Facemounting to acrylic for high-end fine art

Authored by Steve Yarbrough, Product Support Specialist

Face-mounting a print, especially a photograph, can really make the image the focus of the space. At Drytac we have developed Facemount®, a high-quality, optically clear mounting adhesive, specifically for this application, but that’s not all you need to produce a stunning result.

In fact, there are five critical physical material aspects to consider when completing or ordering acrylic face-mounts in order to get the results you are looking for.

Photo Paper/Print Media

First of all, an essential aspect to acrylic face-mounting is the choice of photograph paper or print media. Use only top-of-the-line photo paper for an acrylic project print – remember you’re creating an eye-catching display. The most popular photo paper – and the one I prefer for most projects – is a metallic paper. Be it metallic satin or metallic glossy, metallic paper truly enhances the vibrancy of the photograph. However, not all pictures call for metallic paper; portraits, for example, very often benefit from a photo paper with a pearl finish. Every surface has a Roughness Average (RA) and, keeping that in mind, the smoother the surface of the photograph, the better your results when face-mounting. If you do not have a completely smooth surface, you may see very tiny air bubbles in your print called silvering – not something you want in your finished photographic display.

Acrylic

Next on your list is the acrylic itself. Not all acrylic is alike. Specifically, there is a choice between cell cast acrylic and extruded acrylic. Cell cast acrylic is harder, has a more uniform thickness, is more scratch-resistant and is typically clearer than extruded acrylic. Most people in the industry only use cell cast acrylic for face-mounting, regardless of the thickness. If you are shopping around for a face-mounted photograph, always ask the vendor what type of acrylic they are using. If they tell you that all acrylic is the same, chances are they are using sub-par material and you may well have issues in the future. There is also a vast range of prices, from cheap acrylic only good for running experiments, to museum-quality acrylic that sells for four-figure sums per sheet. A reliable business will talk you through the options.

Facemount

The third essential aspect to face-mounts is an optically clear mounting adhesive, a two-sided adhesive that is used to adhere the photograph to the acrylic. It’s imperative that this is of the highest quality to ensure a clear picture with no distortion. Drytac’s product, specifically designed for this application, is called Facemount® – a pressure-sensitive permanent mounting adhesive protected on each side by a clear polyester release liner. Drytac’s Facemount® has been valued and relied on in the fine art sector for more than 30 years. Facemount® is engineered for the face-mounting of virtually any image to clear substrates like PetG, Plexiglas, acrylic and polycarbonate, which means that it is a fantastic option for high-quality photographic and inkjet printed images. It is particularly good for lenticular imaging applications, backlit display transparencies and touchscreen displays too – it really is of the highest quality in the market.

Backing

You should also consider the backing to be used with your photograph – indeed, this could be the most important aspect if you are hanging your picture on a wall. The backing must support the weight of your acrylic without tearing away from the back of the photograph to which it is adhered, and also maintain its adhesion to the mounting hardware. For wall-hung pictures, Dibond backing or coloured 1/8″ cast acrylic sheet is typically used. Dibond is basically an aluminium sandwich: a composite that consists of a high-strength aluminium skin on both sides, sandwiching a super-strong polyethylene centre core. It provides the utmost protection to the back of your picture while providing an incredibly strong substrate from which your acrylic can safely hang. The same applies to cast acrylic backings. This step requires another double-sided adhesive to bond the back side of the image to the backer –Facemount®.

Hanging Systems

Which backing to use depends on the hanging system, and this is the final critical aspect when acrylic face-mounting a print. No matter how good your backing is, if your hanging system fails, then everything else ceases to matter. It should be large enough to support the weight of the material, for if the weight exceeds the dimension of the hanger it will pull away from the backer, causing a failure. A cleat style hanging system requires Drytac Facemount® to be used on the front and back of the photo, because Facemount® has a very high shear strength and will hold, whereas other mounting adhesives have a lower shear strength and the acrylic and image will eventually release from the backer over time. This could cause the image to slide down the backer, or simply separate altogether.

Alternatively, standoff style hanging systems are essentially metal bolts that hold an image to the wall with anchors installed into the wall surface. This style of hanging system will provide enough weight distribution and support lower shear strength options as the adhesive for the backer. This is because the standoff goes completely through the sandwich of the Facemount®, holding it together and supporting the entire weight of the piece on all four corners from front to back. With this system, there is no way for the image to slide down the backer because they are supported equally. There are other hanging systems that are patented; research all the types to find the best system to meet your needs.

Acrylic face-mounted prints can look great. Make sure you choose the right photo paper or print media, acrylic, optically clear mounting adhesive, backing and hanging system to make them look incredible.

Explore the full range of Drytac’s media and adhesives to be inspired – and prepared – for your next project. Learn more about Facemount® and the steps on our youtube page: https://youtu.be/xBVnpOHmUOU 

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Safety comes first with graphics

Authored by Shaun Holdom, Global Product Manager, Drytac

Safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when creating a public space, with the choice of building materials, exit routes, sprinklers and alarms top priorities. But the safety of graphic materials should also be considered when planning campaigns in public buildings including hospitals, schools, transport hubs and retail environments.

