Printed Paper Coffee Cup Printing FAQs

Each day we’re asked a lot of questions about printed paper coffee cups! From our unique paper cup printing processes and possibilities (there are very few limitations!) to recycling, safety, quality and more.

Here’s a selection of questions and answers on the most-asked paper cup printing topics.

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What styles and colours are available?

We produce single wall, double wall and ice cream cups, plus recyclable and compostable paper cups.

CupPrint uses full-colour CMYK process in high-resolution, all-over printing. (Full wrap). This means any combination of colours, images, and design can be achieved without any extra cost. (And you don’t need sleeves!) Check out the main image on this post for a nice foil stamp example.

How many colours can I print?

Any amount of colours you like as CMYK printing is limitless. All pantone PMS colors are converted to CMYK. Please bear in mind that some conversions, especially oranges, don’t convert 100%. Our artwork team will advise on any problems.

What if I only need a simple 1 or 2 colour cup?

1 colour is the same as 6 colours to us . There’s no cost difference in CMYK printing. So, don’t be afraid to add as many colours or images as you like.

Is there an extra charge for 2-sided printing?

We manufacture and form the cups at our plant in Ireland (that delivers across Europe). This why we can print all the way around the cup on all sides at no extra cost, because it’s printed before forming. We also have a paper cup printing facility in the U.S


Printing Possibilities

Can you print on the inside of cups?

There’s a PE plastic coating on the inside of the cup. This coating’s actually laminated to the paper prior to making the cup.

If you print directly on to this layer, ink is then in direct contact with hot coffee or tea, which will react with the underlying substrate. Although harmless for the most part, it’s not recommended as completely food safe.

The only way to do this is to have the paper pre-printed prior to lamination.

Since lamination’s done in huge quantities it would only be possible for large order volumes.

Can you print on the bottom of cups?

If it’s inside the cup – as in looking inside the cup – the answer’s the same as the answer to printing on the inside of cups.

If it’s underneath the cup, on the flat base, same as above.

However printing on the bottom inner base side wall can be done.

If you want to print on the inside to reveal a prize or similar, the coupon cup is a much better way to do this. (See image below.)

coupon cup
Can the entire cup be printed on – including the bottom rim?

Yes, the base of the double wall can be printed, but it requires an extra print setup fee and slightly increases the cost of the cup.

If you’re doing just a colour match this will work just fine. But, if you are trying to match up lines between the base of the cup and the double wall, that won’t work.

Our single wall cups incorporate complete print coverage as well.


Do you make grooved cups – and can you print on them?

No, we don’t and, yes, we believe you can. (We call them ripple cups.)

Usually ripple cups are marketed as being a solution for insulation and protecting your hand from heat.

However, double wall cups are by far the best for insulation – here’ a diagram of double wall paper cup construction and info on print surface finishing options. Double wall paper cups provide a much superior printing surface and many more options than grooved / rippled surfaces.

Double wall cups also don’t require paper or card cup sleeves or clutches, which proves their insulation properties.


Artwork and Design

What size or format do I need to provide artwork in?

You can just upload source files and give instructions and our team will take care of the rest or advise you or your designer on what they can do to optimise the design in print.

Do you have a paper cup design template we can use?

Yes. Please contact us for all our cup size templates to use or give to your designer.

This paper coffee cup design advice blog post answers common cup print design issues related to the ‘cone shape’ of printed paper coffee cups.

If you don’t want to design or or supply a cup design, we do offer a cup design service. Plus, you can also use the Cup Designer Tool if you click ‘Design Your Own‘ printed paper coffee cups on individual products in the products section.

(Our artwork team can assist you in designing fantastic cups for your business, brand event, or group. You can upload your artwork any time and preview it using interactive 3D before you approve your order.)

Does CupPrint suggest specific dimensions and colour specifications for designs?

Dimensions can vary slightly depending on the design. Typically it works best to upload a high-resolution vector file (.ai, .pdf, or .eps).

For colours, Pantone measurements are best. Providing Pantone specifications allows CupPrint to highlight colours on your custom printed cups most vibrantly. We also accept CMYK references if Pantone specifications are not available.

For double wall cups, we can print in uncoated (matte) or coated (gloss) Pantones. As such, please make sure to specify if submitting a Pantone reference number (usually #U reference denotes uncoated and #C reference denotes coated).

Order and Delivery


What is CupPrint’s capacity and minimum order?

Our minimum order at the moment is 1,000 cups. Our full capacity is over 500 million cups per year.

What is the lead time for your printed paper coffee cups?

Delivery time following approved artwork to being delivered to your door has traditionally been around 3 weeks, but in times of excess demand (such as post-Pandemic), availability and capacity varies and lead times should be checked with your Customer Representative . We will always try our best to work to your schedule, but cannot guarantee a fixed lead time at the time of update (Nov. 2021).. Please contact us for enquiries on delivery times for your requirements.

Do you ever accommodate rush orders?

(Please note that rush orders are subject to additional fees, including additional delivery fees.)


Can you provide printed paper coffee cups wrapped individually?

Unfortunately, we cannot offer individually wrapped printed cups.

Our products all go through the same production process that involves bagging certain quantities of cups together in stacks that are then packed in the same size cases. The quantities per case vary on the size of cup.

Is it possible to order samples? If so, what is the delivery time?

We’re happy to send samples. Our sample boxes are a random assortment, but you can indicate what particular styles and finishes you’d like to see examples of.

If you would like a pre-production sampling of your personal design, please contact us.

After I submit my design brief online, when will I receive my proof?

It typically takes 2-3 business days to generate a proof.


Can you print on top of the lids?

We do not have the capability to print on lids. Only on the sides of the cups.

What are the options for lid customisations?

There is a possibility of any colour, but this requires a minimum order quantity in the millions. So, to keep costs down, we supply the stock black and white plastic lids as standard.

Do lids need to be purchased separately?

Yes, we consider these a separate purchase – but ordering is easy! Just click here.


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Are the cups recyclable?

Printed paper coffee cups are not generally considered fully recyclable. This is due to the plastic PE coating used as the barrier on the inside. But, CupPrint offer recyclable paper cups using  “EarthCoating®” barriers that are recyclable through regular waste processing plants. In fact our recyclable cups are the only cups to have attained the Institut Cyclos Green Dot AAA Status award.

CupPrint also offer compostable paper cup solutions.

Are your paper cups from sustainable sources?

All of the materials use come from accredited, managed forestry. Double-wall printed paper coffee cups contain 45% recycled fibers.

Are your cups food-safe?

All of products meet the highest food safety standards. Our facilities maintain stringent hygiene levels in our highly controlled manufacturing environment. In the U.S. the inks used on cups are FDA approved. We also exceed all the necessary EC Framework Regulations surreounding several standards relating to plastics and hygiene. These include EU REACH (Chemical) Regulations as well as strict German food and commodity requirements. We are happy to provide certification on request.

Do you print on plastic coffee cups?

No we only print on paper cups and are focusing on sustainable models. We would be happy to quote you for any sizes of our paper cups!


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Do you really manufacture and print all the cups yourselves?

Yes we do, in Ireland, with easy access to rapidly ship your printed paper coffee cups to the UK and Europe. We also have a German sales office.  In 2019 we printed our billionth cup and have an annual capacity of 500 million cups and year and growing.

Do you have a North American branch?

Yes, we do in South Bend, Indiana at our CupPrint USA factory and sales and service facility.

Other questions? Call us via +44 808 155 6489, e-mail us at

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