Is Waterproof Paper Worth the Investment? A Cost/Benefit Analysis

Is waterproof paper really worth the investment? Check out this cost comparison chart outlining the savings with waterproof paper vs. lamination.

When folks are first learning about waterproof synthetic paper and all of its benefits, they tend to assume that it must be prohibitively expensive. But that simply isn’t true!

How is that possible?

Yes, synthetic paper is initially going to cost more than regular copy paper. But when you take a broad view of your expenses, you just might see that the initial cost of synthetic paper is well worth it for the time and cost-savings down the line. This is especially true if you’re constantly reprinting pieces or undertaking a lamination process to increase durability.

What’s so great about synthetic paper?

REVLAR synthetic paper is waterproof, tear-proof and durable right out of the box. It’s designed to withstand high and low temperature fluctuations and is impervious to grease and chemicals. This product is actually made of plastic, which is what gives it all of these durable characteristics, yet it has the appearance, smoothness and printability of standard paper.

REVLAR waterproof synthetic paper characteristics

Waterproof paper vs. lamination

When you laminate traditional paper products in an attempt to achieve the characteristics inherent in REVLAR waterproof synthetic paper, you’re adding a time-consuming and expensive step after printing is complete. Plus, lamination can peel, bubble or crease, which allows moisture to penetrate over time and damage the finished piece. Once the material’s clean, professional appearance is compromised, there’s no turning back.

With REVLAR, you print once and you’re done; no extra steps, no hidden costs and no fuss!

Still skeptical? Check out this cost comparison chart:

For many users, particularly those concerned with look and feel, the final decision often comes down to the cost of REVLAR vs. the cost of lamination. This cost comparison illustrates that all three of our REVLAR products are a highly cost-effective solution.

This example calculates and compares the cost per sheet for 1,000 8.5” x 11” signs for outdoor use:

Laminating with
Standard Paper
REVLAR Premium
4.7 mil (155 gsm)
4.7 mil (150 gsm)
8 mil (200 gsm)
Printing Estimation$0.11 $0.11 $0.11 $0.11 
Paper Price$0.01 $0.46$0.40$0.49
Lamination Material$0.55 ¹N/AN/AN/A
Lamination Labor ²$0.33 ³N/AN/AN/A
Estimated Total Cost$1.00$0.57$0.51$0.60

¹ Cost per 5 mil pouch of lamination film from leading office supplier
² Most laminators from leading office supplier process one sheet per minute, totaling 16.67 hours for 1,000 sheets
³ Assuming labor is $20 per hour

This cost comparison does not even take into account other factors, such as the cost of purchasing and maintaining lamination equipment or the amount of time required to heat up lamination equipment. Both of those factors could significantly add to the overall cost of lamination.

To Learn More

To learn more about REVLAR waterproof synthetic paper, request free samples or more information by clicking below.

REVLAR learn more and request samples

*This blog post was originally published on Jan 9, 2015, it was updated and republished on August 23, 2018.

How to Print with Waterproof Synthetic Paper

How do you print on waterproof paper? It’s easy if you have the correct printer! In this blog post, we’ll walk you through all the important steps and offer some pro tips.

REVLAR Printer Settings

9 times out of 10, when folks are initially learning about waterproof synthetic paper, they have three main questions:

“What’s it made of?”

“How do you print on it?”

“What is it used for?”

You can find the answers to the first and third questions here and here. We’re going to address the second question in this blog post!

Step 1 – Check your printer

It’s easy to print on waterproof paper if you have the correct printer! Our REVLAR waterproof synthetic paper can be printed on dry toner laser printers, offset printers or flexo printers. The key is making sure that your printer is equipped to run the product’s gsm and melting point.

HOLD UP! What do those mean?

  • Grams per square meter (gsm) measures the density or how heavy a paper is.
  • Melting point is the temperature at which the paper will begin experiencing chemical reactions and breaking down.

All printers have maximum thresholds for these factors. We recommend that you pull out your printer’s manual to check those maximums. Compare those numbers to the table on this document to narrow down your options to the REVLAR paper type that might work best for you.

