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    Table of contents
    • What is scratch-off printing?

    • What are the ideal uses for scratch-off printing?

    • What is the material used to make the scratch-off area?

    • What are the different colors of scratch-off materials available?

    • How do you make your own scratch-off card

    • What company makes postcards, tickets, stickers, posters and gift card scratch-offs?

    • How scratch-off printing is combined with die-cutting

    • Are more expensive scratch-offs better?

    • What are the prices of scratch-off printing cards?

    • What are the best scratch-off printing companies?

    • What are some examples of custom scratch-printing?

    • What tips should you consider when buying scratch-off tickets?

    • Resources

    The Ultimate Guide to Scratch Off Printing

    What is scratch-off printing?

    Scratch-off printing is simply the process in which a card is foil stamped to hide information upon which one has to scratch the stamped area to reveal the information. According to research, scratch-off printing adds a standard or custom-shaped layer of metallic foil to your prints in specific areas, covering particular pieces of content - like coupon codes, sequential numbers, barcodes, or names - to be revealed by 'scratching' the material with the edge of a coin, or a similar surface.

    Scratch-off Postcard

    Scratch-off Postcard


    Most if not all people have interacted with scratch-off cards in one way or another. Scratch-off cards are a fun way for businesses to interact with customers.


    I love surprises and scratch-off cards are perfect for creating an experience of your brand. The use of these cards has become an interesting part of business’ marketing strategies to the extent that they have incorporated digital scratch-offs for purely online businesses.

    What are the ideal uses for scratch-off printing?


    Not many people know when to use scratch-off cards. This is because they are mostly used just as lottery cards. But you will be surprised at how much you can incorporate scratch-offs in your business. Scratch off your previous stereotypes and let’s look at how your business can integrate these interesting fling-off cards.



    These cards can be used to hype up an event in a way that builds excitement and creates awareness. Sending your customers scratch-off postcards with prizes to be won during an event will help you pull a crowd. Wendy’s, an American fast food restaurant once used these cards to build hype around the launch of new menu items. They managed to create a great buzz around their new offerings where they had a scratch, match and win promotion which was fun to play. Through this campaign, a lot of people got to know the new food items which obviously made their brand stronger.


    Scratch-off cards will boost your sales. You can give fling-off gift cards to customers having concealed the discount code where to redeem the discount they have to visit your shop with the card and redeem their discount upon their purchase. This way, people can give others your fling-offs as gift cards, therefore, increasing the flow of customers to your business.


    Use scratch-off cards to show appreciation. Customer appreciation is very important in the world today. I once received a fling-off card for Christmas and it had the words ‘We appreciate your efforts’ concealed. You can imagine the smile on my face after scratching it off. Once in a while give such dash-offs to your employees, customers, and even family to show you value them.


    Use fling-off cards for contests and giveaways. This is a good way to build customer engagement and in the process boost your brand. You can put codes on the card and the winner will be the one with the correct combination. This is actually a great way to get people to buy the cards in bulk and also tell their friends about it. In the end, your business name spreads and gets in the hands of people you may have never reached.


    Scratch-off Ticket


    Scratch-off Ticket



    Scratch-offs can be used for fundraising. You can have cards ranging from $1 to $10. When people scratch off the foil, they will pay the amount indicated. But also remember, they are not compelled to pay. It’s not compulsory but rather a fun way of raising money.



    Scratch-off cards can be used to reward customers’ loyalty. Your ride or die customers deserve it, I mean it’s not so easy to get them in the first place, so why not let them know how special they are to you. They’ve been there for you through the good, the bad and the ugly (pandemic), It’s time you gave something back to them. All you’ll need to do is come up with a list of rewards and ask your printer to have them printed on each card.


    Scratch-off cards can be used during parties and social gatherings as gaming materials. Think about it, you have a crowd of party-goers seated around a table waiting to see who has won the prize of the day. For those of you who like to be cheeky, let the decision of who will clean up after the party be revealed on the cards. Ha! Be careful though, you may wind up not having guests at your home next time. These cards help in spicing up events and making them more lively. You could also use them during baby showers as gender reveal cards. They will create the tension you need.


    Are you planning on going to a tradeshow? Then scratch-off cards are perfect for maintaining the attention of customers at your booth. You could use flyers that will reveal the prizes that can be won at your booth and what items you have on sale.


    Another way you can use these cards is to reveal any new changes in your business. Take your announcements to a new elevated level. Send scratch-off postcards that will show any new additions to your business. If you’re not into postcards then send cute scratch-off stickers along with your packages. Or just hand out the flyers equivalent with more information.


