Printing custom lanyards is typically done by either screen printing or dye sublimation. Screen printing is slower, but economical and effective. Dye sublimation is faster and offers the ability to print in multiple colors with results that have better color alignment, though it can be more expensive.
Screen printing, the more common method, involves transferring the image to be printed into a film positive that is subsequently burned on a silk screen, polyester screen or similar fine-mesh fabric. Similar to the stencil method of print making, an impermeable substance coats the blank areas. The artist prints the image by forcing ink through the holes of the silk screen onto the lanyard using a fill blade or squeegee. Lanyard screen printing results in high quality, durable custom-made lanyards that resist fading when machine-washed.
Also known as dye-diffusion, dye sublimation utilizes a computer printer and heat to copy the image onto the lanyard. A type of digital printing technology, dye sublimation uses surfaces that are coated with polyester and polymers to make them receptive to the dyes and the sublimation process. It is the same process used for decorating signs, banners, apparel, cell phone covers and coffee mugs.
Made of nylon, cotton or polyester twill, lanyards can be worn around the wrist or neck to carry items such as keys, whistles or ID cards. They can be customized to carry organizational logos and are widely used by students and employees.