At Drytac we have several certified product ranges. One of our most popular brands, SpotOn®, has achieved a Class B1 Fire Rating to the DIN 4102-1 standard. This widely recognized accreditation means this product range can be used in public areas that must adhere to strict fire regulations – opening up a variety of new applications and markets. Featuring Drytac’s unique dot-pattern removable adhesive, it allows for tool-free, bubble-free application to most flat surfaces and clean removal after use.

The SpotOn range is designed to be easy to use which allows non-professionals to install it – people who may be less aware of safety regulations – so it’s important that the product is as safe as possible. In addition, specialist floor media SpotOn Floor 200 has an R-10 anti-slip rating post print according to DIN 51130 and classed as ‘low slip potential’ according to EN 13036-4. This 200 micron (8 mil) embossed printable white matte monomeric PVC film is therefore ideal for a multitude of high-impact floor graphics applications.

For wall graphics, ReTac® Smooth 75 polymeric PVC film and ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film have also been developed with safety in mind. These products are designed for longer-term applications but are also easy to apply, reposition and remove. Each product has a Class 0 fire rating according to BS746 part 6 & 7 to provide certified graphics for airports, hotels, retail stores, hospitals and more.

It is important to understand that typical graphic media will do little to prevent a building fire from spreading, however certified materials will not contribute to it or spread it through flaming particles. It is essential to carry out research ahead of all display projects based on their intended location and use – with Drytac able to provide advice on its extensive range.

Learn more about the safety features of the Drytac range to ensure your business and its people are protected.

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Grab your customers’ attention with eye-catching floor graphics

Authored by Steve Yarbrough, Product Support Specialist, Drytac

Many of us use our phones while out shopping: researching products, comparing prices, downloading coupons, taking photos of items to think about later, looking at a shopping list or simply checking the time. So, with so many shoppers looking down at their phones, retailers need to find new ways to grab their attention.

Innovations in printing technology, inks and – of course – materials now enable display and advertising potential to reach floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Window displays encourage shoppers into a retail space, inside which POS and shelf-edge displays can boost sales of a specific product or range. But floor graphics can do all this and more: they can be used to guide customers into and around a space and create a fuller experience. This method can also be incredibly effective in city center environments, trade shows, museum exhibitions, theme parks – anywhere you want to grab and maintain the attention of your visitor. They’re also ideal for places like hospitals, transport hubs and educational facilities, where effective way-finding systems keeps foot traffic moving in the right direction.

The safety of floor graphics was, naturally, a concern in the past; installing a tripping hazard is never good business. But materials have been developed to ensure floor graphics are non-slip and securely fixed and, at Drytac, we make media that is easy to install and to remove too, even for the non-professional.

Indeed, we have a full range of display materials designed specifically for safe, user-friendly and effective graphics on a whole variety of common floor coverings. This includes award winning SpotOn Floor 200, a 200 micron (8 mil) embossed printable white matte PVC film designed for short-term, indoor floor graphics with no need for lamination, with a post-print anti-slip rating. It’s also achieved a Class B1 Fire Rating, meaning it can be used in public areas governed by strict fire regulations, and has Drytac’s innovative ‘dot pattern’ adhesive for clean removal – leaving no sticky residue.

Drytac’s FloorTac range is tough enough to withstand medium to heavy foot traffic in indoor environments, offering a great addition to short-term graphics campaigns. This specialty floor graphics media features a removable, pressure-sensitive grey acrylic adhesive making it easy to apply, maintain and remove. Recommended to be paired with Drytac’s Emerytex overlaminate to provide slip-rated floor graphics. FloorTac is available in North America and FloorTac Plus is available in Europe. In North America, Drytac users can also find the multi-purpose Polar Polymeric and Polar Polymeric Clear RC self-adhesive vinyls, great for floor graphics as well as POS displays, window graphics, vehicle wraps and general signage.

 All Drytac’s materials that are suitable for floor graphics are compatible with UV, solvent, eco-solvent and latex ink technologies, making them incredibly versatile products. With floor graphics it’s all about being eye-catching, so spend time experimenting with colors and designs to create something far more enticing than a smartphone.

Take a look around the Drytac range to discover the perfect floor display media for your campaign.

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Create ice-cool arena ads with adhesive media

Authored by Peter Bourgeois, Territory Sales Manager-Western Canada, Drytac

Hockey season is upon us, meaning plenty of action on the rink to come. But there are also lots of opportunities for grabbing spectators’ attention via advertising, in particular rink boards.

There are a variety of different materials, technologies and techniques that can be used for rink board advertising, depending on how long the graphics need to stay in place. Some local rinks have the same advertising boards on display for extended periods, while the NHL is short term, even to the point of changing graphics during a game between periods.

