When it comes to art, most people only focus on the images, but there is more to it than just the images created by the artist. An art piece only becomes a masterpiece after it is displayed and shared with the audience. The printing and mounting materials used thus plays an important artistic role – that of improving the artistic expression of an artist.
On top of that, the material helps to preserve the art piece, which, in turn, improves the value of an artist’s work. As a result, it is important to carefully consider the materials you are going to use when looking to display your work.
What to Look for in Art Printing and Mounting Materials?
Basically, a good art printing and mounting material is one that will produce high-quality prints that are visually pleasing to the audience, and at the same time, guarantee the longevity of the prints. When choosing a material for art printing, there are several factors that can determine if a certain printing material is good enough to deliver on the results you want. These factors include:
1. The type of material
When choosing working with the SAS Graphics team who print our self adhesive film prints and other mounting materials, one of the most important things they advise us to look at is the quality of the print and indeed, the quality of the materials used. This ranges from paper to fabric (cotton and linen), wood cellulose, plastic, and even metal. The type of material you choose should help to enhance your artwork while protecting it from damage to guarantee its longevity.
2. The whiteness and brightness of the material
The contrast of colors between the printing material and the images is what helps to create a visually captivating art piece that will capture the attention of the audience. As a result, most printing and mounting materials are white in color and bright (some bleached and others reflective) so as to create a good contrast. The whiter and brighter the paper, the more the greater the contrast, and consequently, the richer the color range of the print.
3. The weight of the material
A good art printing material should be on the heavier side to help make the print rigid, thus preventing warping and curling. Heavier materials are also easier to handle when doing large format printing. On top of that, a heavier material will be less prone to damage during the printing and mounting process, which will, in turn, ensure the durability of the art piece.
4. The coating technology used
A printing material is comprised of two layers – the base layer and the coating. The coating affects the ink penetration and distribution of the printer, which consequently affects the final appearance of the print.
5. The material’s finish
The finish, or the smoothness, is another important factor to consider when choosing an art printing material. The smoother the material is, the sharper and more captivating the images will appear. Finishes used for art printing include glossy, semi-gloss, and matte.
My recommended printing and mounting materials for art
Now that you know what to look for in an art printing material, you can be able to choose a good material that will improve your artistic sense. However, with so many materials to choose from, choosing the best one can still be a daunting issue. To help ease the confusion, below is a recommended list of the best materials for printing and mounting art (more tips we recommend are at Guide to print materials)
1. Self-adhesive vinyl
Self-adhesive vinyl is one of the best materials for mounting large format prints. The vinyl can be made from a wide range of materials, and thus you can be sure to find one that matches the printing technology you are using, as well as the type of art project you want to exhibit. A self-adhesive vinyl makes a great material for mounting art as it can stick onto anything, especially the walls. This makes it easy to install in places such as museums, galleries, offices, shop windows, and so on.
Wallpapers, or wallcoverings, are another popular printing material for mounting art and photography. They are available in a range of sizes, and thus you can be sure to find one that meets the needs of your art project. Wallpapers are heavy, and they are usually scratch-resistant, which helps to increase the durability of the art piece. Wallpaper art printing) is used when the art is being displayed on walls – large and small.
3. Acrylic glass
Acrylic glass is an art printing material that is becoming increasingly popular, especially when it comes to photography printing. The material is crystal clear and very reflective, which helps to create a greater color vibrancy. The material is very durable, offering 100% moisture protection and up to 98% UV protection to the print. It is also shatter-resistant, which helps to guarantee the longevity of the art piece.
4. Foam boards and gator boards
Foam boards and gator boards are common printing and mounting materials for art pieces. They are made using polystyrene foam (with gatorboard containing a wood-fiber veneer on the outer layer for added durability). They are lightweight, which allows for easier mounting. However, they are also durable enough to protect the print from damage due to warping, and from environmental elements such as rain, wind, dust, humidity, etc.
Canvas is another popular art printing and mounting material that has been around for a long time. Canvas materials are usually made of cotton or linen. They are popular for art projects looking to display a classic feel, which makes them perfect for landscape photography, portraits, and still photography. Canvases are also popularly used for oil painting due to the nature of the material.
Aluminum is another material that is becoming increasingly popular for art printing and mounting, and it is mostly used in contemporary art scenes. The benefit of using aluminum is that it offers a great contrast between the material and the images, which makes the prints appear more vibrant. There are also lots of finishing options when it comes to aluminum, for example, glossy or a matte finish, which helps to make the art piece appear sleeker and more vibrant than other materials.
7. Max metal
Max metal offers similar benefits to aluminum printing when it comes to the appearance of the print. However, max metal is heavier, stronger, and more scratch resistant, which offers a higher level of protection to the art piece. On the downside, the material is more expensive and is thus popular with high-end art displays.
8. Sintra PVC boards
Sintra PVC boards (read more at https://www.photocanvasland.com/fine-art-print-on-sintrapvc.aspx) are another material that can be used for art printing and mounting. The boards are made from polyvinyl chloride, which is lightweight (for easier handling during printing and mounting) yet durable. They are available in a wide range of size, shapes, and color, and thus you can be sure to find one that can suit the needs of your art project. The boards are resistant to scratches, denting, and environmental and chemical elements, which makes them ideal for fine art printing.
The printing and mounting materials you choose for your art will influence how your audience views your work. It will also affect the durability of your work, and consequently, its value. Therefore, if you are working on an art project, it is important that you choose good materials that will complement your artistic expression.