Perspex Prints Overview
Perspex Prints are a modern way of mounting your photographs. A fairly recent innovation of large format printing technology, they can give photos three dimensional qualities from the light that refracts through the acrylic piece.
They are a premium product that requires experience, skill and craftsmanship to perfect. Suited to grand rooms and gallery spaces, they offer a spectacular visual experience as long as the image resolution and quality match the size of the acrylic sheet.
Perspex Printing Explained
There are a few different ways that you can put your photos onto Perspex. The three most popular are direct printing onto Perspex, using an adhesive to mount a photograph to the back of a thick piece of Perspex or sandwiching a photo between two thinner pieces.
Printing direct onto Perspex can give some interesting results and is certainly a method that is more suited to illustrations and graphics as the print resolution is generally lower than the second method or third method where your images are printed on photographic paper.
The second method is where you bond a high resolution giclee (digital) print to the back of a thick - normally at least 10mm thick - piece of Perspex using a permanent clear silicon adhesive. This method normally gives better detail and clarity as the print heads used to create the giclee prints print at a higher resolution. It also gives the illusion that the print is imbedded in the Perspex itself.
The third method differs from the second because the giclee print is "sandwiched" between two thinner and normally cheaper pieces of acrylic. This gives a less impressive effect as the divide can be seen from the side and the print will tend to naturally warp and ripple over time as no adhesive is used to bond the print to the acrylic.
Advantages of Perspex Prints
Clearly Perspex Prints are an eye-catching way of displaying your images and using this method enables photographers to stand out from the crowd. Its a great way to showcase your best work in galleries and also works well in corporate environments.
Mounting your images behind Perspex also acts as an archiving method in that it protects them from damage and creates a robust piece that will last for many years. You also have the option of different types of fixings and hanging methods that enable you to keep the piece different distances from the wall.
Pitfalls to Watch Out For
Print resolution varies widely - printers using 1440 dpi will provide a finer print quality and superior colour richness than a 720 dpi or 360 dpi print. So go for a printer that has a higher dpi to avoid banding and quality issues. Printing direct onto Perspex is good for certain types of images such as graphics and illustrations but may not be suitable for detailed photographs.
Thinner pieces of acrylic often used for "acrylic sandwiches" may be less robust and have a yellow tint and may be as thin as 3mm. Go for a solid piece of Perspex that is 10mm.
Make sure the adhesive used to bond images to Perspex is acid free and that your printer uses archival inks and high quality media or your images may fade sooner than you think.
Recommended Specs and Pricing
- 10mm thick solid piece of Perspex
- Clear silicon adhesive, acid free.
- 1440 dpi print resolution.
- Archival quality inks.
- High quality photographic gloss or pearl media such as Epson or Illford.
Average price you can expect to pay for an A2 perspex print with this spec: £180
Lower Quality Specs and Pricing
- 4mm thick acrylic sandwich (2 pieces of acrylic).
- Spring tightening fixings.
- 360 dpi print resolution.
- Generic inks.
- Lower cost media.
Average price you can expect to pay for an A2 perspex print with this spec: £100
This article was kindly supplied by Kerry Keays of Point101 Perspex Printing.