Don’t stress about this! If you’re unsure, our product specialists are always happy to help. They can look up your printer’s numbers and make sure that you get the right product for your printer.

Step 2 – Try before you buy

Like all synthetic substrates, you will need to adjust your print settings in order to ensure optimum runnability with REVLAR. Each printer is different, so we recommend that you do some test printing to see which settings give you the best results. Connect with one of our representatives to request some blank test samples so you can try it out!

Step 3 – Adjust your settings

When you go to print your file, make sure to change the media/paper type to match the gsm of the REVLAR product you have.

Please note: different media settings change the temperature and speed of the printer. For example, using a glossy paper setting causes the machine to run the fuser at a higher temperature than a plain paper. Also, the lower you set the gsm, the faster the paper will run through the machine.

In general, if your printer has a synthetic paper setting, that’s the one to use. If it doesn’t have a synthetic paper setting, we recommend playing around a little. Test out different options and see what works! If possible, try to choose settings that maintain:

  • Lower fuser temperature
  • Slower run
  • Straight path through the printer

Step 4 – Pro tips for best results

Once you find the best printer settings to run REVLAR through your machine, make sure to keep the following tips in mind for happy printing!

  • Allow the paper to acclimate to the printer’s room for 24 hours prior to printing
  • Fan sheets on all edges before loading into the feed drawer in order to reduce static
  • Any unused paper should be stored in its original box

Check out our printer settings guide if you’d like to dive deeper into finishing options, troubleshooting and disposal for REVLAR paper.

By printing your projects on waterproof paper yourself, you can enjoy the perks of printing as many (or as few) sheets as you need!

How to Choose the Right Synthetic Paper

We know it can be overwhelming to determine which synthetic paper is right for you. What are the key differences? How do you know which one to choose? This blog post answers those very questions!

We know it can be overwhelming to determine which synthetic paper is right for you. What are the key differences? How do you know which one to choose?

We don’t want you to be lost in a sea of possibilities. Consider this blog post your personal life ring!

Check out this handy comparison chart

Our REVLAR brand includes three of our synthetic paper products. Each product is designed to align with specific customer needs, applications and budgets. The key features below can help you pick the best fit for your project and printer.


Still not sure? Check out our FAQs

These are the frequently asked questions we often encounter when folks are exploring our waterproof synthetic paper options.

What is the main difference between REVLAR Premium, Select and Soft?

Premium and Select are rigid synthetics, while Soft is a more pliable soft synthetic.

If both Premium and Select are rigid, what is the difference between the two?

Premium and Select are made of the same base/core material, but Select has an industrial coating that is thinner than the coating used on Premium.

What is the material that REVLAR is made of?

Premium – polyester
Select – polyester
Soft – polyolefin

Are all the REVLAR papers waterproof and tear-proof?


If the three products are all waterproof and tear-proof, do they also last as long as each other?

Yes, they all have the same long lifespan.

Do I need a special printer to run REVLAR papers?

They will run on dry toner laser printers, offset printers and flexo printers.

My project requires folding, can these papers be easily folded?

REVLAR Soft can be easily folded by hand or machine. We recommend scoring REVLAR Premium or REVLAR Select before folding, to ensure the piece keeps its fold memory.

What is the recyclability of REVLAR?

REVLAR can be recycled as a plastic, not as a paper. We recommend you check in with your local recycling services for your options. REVLAR Premium & REVLAR Select are classified as a #1 plastic. REVLAR Soft is a #7 plastic.

Do all these papers share the same print quality?

All REVLAR products will produce a quality image, with REVLAR Premium producing the best pop!

Which mils and sizes are available for REVLAR?

Check out the chart in this document!

Learn more

If you’d like to dive deeper into the options, please request a free synthetic paper portfolio that includes blank samples, printed samples, datasheets and a brochure just for you!

REVLAR learn more and request samples

Relyco Expands REVLAR Synthetic Paper Line

We are delighted to announce that we have expanded our synthetic paper portfolio! We will now be offering REVLAR Select and REVLAR Soft to complement the already existing REVLAR Premium product. With this expansion, we are able to offer our customers more options that can meet a broader variety of budgetary and project needs.


