoration (IMD) is an innovative method where a pre-decorated film or foil is inserted into the mold before plastic injection. This results in a colored and decorated surface directly molded onto the plastic product.


  • High-Resolution Graphics: Enables the application of high-resolution graphics and intricate designs.
  • Durability: The decoration is integrated into the product during molding, ensuring longevity and resistance to wear.


IMD finds application in industries requiring visually appealing and intricately designed plastic surfaces, such as consumer electronics and automotive interiors.

2.3. Printing techniques


Various printing techniques offer precise and detailed color application onto plastic surfaces, allowing for customization and intricate designs.


  • Pad Printing: Ideal for irregular shapes, transferring ink from an engraved plate to the plastic surface.
  • Screen Printing: Suitable for flat surfaces, involving pushing ink through a stencil onto the plastic.
  • Digital Printing: Direct application of color using digital technology for high-quality and detailed designs.


  • Detail and Precision: Enables precise and detailed color application.
  • Adaptability: Suitable for a broad range of plastic products, including promotional items, signage, and electronic devices.

2.4. Hot stamping


Hot stamping is a method that involves transferring a colored foil onto the plastic surface using heat and pressure. The foil is usually pre-printed with the desired color or pattern.


Commonly used for adding metallic finishes and intricate details to plastic products, including packaging, consumer goods, and automotive components.


  • Decorative Finishes: Adds a decorative and luxurious finish to plastic surfaces.
  • Versatility: Suitable for various plastic materials and shapes.

2.5. Laser marking and engraving


Laser marking and engraving employ advanced laser technology to create precise and permanent colored patterns on plastic surfaces. This method is particularly suitable for adding logos, serial numbers, or decorative elements.


Used in industries such as electronics, medical devices, and promotional items to customize and mark plastic products.


  • Precision: Provides accurate and permanent markings on plastic surfaces.
  • Customization: Allows for intricate and fine designs, offering a high level of customization.

2.6. Hydrographic printing


Hydrographic printing, also known as water transfer printing, involves placing a printed film on water and immersing the plastic part, transferring the design onto the surface. This method is especially effective for applying intricate designs to complex shapes and 3D objects.


Widely used in industries such as sports equipment, automotive interiors, and consumer goods for adding visually striking and customized designs.


  • Versatility: Suited for irregular shapes and 3D surfaces.
  • Wide Range of Designs: Offers an extensive array of design possibilities for plastic products.

3. Methods for internal coloring plastics

3.1. Pre-colored resin


Pre-colored resin stands as a pragmatic and efficient solution for internal plastic coloring. In this method, plastic pellets or granules come pre-infused with the desired color, eliminating the need for additional coloring steps during production.


  • Streamlined Manufacturing: The use of pre-colored resin simplifies the manufacturing process, reducing the number of steps involved.
  • Consistent Coloration: Ensures a consistent color across production batches, promoting overall product uniformity.


Pre-colored resin finds applications across various industries, including consumer goods, automotive components, and packaging materials, where a consistent and vibrant color is paramount.

3.2. Color masterbatch


Color masterbatch represents a versatile and widely employed method in internal plastic coloring. It comprises a concentrated blend of pigments or dyes encapsulated within a carrier resin. During the manufacturing process, this masterbatch is introduced into the plastic resin, allowing for precise control over color concentration.


  • Precision Control: Facilitates accurate control over color concentration, enabling manufacturers to achieve specific color shades.
  • Material Compatibility: Suitable for a diverse range of plastic materials, making it a versatile coloring solution.


Color masterbatch is extensively used in applications where color precision and consistency are crucial, such as in the production of electronics, household appliances, and medical devices.

3.3. Dry pigment blending


Dry pigment blending involves directly mixing dry colors pigment with the plastic resin. This method ensures an even distribution of colors pigment throughout the material, providing manufacturers with flexibility in creating custom colors for a variety of applications.


  • Flexibility: Allows for flexibility in creating custom colors, making it ideal for projects with specific color requirements.
  • Versatility: Suited for both small-scale and larger-scale production, providing adaptability to different manufacturing needs.


Dry pigment blending is commonly employed in industries where customized coloration is essential, including the production of consumer goods, sporting equipment, and specialty items.

3.4. Salt and pepper mixing


Salt and pepper mixing, also known as tumble blending, introduces a visually distinctive element to the internal coloring process. Pre-colored plastic pellets are combined in a rotating drum, creating a visually appealing speckled or marbled appearance within the final product.


  • Visual Texture: Generates a distinctive visual texture, adding a unique and aesthetically pleasing element to the plastic product.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the final product, making it stand out in the market.


Salt and pepper mixing is frequently employed in the production of consumer goods, decorative items, and packaging materials, where a visually interesting texture is desired.

3.5. Color compounding


Color compounding involves the direct mixing of colorants with the plastic resin prior to the molding process. This method ensures a uniform distribution of color throughout the material, making it particularly suitable for large-scale production.


  • Efficiency: Enables efficient and consistent coloring, contributing to streamlined manufacturing processes.
  • High-Volume Suitability: Well-suited for high-volume production, meeting the demands of large-scale manufacturing operations.


Color compounding finds extensive use in industries such as automotive manufacturing, construction, and consumer electronics, where large quantities of consistently colored parts are required.

3.6. Liquid coloring


Liquid coloring introduces a dynamic element to the internal plastic coloring process. In this method, liquid colorants are added to the plastic resin, offering manufacturers the capability to achieve vibrant colors and intricate designs with precision.


  • Dynamic Color Patterns: Allows for the creation of dynamic and detailed color patterns, providing versatility in design.
  • Liquid Medium: Ideal for applications where a liquid coloring medium is preferred, contributing to the creation of visually appealing and intricate products.


Liquid coloring is commonly employed in the production of consumer electronics, personal care products, and packaging materials, where intricate and vibrant coloration is desired.

4. PolyFill – the superior supplier for high-quality color masterbatch:

In the dynamic realm of masterbatches, PolyFill emerges as a trailblazer committed to innovation and quality since our inception in 2017. Our dedication revolves around revolutionizing the plastics industry through state-of-the-art masterbatch solutions, exemplifying a steadfast commitment to delivering excellence, innovation, and practicality to our valued clients.

4.1. White masterbatch: 

PolyFill’s white masterbatch stands as a transformative solution, meticulously crafted to enhance opacity, whiteness, and heat resistance. Whether applied in film applications or diverse contexts, our white masterbatch consistently ensures not only visual appeal but also heightened functionality, allowing your products to shine.

4.2. Black masterbatch:

Confronting challenging conditions is made easier with PolyFill’s black masterbatch. Engineered for durability, UV stability, and high-temperature resistance, it imparts resilience to your products. With PolyFill’s black masterbatch, your creations confidently withstand the elements, ensuring lasting strength and performance.

4.3. Color masterbatch:

PolyFill’s color masterbatch, infused with cutting-edge German technology, invites you to unleash your creativity. Offering excellent dispersion, agglomeration-free formulation, and superior aesthetics, our advanced color masterbatch facilitates transparent enhancements, glossier results, and a smoother surface finish.

As the acknowledged leader in filler masterbatch manufacturing, PolyFill takes immense pride in providing bespoke solutions that precisely align with your unique requirements. Our unwavering commitment to quality, cost-effectiveness, and consistent performance ensures that your products not only meet but surpass expectations.Ready to transform your plastic creations? Contact us today to explore how PolyFill’s masterbatch solutions can elevate your products, setting them apart in the market. Experience the transformative impact of innovation, quality, and dedication in your plastic manufacturing journey.

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