Painting and Printing Techniques on Toys


I was interested in learning more about printing/painting processes that are used on children’s toys. I found this figurine (, and I was trying to figure out how it was printed since it has high detail and accuracy and it has an irregular surface texture. Also, what other printing techniques are available for children’s toys?


Hi Lexi! The deco on the LEGO product you’ve shown is primarily tampo printing (- YouTube), which is best used for high detail, accurate deco and multiple layers of colour. I’d imagine the feet are spray ops, which is better if you need to cover a larger area with one colour, and often over multiple surfaces, however it might count for more than one operation to cover all surfaces, this is done using a ‘book’ to mask off areas to be sprayed a different colour (the book is usually a metal case which covers off all areas that you don’t want sprayed. Spray ops are generally cheaper than tampo prints, but it often depends on the area of application, the detail and the surface. (Some materials and surface finishes will not take a spray op, others won’t hold a tampo well).

Hope this helps? There are also great ways of getting colour breaks in to toys by thinking about multiple tools to produce the different parts, then sonic welding or glueing parts together to appear as if it was always one piece, but there is often a join mark that is visible, so depends on the level of accuracy / cost that you are looking for. It’s often cheaper to mould in separate colours, but depends on the number of pieces you are running, as the initial set up of the tools this way is far more expensive!

There are also a huge number of ways to achieve different surface textures / finishes or even materials for the whole toy. You could look in to some of the surface finishes, Yick Sang are always a good starting point for surface texture books -