Customers around the world have come to depend on us as one of the leading providers of premium synthetics. As both our customers’ needs and the market have transformed, we’ve taken steps to meet this changing marketplace with the expansion of our synthetic paper portfolio.

Introducing two new products!

We are delighted to announce that we will now be offering REVLAR Select and REVLAR Soft to complement the already existing REVLAR Premium product.

Over the last ten years, our customers within the private and public sector have used REVLAR Premium waterproof paper whenever printed pieces will be subject to frequent handling, wet surroundings or extreme environmental conditions. With its waterproof, tear-proof characteristics, REVLAR is particularly suited for indoor/outdoor signage, manuals, temporary license plates, menus, marketing materials, tags, labels, tickets, maps, guides, and more.

Why we expanded REVLAR

We first launched our synthetics line in 2008 and it has continued to grow since then. This most recent expansion is something we began working on in 2017 after observing some changes in the marketplace and receiving feedback from our current customers. Our first priority as a company is to ensure we are consistently offering value to our customers through superior products and services. With this expansion, we are able to offer our customers more options that can meet a broader variety of budgetary and project needs.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a current REVLAR customer, this expansion offers you new options for more applications! For example, if you’ve been dreaming of a synthetic paper that can be easily folded by hand for a menu, map or brochure, REVLAR Soft can do that! Additionally, for folks who are tactile and care about the feel of a material, Soft is remarkably silky and smooth to the touch, which translates well for booklets and manuals. Meanwhile, REVLAR Select is a great alternative to traditional rigid synthetics because of its industrial coating. Folks working with tighter budget requirements may find that Select is just the ticket for their signage, field guides and more!

Compare all three

You can compare and contrast all three products in more depth by exploring the REVLAR overview webpage. If you want to get your hands on all three, make note of it when you fill out the sample request form here.

REVLAR learn more and request samples

5 New Synthetic Paper Applications You Have To See

Five of the most unique, novel synthetic paper applications we’ve seen for durable REVLAR paper here at Relyco, including marine science and sports.


Over 27 years in business, we’ve learned that the only thing that limits synthetic paper applications is one’s imagination. We were reminded of that recently when we surveyed over 400 people to learn how they use durable, waterproof paper in their business and personal lives, and received some truly great responses.

Relyco‘s REVLAR and TriDura papers are used in municipal, military, and scientific settings for a range of purposes from signs to field manuals, with that usage growing by leaps and bounds over the last two years.  Here are five of the most unique synthetic paper applications you’ll ever read about, as told to us by some of our creative customers.

Underwater Scientific Surveys

Carleton/Ontario University Marine Bio Uses Relyco REVLAR

You expect REVLAR paper to stand up to rain and even being dunked in water, but a wetsuit-clad scientist writing notes in the ocean? That’s exactly the use one marine laboratory in California has found for synthetic paper, as the lab uses the paper for SCUBA surveys of sea life and kelp forests on the Pacific coast. This is the first we’ve heard of active note-taking, though we have seen underwater marine life identification charts.

Wine-Proof Tags

revlar waterproof paper wine tags


Bonnie Chase Designs produced paper “wine tags” that fit snugly around wineglass stems for a Halloween party, but all it took was a few droplets or a larger accidental spill to soak and ruin them. Enter REVLAR synthetic paper, which Bonnie used to produce wine-proof versions of those same tags that were easy to craft and produce, but held up exceptionally well to a tipsy tilt of the glass. Yes, even dark red wines!

Football Playbooks

Brigham Young University is a perennial college football powerhouse, and they want their playbooks to be as durable as their players. They now use REVLAR to ensure their playbooks and info sheets are tear and weather-resistant, and to make sure their coaches can jot down notes and make changes to the gameplan on the fly from the sidelines.

Emergency Door Hangers

REVLAR door hanger


These are no ordinary door hangers. Some 3,000 miles away from our HQ in Dover, New Hampshire, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) uses custom-made synthetic paper warnings to hang on the doors of residents whenever there’s a water shortage or issue, and they can do so knowing that neither wind nor rain is going to ruin them before the important messages are seen. That’s critical in a setting when a phone call or mail notice often isn’t feasible.