    Just like any other marketing technique. There are a few tips you can use to make your scratch-offs more effective.

    • Keep the promotion precise, simple and clear. You may be tempted to go overboard but don’t. Be straightforward with the cards and let your recipients know exactly what’s in store for them. What they will win. Or what’s the catch. In this way, you will clear any confusion and make them more intrigued. Imagine receiving a scratch-off ticket that has a lot of information on the foil stamps. This will throw your concentration off balance and it gets worse if the sentences are hazy.
    • Offer meaningful rewards and let everyone stand a chance of winning in the case where you have major prizes to be won. Let your rewards make sense and match the type of business you’re in. You can’t be a restaurant but offer manicure services as rewards unless you are collaborating with a nail parlor business. You can offer discounted prices or special meals. I remember one time I got a scratch-off flyer that once I scratched it off, the words were basically saying I should visit the store to see what they have in store. Did I go? No. Was I curious? No. This is because the card was vague. It did not intrigue me enough to want to check out the store. Plus I felt like the card was so unnecessary. If they wanted me to just visit their store then what’s the point of using a dash-off flyer? They built my excitement only to see there was no specific reward. Imagine the disappointment! Have something special in your scratch-offs.
    • Don’t assume they will automatically sell themselves. You’ll need to spread the word. You know how you put effort into handing out your flyers and even mailing them? Then that’s the same energy you will need to promote your cards. Carry them around or have a stand where you will hand them out to people. You could also consider direct mailing them to your customers. Place them in areas around your business that customers will most likely notice them. It’s pointless to have scratch-offs but not invest in your marketing strategy. To yield maximum returns you will have to put effort into distributing them.
    • Make redeeming the cards easy. No one has time to follow up on a long process. Let your recipients experience instant gratification. Make the prize redeemable on the spot or put in place a simple way for people to claim their reward. If it’s a gym scratch-off card then let the receiver enjoy the reward the next time they come to work out. Let the process be as seamless as possible.
    • Be careful not to break the law. Different states have different sets of laws when it comes to certain scratch-off cards. Some cards require a legal permit before distributing like lottery tickets. The permits will set out the terms of the promotion, win ratios, timing, and other factors.
    • Ensure your codes are secure. In the case where you are using codes to determine a winner, then be sure you know how you can go about verifying the codes. This will prevent fraudsters and make sure everyone is participating equally and legitimately.


    What is the material used to make the scratch-off area?


    If you are making it yourself then dish soap and paint is what you will use to make the scratch-off area as the mixture can conceal information. The mixture is also easy to scratch off once the card is completely dry.


    Scratch-off Birthday Card


    For print companies, they use several concealing coatings. The paper card is first coated with a primer coating which makes the card ready for other layers to be applied. Then random words and symbols are printed on top of the primer coat and a seal coat is applied. Then another concealing covering is added which contains opaque materials such as aluminum paste, carbon black pigment, and appropriate solvents such as methyl ethyl ketone. All the coatings effectively conceal what is underneath and at the same time make it easy to scratch-off. Another overprint layer is applied which has the desired graphics or instructions.


    Madehow gives a detailed way of how scratch-off tickets are made.

    What are the different colors of scratch-off materials available?

    There are various colors but the most common ones are gold and silver. If you’re looking to have anything apart from gold or silver then consider custom scratch-offs from 40VER4. It’s all about your preference and which color will blend well with your theme or brand colors.

    How do you make your own scratch-off card

    If you’re creative and artsy then making your scratch-off cards will be quite an interesting experience. And the best part is that you don’t need a lot of materials or tools. The main materials that you’ll need are paint, soap, cardstock, crayons, a printer, and a paintbrush.

    DIY scratch-off

    DIY scratch-off


    Good Housekeeping has a great simple DIY tutorial on how to go about making your scratch-off cards. Start by having your design printed and this should be easy as you can get numerous design inspirations online. Make sure the information you want to conceal is well displayed on the card in whichever area you prefer. You can then go ahead and color your writing using a white crayon. Color heavily. Go ahead and mix 2 tablespoons of paint with 1 tablespoon of dish soap depending on how big the area you want to cover is. Take your mixture and start painting over the white crayon using a paintbrush.



    You can choose any shape you want to paint based on the purpose of the card and its recipients. Then sit back and admire your work as you let it dry. You may need 3-5 coats for your words not to be seen. When it comes to drying, let it dry thoroughly. It’s as easy as 123. When it comes to sending it, you can spice it up by sending a penny or a quarter along with the card.