The basics, however, are the same: the material must be easy to apply and should adhere securely to the surface while on display but be easily removed with no residue when the campaign is over. Usually, they are about 28″ to 30″ high, so often rolls with widths of 60″ or 62″ are required so they can be doubled up.

It is not just the NHL that is using rink board advertising, many community and local rinks are using rink board advertising to build revenue. Tournaments and charity games often have sponsors who need in game recognition. These tend to be longer-term projects lasting days, weeks or even entire seasons. This sort of application would often be a removable vinyl that is laminated for extended longevity and abrasion resistance. Drytac offers several vinyl and laminates that are an ideal and affordable solution.

Drytac has produced several products for rink board advertising applications. In North America, Drytac’s Polar Transit is a product that can do double duty. Originally designed for bus advertising, many NHL rink board advertising campaigns use this product. As the name suggests, Polar Transit has great adhesion on smooth, flat surfaces such the sides of vehicles, but is also ideal for sports arenas – thanks to its rugged qualities, it’s used for advertising and signage that can last for up to three years. This matte white polymeric self-adhesive PVC film aids vibrant color printing with UV, latex, solvent and eco-solvent technologies and its removable gray acrylic adhesive makes it easy to apply and to take down when the game or season is over.

In Europe, Drytac’s Polar Premium R 80 can be used for flat or slightly curved surfaces, making it ideal for sports arenas in addition to vehicle livery. This polymeric self-adhesive PVC film has a high opacity and consistent white point that provides an excellent printing surface with UV, latex, solvent and eco-solvent technologies. Its removable grey solvent adhesive makes it easy to apply and to take down when needed. It also has up to a seven-year durability when paired with a matched overlaminate.

Take a look around Drytac’s other Polar products designed for windows, floors, walls, POP displays and more, helping you create ice-cool graphics.

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Open a window of opportunity with high-impact graphics

Authored by Steve Yarbrough, Product Support Specialist at Drytac.

Window graphics can make a big impact for retailers, offices, cafes and plenty of other organisations. The right design, installed correctly using specialised materials, can make a bold and vibrant statement on both external windows and inside a building. Alternatively, window graphics can be used to provide privacy or to change the light within a space. It’s a thriving market for graphics companies and designers.

It’s essential to use the right media for each project. At Drytac, we’ve developed an incredible range of window graphics materials to help you choose the best product for the job, with a few things to consider.

First, it’s crucial to check with the client exactly what they want from their window graphic. Do they need a window graphic that is only visible from the outside, or inside the building as well? This will dictate both which material and type of printer to use. Has the customer requested an optically clear finish?

If so, you don’t want to use a contact clear material. Do the colours need to be totally accurate? Check colour profiling and matching, asking the client to approve any colours before installation – perhaps printing a few colour swatches on the material to examine on site.

Drytac window graphic materials are rated for either indoor or outdoor use to help you choose the right media – it’s important to ensure a good finish and the required lifespan. Similarly, the printer must be compatible with your chosen materials, as certain ink sets may require top coats or laminates to ensure longevity. And never use a permanent adhesive for a temporary graphic: this will cost you later in time and money for removal and clean up of adhesive residue!

We also advise against using a material that will trap heat in a window, as this can cause expansion and shatter the window. These include multi-layered block-out materials, but do your research and ask the manufacturer if you have any questions at all. They may even have a new product, perfect for your project, that you don’t even know about.

Finally, don’t choose sub-par materials and expect top-quality results. The difference will show in clarity, adhesion and overall performance.

Drytac has developed a fantastic range of materials specifically for different window graphics applications to help you achieve a finish to be proud of.

SpotOn is an easy to apply printable film with dot pattern adhesive. install graphics anywhere with easy, bubble-free application.

For an easy installation of short-term graphics, for example, SpotOn is a 4 mil (100 micron)-thick vinyl with a ‘dot pattern’ adhesive which makes it simple to fit, reposition, remove and even reuse. Available in clear matte, clear gloss, white matte and white gloss, and compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, latex and UV inkjet printers, SpotOn is an incredibly versatile media. WindowTac, too, is great for temporary graphics on glass, acrylic and other non-porous surfaces, especially for backlit displays. This 0.9 mil (23 micron), visually clear PET film can also be installed with minimal effort.

ViziPrint Impress Clear is specifically designed for trouble-free, dry installation of window graphics

Or, for longer term window graphics, take a look at ViziPrint Impress Clear, a 5 mil (125 micron) optically clear PET film with proprietary adhesion technology that can withstand both high and low temperatures and moisture. Available for UV, solvent, eco-solvent and latex inks, you can expect great graphics for years, and clean removal up to three years after installation. From the same range is ViziPrint Illuminate, a 4 mil (100 micron) high quality, translucent matte PET film that uses a mechanical bond to adhere to smooth, flat surfaces such as glass. Reverse printable and durable even without over-lamination, its bright white base colour creates brighter, more vivid window images.

Explore the full Drytac range to choose the perfect material for your window graphic project.

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