REVLAR synthetic papers have found a lot of uses as a durable lamination alternative for maps meant to be laid flat or mounted for reference, including on fishing boats, posted on trails, and in lodges. For maps on board fishing boats and on hiking trails, Tridura, meanwhile, can be easily folded and stuffed into a backpack, ensuring that their maps stay flexible and dry and no one has to worry about getting lost on a hike thanks to a soggy, unreadable map.

Want to learn more about synthetic paper applications, or share your creative uses with us? Contact us today!


Survey Shows Growing Opportunities for Print in Synthetic Paper Products

Synthetic paper is having a moment and trends show incredible opportunities for printers who are using specialty substrates to expand their customer base.


Virtually indestructible, water- and tear-resistant synthetic papers are increasingly being used in the retail, hospitality, and manufacturing sectors. Many large-scale printers and mail houses are redesigning current business applications; changing old ways of doing business and adopting new, efficient, cost-effective procedures, including the use of durable products that are ideal for cost saving, on demand, and short run production.

REVLAR continues its strong growth in the specialty substrates available through Relyco. Demand increased by 26% between 2014 and 2015, making it Relyco’s top growth product. The 2016 projections are that its positive growth trends will continue.

In a recent survey that drew over 400 respondents, more than two-thirds said that it is important for their paper to be either waterproof or water resistant. In fact, an application’s ability to stand up to water is so important, that 52% admitted to still laminating print applications to ensure durability.


The results show growing market opportunities for synthetic paper, particularly in the following fields:

Synthetic Paper Tags and Labels in Manufacturing

A surge in the production of labeling and tagging products is forecasted for the manufacturing industry, where printers can create company specific items just by changing the colors and wording on labels/tags. Another growth area is in manufacturing for product and owner’s manuals.

Durable Paper Sign Applications in Retail

Point-of-sale signs are ideally suited for Relyco’s vibrant colored REVLAR where eye-stopping color alerts customers to in-store special sale pricing. Another use for short run on demand printing is in-store one- or two-day specials. Shelf wobblers, end cap signs, indoor and outdoor equipment tags are expected to show growth as well.

Synthetic Paper in the Hospitality Industry

This field is wide open. There is a need for menus, tent cards, hotel notices, key cards, and activity lists to name a few. Event schedules, programs, and maps pinpointing local area attractions are another area where REVLAR is the perfect product for the application.

Military and Government Applications

REVLAR, available in small to large quantities, on rolls or flat sheets and in a wide spectrum of mil weights, is a prime substrate to be used in government project bids. Manuals, guides, ID cards and outdoor signage are among the top uses in this field.

And So Much More…

Board games, insurance cards, medical labeling, and signage are all foreseen as growth sectors for synthetic paper.

Wherever there is a need for a substrate that stands up to constant use and abuse, to weather fluctuations, to grease and chemicals, there will be a demand for REVLAR. Awareness of the product will filter down from the larger printing facilities, direct mail houses and design firms to the in-plants and smaller all-purpose print shops as customers demand better solutions. With its laser coated surface, high temperature tolerance and indestructible qualities, REVLAR will be the way to go.


How REVLAR Waterproof Paper Helped McDonald Garden Center Grow

How McDonald Garden Centers in Virginia uses REVLAR waterproof paper to make durable, waterproof signage for both indoor and outdoor facilities.

McDonald Garden Center uses REVLAR Signage

McDonald Garden Center operates three year-round garden centers in Virginia Beach, Hampton and Chesapeake, Virginia. Additionally, they have 12 seasonal garden markets across eastern Virginia, which provide quality plants and garden accessories from March through mid-July.

With such a wide variety of plants and plant material available, McDonald has serious signage needs. But the conditions of a garden center are not exactly conducive to traditional paper. Enter REVLAR waterproof paper.

How McDonald Garden Center Uses REVLAR Waterproof Paper

McDonald Garden Center relies on hundreds of signs to give its customer details about each product or to promote special offers or events.