    There are many ways to go about your DIY scratch-offs but consider the tips below or a perfect outcome.


    • Make sure the message meant to be concealed is not visible. The whole purpose of scratch-off cards is to hide information until the foil is scratched. This means you should make sure you apply your paint and dish soap mixture properly and thick enough. Try to make the prize message as low contrast as possible to prevent people from being able to spot winners through the coating. The best results are from using two different percentage tints of black only.
    • Use coated stocks. They don’t absorb a lot of varnishes and are easy to scratch off. Stick to either gloss or matte for the best results.
    • Have fun with the shapes. Your foil stamp doesn’t have to be circular or rectangular. You can use different shapes to spice up the card. Want a cartoon shape then go for it. Your favorite pet, then sure why not. Make your statement heard by your shape. Imagine being a vet and having your foil stamp circular. Although this would not count as a terrible idea, be creative and create a card that will get people interested.
    • Give it ample drying time. Make sure your project timeline includes this drying time, especially if additional bindery operations are required such as folding or perforating.


    What company makes postcards, tickets, stickers, posters and gift card scratch-offs?

    Many print companies make scratch-off cards. Companies like Vistaprint, 4OVER4, Snapfish, UPrinting, and the like can custom make the scratch-off cards for you.

    You may need a custom quote on your order and guidance along the way so that you settle for the best scratch-offs. You will want to work with a company that has hands-on customer service and as small or large a run as you need when ordering your scratch-offs.

    Before placing your order, make sure you do your research and work with companies that have an outstanding experience and great reviews. Work with companies that offer different types of scratch-off cards, not just scratch-off tickets. If you really want to stand out you could get die-cut scratch-offs in any shape or size. Let’s face it, regular is boring when you could choose from these options:

    • 14pt Gloss Cover
    • 15pt Cover, Gloss 1 Side (30% PCW)
    • 16pt Gloss Cover
    • 80# Gloss Cover
    • 100# Silk/Matte Cover
    • 14pt Uncoated Cover (30% PCW)
    • 14pt Cream Uncoated Cover (30% PCW)
    • 16pt Uncoated Cover
    • 18pt Uncoated Cover
    • 18pt Cream Uncoated Cover
    • 18pt Kraft Uncoated Cover (100% PCW)
    • 16pt Silk Laminated Cover

    How scratch-off printing is combined with die-cutting

    Die cut scratch off card

    Die cut scratch off card


    Think of having a lotto ticket that has the shape of sunglasses, dollar signs, cars, or any shape that you would ever think of. Unusual shapes have the capacity to dazzle and attract like a magnet just because they are unusual. People are so used to the regulars. The ovals, circles, rectangles, squares, and other shapes are so common.


    In the quest to stand out, you should break the rules. In any case, there are no rules for creativity.

    You don’t have to be restricted as you formulate your scratch off printing strategy. Think outside the box and conceive different shapes. They can be regular or irregular. The only way to achieve this is through die-cut printing.

    Die cut printing is a process that involves the mass production of shapes with similar dimensions using a variety of materials. According to the print group Australia, a piece of paper or material is cut to a custom shape and size using a sharp steel blade. The sharp steel blade called a die, is formed into a specific shape. Then it’s cut through the paper.

    The special machinery used comes up with crisp smooth edges that offer a consistent, smooth crisp cut.

    The combination of scratch-off and die-cutting

    To combine your scratch off printing materials with die-cut technology you need to know the principles of die-cutting.

    First and foremost, affordable die-cutting is normally done for large orders. Die-cutting needs a large order because it is tasking and expensive to develop a die. Unless, of course, if you look at companies where speed, technology and convenience in printing die-cut prints converge beautifully to produce precisely cut die-cut scratch-off cards. Currently, only 4OVER4 is capable of providing die-cut prints on scratch-off cards without you having to break the bank when you choose a custom order.

    Having decided the final shape that you want your scratch-off cards to look like, you contact a printing service. The printing service will ask for a sample shape of what you want your products to look like. They will then develop a die for you and give you a quote depending on the size of the order.

    Why scratch-off cards are popular


    Die cut scratch off card


    In a country where the appetite for lotto tickets is ballooning, it makes sense why scratch-off printing has been growing over the years. CNBC reported that the US Census Bureau revealed that about half of Americans play state lotteries.


