Can I provide my own printing plates?

Yes, if you prefer to provide your own printing plates, we can usually use them with no problem. However, we highly recommend having your plates made through us. This streamlines the production process and creates far fewer headaches for you and your customers. Using third party plate makers can result in delays, and cost savings are usually minimal. Especially if plates are made to incorrect specifications, contain errors, or become unusable due to cracking.   

Advantages to having us make your plates :

  • TIME SAVINGS – Our local plate maker delivers daily, and turnaround is usually overnight. Customer provided plates can spend several days in shipping, and if plates arrive damaged, or incorrect, more delays can occur. 
  • PLATE PREPARATION – Plates are attached to printing cylinders with double sided sticky-back tape. The cost for tape and labor is included in our plate cost. If plates arrive without sticky-back tape,  there will be an additional charge for adding it to the plates. 
  • GUARANTEE – Plates made through us are guaranteed to match the art. Customer provided plates are used as-is, and while we will compare to your art, we are not responsible for plate quality or replacement if there are problems.
  • DAMAGE REPLACEMENT – Over time, plates wear out and crack, requiring replacement for future orders. If made through us, there is no charge for replacement. For customer provided plates, the customer bears costs for plate replacement.
  • QUALITY – Our art department makes sure that all art files sent to the plate maker are correctly formatted. Incorrect art files can result in text shifts, fonts changing, incorrect line screens, and trapping issues.


Plates must match the specifications listed below. If plates are made differently, we may still be able to use them, but cannot guarantee they will work on our presses.

  • 3M Cyrel .107 plate media
  • Backed with  3M 411DL sticky-back tape
  • Between .050 and .060 relief
  • 1" dead space around perimeter of image area
  • Any raised crop marks (tick marks) must be removed
  • Etched center scribe lines
  • Beveled edges
  • Halftones printed at 35 LPI
  • Provide an art proof (PDF) showing proper art positioning on bag


Customer bears responsibility for making sure plates are made correctly. American Plastic assumes no responsibility for print quality due to plate abnormalities, damage, or errors. Additional charges will apply if plates require backing or other adjustments.

Digital proof showing art position on bag MUST be submitted.


Improperly made plates can result in poor print quality or incur extra charges. Here's some common issues to be aware of.

  • Plates made from bitmapped images – may result in jagged edges on art.
  • Plates made to incorrect specifications – may result in poor print quality, or may be unusable
  • Plates made with inadequate trapping – may result in poor image quality 
  • Crop marks not trimmed off of plates –  marks will print on bag. Additional charges will apply to remove crop marks.
  • Double sided backing not attached – Backing has to be added. Additional charges will apply
  • Registration marks not included – Multiple color jobs must have centerlines on plates to avoide additional setup charges. 

American Plastic Mfg., Inc. |  526 South Monroe St, Seattle, WA 98108

(888) 763-1055  |  (206) 763-1055  |  FAX (206) 763-3946

Copyright © 2016 • American Plastic Mfg., Inc.

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