“We need signage for all our locations, and these signs are exposed to the elements, both inside and outside our facilities, where they can be damaged by wind, rain or watering, as well as from sitting within the plant material itself. In the past, we were able to produce the signs we needed using just card stock and lamination, but as we opened more and more locations and had more facilities requiring signage, we found that our approach was becoming time consuming and costly.”
– Sherry Connell, promotions coordinator

Since REVLAR is waterproof, tear-proof and durable, it’s perfect for both the indoor and outdoor garden centers. McDonald needs a specific size for most of its signage, so Relyco offers a special template and then cuts the paper to size.

McDonald also relies on the standard sizes of REVLAR to print posters and other promotional signs for its special events, such as festivals, workshops and fundraisers; the company raised more than $20,000 for local charities last year alone.

“In the more than four years that we’ve been working with Relyco and using REVLAR, we’ve never been disappointed,” Connell said. “The product is excellent and ideally suited to our environment, and we have a great relationship with the company. Relyco’s service is unmatched and we absolutely trust that Relyco will do a good job for us.”

Get in touch with a Relyco representative today to find out what REVLAR waterproof paper can do for you.

Waterproof Paper Samples

Changing the Advertising Game with Specialty Paper and White Toner

With specialty paper printed with unique toner combinations, your printed pieces take on a new dimension. Learn more here.

Synthetic Menus & White Toner

Imagine that you have been printing a restaurant menu every few months for the past year, and your customer wants to change the look of the menu. They want people walking by the restaurant to see something that is so different, the look of the menu catches their eye and entices them to go in.

The restaurant wants the table menu to match that same theme, attractive and pleasing to look at—and while you’re at it, how about creating an advertising campaign with that same “look?”

Try White or Metallic Toner on Specialty Paper

“Back in the day,” printers would make text stand out by reverse printing, taking what is normally a white background with black print and print it as a black background with white print.

Today, print service providers are using new print engines that can lay down white toner, adding a “fifth station” to what has always been four-color printing. Additionally, there are printers that can print “metallic” toner as well (silver and gold).

These toners adds a new dimension to a printed piece, making the images stand out. The obvious problem with that has been since white toner on a white page won’t work, or a metallic toner on a white background can appear dull, a colored background is needed. Flood coating an entire sheet on a digital engine, however, uses a lot of toner, and drives the “per piece” cost up.

So how do you use that new printer and its unique toner capabilities to create a printed piece with extra “pop?”

Synthetic or Waterproof Menus Stand Up to Spills, Food, & Cleaning Products

Let’s use the menu as an example, and explore some options. Many restaurants, hotels, marinas, country clubs and the like have switched from paper menus to one that is printed on synthetics. Durable, tear proof, waterproof, it can be wiped down, used over and over, and holds up to spills, food particles and the occasional dip in the pool. White synthetic, black toner, the only thing that changes are the menu items.

Suppose, however, since the menu is going to change frequently anyway, that in addition to changing the meals, the menu changed to a colored media with white toner, or a red menu with white or silver toner for Valentine ’s Day, a green menu with white or gold toner for St Patrick’s Day?

Consider Spot Color Decals for Consistent Branding

While flood coating can be expensive, doing spot colors in combination with white toner is a great way to make your message stand out. Your red Valentine’s Day menu can be complimented by printing a decal using spot color and white toner for your “take away” bags, making the traditional “doggy bag” or Styrofoam container look much more upscale.

Take it one step further and print packaging for samples, like a box, or an invitation to a special event. Silver or gold for an anniversary party allows your printed piece to continue on a theme.
These are a few ideas around a common theme, but don’t stop there.

Using specialty media in conjunction with white or metallic toner allows you to customize your seasonal promotions, such as holidays for hospitality venues, seasonal buying trends for retail stores, just to name a few.

With specialty media printed with unique toner combinations, your printed pieces take on a new dimension, bringing you new opportunities for revenue within your existing customers, and new prospects.

Sample REVLAR Colors

BYU Football Team Finds Success with Waterproof Paper: A Case Study

Discover why BYU football uses REVLAR waterproof paper for durable, weather-resistant play books, call sheets, and wristbands.

waterproof playbooks call sheets

Brigham Young University (BYU) is one of the largest private academic institutions in the U.S., and the university’s football program has a long tradition of success.

Coaches in virtually every sport use some type of heavy paper, usually laminated, to create call sheets for games and practices, and the BYU Cougars football team is no exception.