    In 2017 state lottery sales topped at $71 billion. The report further revealed that consumers spend an average of about $86 a month on lottery tickets. This includes scratch-off cards that come out of vending machines. All this to enter the Powerball and Mega Millions competitions.

    How die cut is applied on scratch-off printing

    Printing for less defines scratch off as a heat-process foil stamp that can be removed with the edge of a coin or card. The scratching reveals the information printed beneath.

    A standard or custom shaped die presses the foil onto the surface which leaves the foul in the specific shaped area. This is what you traditionally see in giveaways, lotto tickets, contest print materials and so forth.

    With these unusual scratch-off shapes, the design originality can be applied to different prints. You can incorporate them into direct mail, business cards, direct mail brochures, paper business cards, newsletters, postcards and many others.

    Scratch off effects and features

    • Variable data for pin numbers, locations, codes, sequential numbering, barcodes, names, winning numbers, images and sweepstakes.
    • Custom shape foil stamps (including die-cut scratch-off prints) only firm up your uniqueness and originality. They make you stand out and get impressive Return on Investments (ROI).
    • Handouts for product promotions, campaigns and trade shows- Scratch-off prints that have been die-cut will increase engagement and facilitate interest during your giveaways. You can hide discounts, gifts and even gift vouchers when participants scratch to reveal.
    • Die-cut gold and silver foil colors on your scratch off prints make them pop.
    • Plastic scratch cards- At 4OVER4 we offer plastic cards and 30 Mil white, clear and frosted plastic cards. You can have the scratch-off material imprinted on the PVC cards or credit cards to conceal important data.
    • Full-color printing on premium paper stocks- Paper stock that is firm, sturdy and prestigious is key. They provide durability.

    Are more expensive scratch-offs better?

    It’s an obvious fact that people want to win in scratch card games. And they often ask if buying expensive scratch-off lottery tickets will increase their winning chances.

    Honestly, expensive lottery cards do increase your winning odds for a simple reason. The bulk of gamblers buy the cheap scratch-off cards. This leaves the more expensive ones with fewer numbers. As a result, chances are that when you buy an expensive lottery ticket you increase your chances because of fewer players.

    As much as the argument for expensive and premium scratch off cards may not be very accurate, it still holds some truth.

    Another helpful tip is looking up the scratch tickets with the most wins despite their price. This greatly improves your winning chances. Places like casinos publish who won and the tickets that won. You will easily track the scratch off that has the best winning odds.

    Ultimately, many serial winners of lottery scratch cards recommend purchasing scratch off tickets in bulk. You will spread the risk and increase your odds of winning significantly.

    What are the prices of scratch-off printing cards?

    Generally, scratch-off printing is pricey due to the foil material used to make it. So here are the standard prices in the market currently.

    Coated Uncoated Laminated Metallic Pearlescent Price for 500 (2”x3.5”)



    Scratch off Systems




    Promo Print Group




    What are the best scratch-off printing companies?

    I have always been intrigued by scratch cards. The gift cards and the lottery tickets are the most interesting ones for me. As a kid, I used to see adults flocking at some lotto shops in a bid to get those cards. Back then I did not understand what was going on. But the connection between a coin and the card was the nut I always sought to crack.

    In my adulthood, now that I understand what it entails, I decided to look into the companies that actually make the scratch-off material. Because some foils are golden, shiny black, grey, and silver.

    My mother always warned us against scratching the scratch cards using our fingernails. For some reason, she believed that the material was carcinogenic and would cause cancer. So as I look into the best companies that print scratch-off cards, there are some factors that we need to look at first.

    The coating on scratch cards is made of specialized latex inks. According to hoax slayer, there is no proven scientific evidence that links the scratch-off material to skin cancer. There is also no evidence that references the compound called “Silver Nitro Oxide”.

    A scientist called Dr. Brian Berry had alleged that the presence of “Silver Nitro Oxide” in scratch cards causes skin cancer.

    Tips for successful scratch off ink products

    Scratch off promotional card

    Scratch off promotional card

    Before you decide on contracting a company to deliver your scratch-off project, you need to measure their competencies. Their competencies will ultimately impact the quality of the product you want. And it’s obvious that you are looking for the best quality you can get in the market.

    These tips will help you know what makes a scratch-off ink project successful. You will be able to vet companies and make an informed decision.

    1. They have coated stock

    Sticking your material with either gloss or matte finish will always ensure that the removal is smooth. Uncoated coverstocks absorb a lot of varnish. The resulting toothy surface can cause adhesion that makes it hard to remove the scratch-off ink. Obviously, the removal will tear the card and give your customers very unpleasant results.

