There are three main methods that can be used to print a short file of CDs. If you do them inhouse then you are likely to be limited to the first option that is digital inkjet printer. A professional printing company will usually offer screen printing and lithographic printing services as well. Each CD printout has its strengths and weaknesses and we will go into more detail.
A digital CD-ROM printer uses a similar print method to your regular desktop printer. In fact, many modern home writers come with a CD that lets you load an inkjet CD into it and run it through the same print head that would normally print on paper. A professional digital CD printer is more a dedicated machine that is only equipped to print on CDs and has an automatic charging and unloading system for the discs. The system allows the machine to print up to 200 CDs unattended and because printing with these machines tends to be quite long, they can be left to print while other aspects of the project participate.
This CD printing process is only suitable for small amounts of CDs, as it is the slowest of the three main methods. Process speed is not supported by the fact that after the pressure is complete, there is still a need for application of a clear paint coating to protect the printed surface against moisture during handling. There are inkjet printable CDs on the market claiming that they have a water resistant finish when printed but they are still not as effective and do not look as good as a painted disc. On the plus side, this process can be used to print very high resolution images and the finished object can look amazing when done correctly. There are also no fixed setup costs with digital CD printing, which is great if you only need 50 discs.
CD-ROM printing is a very popular process for printing CDs. The process is an adaptation of the screen printing process that has been used for many years to print on paper products and it has been customized to allow printing on all types of surfaces to produce branded products such as mugs and USB flash drives. As the name suggests, the process involves the manufacture of pressure screens, each of which is used to print another color of the disc. A CD-ROM drive has 5 printing stations and using a disc previously printed with a base color, it is possible to produce a 6-color printout. The machine is basically a rotating sheet and since each paint is applied at each station, the disc passes under a UV light that cures the ink before applying the next paint.
This process can only be used to print solid-color areas and is not ideal for printing photographic images or subtle color sequences. Where artwork has been designed specifically for using this printing technique, but the results can be amazing, especially with the availability of fluorescent and metallic UV-sensitive ink. The use of superfine network monitors means that the printout is sharp, sharp and has a great structure for it. When set, the ink is very robust and waterproof and is not easily damaged by rough handling of the disc.
You can buy the right size templates online to make paper parts into CD jewelery bags or you can simply buy some high-quality A4 size semgloss photo paper or inkjet printer in about 150gsm. The advantage of buying templates on the back card is that the back edges will count to make it easier to fold, but it is something you can do even if you are careful. The front leaflet can be a folded sheet on both sides to compensate 4 pages and more pages can be added if needed and stapled along the spine. As long as you take your time using a guillotine and not a scissors and be careful about the staple, there is no reason why you should not be able to come up with something very attractive.
The front leaflet can consist of 2 pages if you print on both sides of a single panel that is 120 mm square and 4 pages if you print on both sides of a double-sided panel 240 mm x 120 mm then folded. Then the booklet must consist of multiples on 4 pages because of how they are constructed. Take a look at a CD jewel case from your CD collection where there are more than 4 pages and you will see why. A booklet of 240 mm x 120 mm folded in half side makes 4 pages but to add another sheet where the spine is stacked, add 4 more pages. The content is generally designed with this requirement in mind.
Again you can buy templates to create custom wallets that can be printed and then pop out of the template as the edges are partially prcut for you. You can also print your own on 250 300 gsm silk or half-gloss