From rain, sleet and snow to blood, sweat, and tears, a coach’s playbook takes a beating—which is why durability is so important.

BYU Football Uses REVLAR for Durable Playbooks & Call Sheets

Director of Football Operations Duane Busby explains that after years of dealing with the time and expense of creating laminated call sheets, he began to research a more effective alternative.

“We wanted a paper for all uses that didn’t require lamination, was waterproof—and sweat proof—and was durable and easy to use. And we wanted our coaches to be able to write on it without using a special pen.”

Busby searched for waterproof paper online and found that Relyco’s REVLAR was the most popular. Intrigued by the options of waterproof paper available, Busby requested samples, tested, and liked what he saw. Today, the BYU Cougars use REVLAR for all their durable paper needs.

The BYU Cougars have seen real benefits since they began using REVLAR.

“We love REVLAR from Relyco,” Busby says. “The various thicknesses that are available ensure we can have the right waterproof paper for all possible uses. With REVLAR, we’ve saved hours of laminating time and can print call sheets our coaches can write on, making the coaches more effective on the field. The fact that REVLAR is durable and tear resistant is a bonus.”


“As far as we’re concerned, REVLAR is proven—we’ve tested it ourselves,” Busby adds. “With a football team, any time you’re playing in bad weather it’s important to know that the waterproof paper you’ve used for call sheets is really waterproof. REVLAR is something we can count on.”

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in December 2011 and has been updated for accuracy.

Waterproof paper

Customer Story: How REVLAR Waterproof Paper Helped TRX Expand Their Business

When TRX Business Supplies discovered REVLAR synthetic waterproof paper, it opened a whole new world of opportunities for both current and prospective customers.

TRX Business Supplies

TRX Business Supplies, a nationwide wholesaler of laser printers, toner and parts, has always been on the lookout for new and innovative products to offer its customers.

So when company President Allan Turk heard about synthetic waterproof paper, he was excited to discover the possible applications.

TRX Business Supplies now regularly stocks REVLAR waterproof paper and has received a great response from customers, including one Division 1 athletic department that was able to officially “sideline” its laminator.

Discovering a New Synthetic Paper Product

Founded in 2007, TRX Business Supplies has a long history of providing the full range of laser printer and printer-related products its customers need at discounted prices. The company is also committed to meeting its customers’ evolving requirements with new products.

This is why an email from Relyco about the availability of REVLAR waterproof paper—and the promise of a durable, weather-proof, tear-resistant paper—immediately caught Turk’s attention.

Turk requested samples and tested the synthetic paper himself, running it through different types of laser printers and even submerging the paper in water to test that the ink wouldn’t smear or fade.

When the waterproof paper passed all his tests with flying colors, Turk ordered a supply and created sample kits for customers that included a range of paper sizes and thicknesses. He began bringing the kits with him to share with customers who might find it useful, starting with those in athletic departments at the colleges and universities he visited.

Waterproof Paper – 1, Laminator – 0

One athletic department at a Division 1 university in the Midwest was especially excited about the prospect of synthetic paper, since the football coach and his assistants routinely carried a laminator with them to away games.

Why would they do that? Football call sheets have to be updated frequently and the coaching staff relied on lamination to ensure that the pages could withstand the use and abuse typical on the sidelines on game day.

The availability of waterproof paper from TRX Business Supplies meant the team could generate durable, tear-resistant, sweat-proof pages without spending an hour or more on pre-game lamination.

REVLAR Opens the Door to New Opportunities—and Customers

TRX Business Supplies has also sold synthetic paper to customers in hospitality, retail and leisure markets, including waterparks where the waterproof paper is used to print signage and menus.

The company has also supplied the paper to green wholesalers, gardening supply companies, and greenhouses with great success.

“We traditionally offered our customers ink and toner compatible with printers across the entire range of manufacturers, and REVLAR from Relyco enabled us to expand our product offerings,” Turk said. “We can now provide existing customers with a unique new product and approach prospective customers with a compelling story about the advantages of waterproof paper.”

Want to try synthetic waterproof paper? Request free samples.

Waterproof paper