    2. The message hidden underneath should not be visible

    Unfortunately, scratch-off is not fully opaque. A good scratch-off company will employ the lowest possible contrast. It should prevent anyone from seeing the contents concealed. Prism Tech Graphic advises that the best results come from using two different percentages of tints of black only.

    Meticulous digital printers should ensure that the dry or toner ink can pile up and fails to hide the message. If that essential aspect is missed, the concealing will not be successful. Before the products are released you need to test them.

    3. Always separate the different layouts

    When the scratch-off has been applied, all cards will look the same. Therefore if you have different layouts or versions such as ticket number, hidden gifts, prize amounts etc, they need to be kept separate. A nice way to do this is by marking the outside trim area on the layout.

    4. Never skip the drying time

    It’s worth noting that scratch-off ink is not like UV ink which sticks immediately. It takes time to dry before being packaged. The best printing companies factor in drying time to achieve perfectly complete products.

    5. Use minimal press powder

    Printing companies should use little powder because it interferes with the varnish and scratch-off ink adhesion. It also clogs screens. Experts at Prism Tech Graphics advise that depowdering should be done if powdering is mandatory for the scratch-off project.

    For digital printers, they should ensure that they test the varnish application before applying it to the whole order. Because the use of fuser oil makes it impossible to print the varnish. Eventually the varnish fails to stick.

    6. Proper marking on the press sheet

    The press sheets that will have scratch-off applied on them need to be properly marked with the grip and guide positions. Ensure that you use consistent registration edges for the top sheet on the stack for proper alignment.

    These are some of the companies that offer scratch off printing:

    • Scratch
    • 4OVER4
    • Printing for less
    • Scratch off works
    • Promo Printing Group
    • Print scratch cards

    What are some examples of custom scratch-printing?

    Unique scratch-off ticket


    Direct Mailing: from the local bakery announcing the latest -scratch to discover- bagel to discover-your-code promos.


    New Product Launches: You can announce and reveal your latest addition with a custom printed scratch-off piece.

    Trade Show Giveaways: Custom scratch-off flyers, scratch on the spot to win a prize.

    Sweepstakes, promotions, games, and trivia.

    Store Discounts: cross-sale, up-sale or simply increase sales volumes with fun in-store scratch-off coupons printed to your specifications. Raffles and Fundraisers too can be custom-made for you.

    Employee Incentives- gift vouchers and certificates.

    Reward Programs: little giveaways (or keep trying notices) for VIP, standard and new members.

    Party Games: from racy bachelorette party games to wholesome personalized bingo cards. You can use personalized scratch-off cards for private events

    What tips should you consider when buying scratch-off tickets?

    1. Define your goals

    Scratch cards are a classic way of pulling people. They can also be used to advertise new products etc. Therefore, having your goals clearly defined will help you decide which scratch-off tickets will work for you.

    2. Buy in bulk

    As it is for many printing companies, the higher the order, the cheaper they charge you.

    3. Set a budget and stick to it

    You need to financially plan for the scratch-off prints. Analyze your total costs, both variable and fixed and get a deal that fits your budget.

    4. You can capture lost clients

    Scratch-off tickets can be used to woo clients who stopped doing business with you. You need to come up with the catchy, desirable designs and rekindle the old flame.

    5. Leverage on scratch-off tickets to improve your company’s image

    When you offer giveaways and gifts with your scratch cards you give a positive image and outlook about your business. It’s a more exciting way to create awareness about your business.


    Scratch-offs are a great marketing tool and if you have not yet started using them, then why not give them a try for a small marketing campaign? You’re more likely to see an increase in engagement or sales with this exciting method of marketing. With 2 decades of experience in the print industry, 4OVER4 will print and ship them to you at supersonic speed. In addition, you’ll enjoy the most competitive prices in the market to give you value for your money and exceed your expectations.


    • What is die-cutting?
    • How Die-Cutting Makes You Stand Out From Your Competitors
    • Scratch off
    • Scratch off lottery sales soar
    • Bogus Health Warning- Scratch card “Silver Nitro Oxide” coating causes skin cancer
    • 6 Tips for a successful scratch-off ink project
    • Is it better to buy more expensive scratch tickets?
    • Top tips to improve your chances of winning scratch cards
    • Good HouseKeeping. How to Make Scratch-Off Gifts Cards With Just Paint and Dish Soap.
    • The Wonder Forest. How to Make Your Scratch Off Cards Tutorial.
    • Madehow. Instant Lottery Ticket.