Mouthguard printing?

What printing process is used to apply graphics to soft, molded materials such as this mouthguard?
With the high resolution and strong color I’d guess it was a sort of in-mold decoration, but I’ve only employed that process with harder materials such as ABS.
I am pretty sure the mouthguard part is silicone.
Thanks for any clues or tips.

If silicone, it could be a similar process to these Tovolo spatulas:

According to their website, they’re “printed with silicone “ink” to ensure [the] design will last and last

Thank you JCS! Yes that makes sense.

makes sense, that is probably a good bond silicone to silicone… on the mouth guard, I wonder if they had to print the black layer first to get the rainbow to stick properly? It would be so much better without that and then they could have designed the parter to dissipate in a way that doesn’t give away the boundaries of the printable area… but I digress…

Hah, yes that makes sense. Very vibrant. To go further into nitpicky mode, it irks me how the blue part in the center flows along with a nice fillet and the black overmold sort of flows downward, taking the edge fillet along to a zero-point. That’s bad filleting. Also where the black starts to flow down from the horizontal section you can tell it’s not a curvature fillet. Unless that’s a hard reflection. But I digress.

That pic looks like a render.

Might want to also look into water transfer printing. Sometimes called cubic print. They use it on all kinds of weird shaped things but normally where the pattern doesn’t need to align perfect as the transfer usually covers the whole part. Not saying that is what is used and not sure about on silicone but I’ve seen it in soft PU parts and they use it on EVA shoe mid soles too so it does work on flexible materials.


Thanks RK. It could be a render; there were dozens of product shots to choose from for this posting, I just picked one that looked the most elaborate.
I haven’t heard of water transfer for soft materials like silicone but it makes sense. IIRC it isn’t very precise to align graphics to geometry in that process.

I was thinking render as it looks too perfect. No parting lines. And the weird radius on the edges.

Yes, the alignment isn’t great on the water transfer, but can be controlled a bit.


In mold decoration seems the most likely, for something in the mouth, the bond would have to be perfect. Printed pigmented material of the same base as the master molding bonding with molding pressure. Inmold rotomolded decals are made of printed, colored, PE powder for example.

A year ago I managed a mouthguard project for a competitor of Shock Doctor. So there is a couple of things going on here. You would assume that it is silicone but the material is not. It is food grade EVA. They use a process called IML (in-mold logo) Where they preprint that graphic on whatever substrate they want and add into to the model before they inject the EVA material. I understand this process pretty well we were using it for Mouthguards and water bottles. Feel free to reach out with more questions.