February 9

What Is Printer Ink Made Of?


Printer ink is an essential consumable in inkjet printers. Housed in the ink cartridge, it is a consumable that is known to cause a lot of problems for printer-users. If you are an inkjet printer user, the chances that you’ve had printing issues as a result of the ink is high. Printer ink is also very expensive. This has led curious printer users to begin wondering what exactly their printer ink is made of. Is it a rare element? Or maybe some precious metal? In this post, we are going to be discussing the basic components of the printer ink at length, as well as the major functions of each of them. 

What Is Printer Ink? 

To long-term printer users, it might sound like a silly question. After thinking about it, however, you might realize that you have been using ink for a long time, but you don’t know what ink really is. Beyond being the fancy colourful thing that stains paper, and replicates your text in print, ink is a little chemical wonder. 

Printer ink is a liquid or semi-liquid that contains dyes or pigments, and that is used in printing. Printer ink can be either dye-based, or pigment-based. 

Pigment-based ink

Pigments are gotten through organic or inorganic sources, and they help to colour ink. About 90% of printer ink is coloured with pigment. Pigment-based ink dries quickly, and doesn’t fade for a long time. However, when it comes to aesthetic appeal, dye-based ink will win pigment-based ink any day. 

Dye-based ink

Dye, just like pigment gives colour to ink. Only about 10% of printer ink is coloured with dye. Ink coloured with dye is great for images and art pieces. However, works done with pigment-based ink dries slowly, and fades over time. 

What is Printer Ink made of? 

Printer ink is made from a number of chemicals, some needed in major quantities, and others in minor quantities. Below are some of the main components of printer ink, and how they contribute to the total functionality of the ink.

  • Varnish: The Varnish is commonly referred to as the base of the printer ink. It is the component of printer ink that increases gloss and shine. It also prevents wear and tear. It is usually combined with the Resin, Solvent, and Additives. 
  • Resin: Resin binds all the components of ink together. It works like glue. It ensures that the components of ink do not separate while ink is in its container and after it has been used to print. 
  • Pigment: The pigment primarily gives dye colour. Nevertheless, it also ensures that ink is glossy, resistant to light and solvent, and dries quickly. 
  • Addictives: A lot of things are collectively called addictives. An additive in printer ink is any substance that is added so that ink can have certain special qualities. Examples of additives are antioxidants, aging-agent, lubricants, wax etc. 

Bottom Line

Printer ink is a chemical wonder, and when you know the number of things that are contained in that tiny printer ink bottle, you will be surprised at how well they were combined.


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