Finish Soft Signage Fabrics Like the Pros

With the heavy retail season upon us, you’re likely getting more requests for fabric banners and displays these days. Retail outlets often prefer the elegant, lightweight drape that fabric signage offers, as opposed to vinyl, for instance, for banners, hanging signage, table skirts and more.

However, when it comes to fabric signage, finishing needs can vary from fabric to fabric, since some cut cleanly and others may fray. Watch the video above to learn how to test your fabric, and which ones can simply be trimmed with a knife versus those that need a tool such as a heating knife to keep the weave from unraveling.

We offer a wide range of printable fabrics for a variety of print technologies:

For Aqueous

For Latex

For Solvent

A popular finishing option for printed fabric signage is pole pockets. Watch the video below for a fast, easy and professional result:

Prints That Win: The Beauty of Innocence

For photographic craftsman Kimberly Smith of Muskogee, Okla., a hobby that started as a way to document the growth of her family through scrapbooking turned into a full-blown career. “I really was looking for a better camera to take better pictures of my kids. It turns out, not only did I find a better camera, I also found my passion,” she says.

Once Smith decided to pursue photography, she began looking for classes or other educational opportunities. A friend of hers suggested she reach out to Shannon Ledford of Broken Arrow, so that’s just what she did. “When I showed her my work, she said she could tell that I had a good eye,” Smith says. “She was so encouraging to me and my craft.” The two women bonded over photography and became fast friends, with Ledford inviting her to conventions, to her studio and into the lab for experience and training.

Nowadays, Smith has embodied the role of mentor to up-and-coming local photographers, saying, “it’s important to me to be able to inspire and encourage others, even if it’s as simple as going to their social media posts and commenting on the talent that I see.”

Attending conventions is still part of Smith’s routine, along with classes and competitions – affectionately known as the three C’s – making her a perpetual student of the art. Of competitions, like the Sunset Print Awards, Smith says, “they push me to do better. With every competition, I improve and they make me stronger.” She stresses that learning what to do or not to do and finding new ways to be creative are some of the most important lessons to be garnered from entering competitions.

During a recent Southwest PPA show, Smith had a few entries and was excited to see how the judges would rate her various prints. She was delighted to find out that her first image to be judged – “The Beauty of Innocence” – received a score of 100.

Thinking back on that particular portrait session, Smith notes, “a serene 1-year old is not necessarily something you would expect to have at the end of a photo shoot, but at that moment, the little girl just had a look of curiosity and a calmness about her. I could see the artistry in the shot and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture the image.” With the soft light coming through the window and the white jumper, she decided the image would be even more striking as a black and white.

Once the editing was complete, Smith worked with Red River Digital, an Oklahoma City based company that provides printing services for local artists, to ensure the print was competition-ready. She knew she wanted to use a thick art paper so that she could distress the edges of the print, adding a classic feel to the modern print. She decided on Sunset Hot Press Rag 310g, which gave her just the look she had envisioned for her winning entry.

Smith understands that her drive to compete, her desire to learn and willingness to share her knowledge contributes to her success. “In the end,” she says, “our memories and photographs are all we have. Enjoy life and capture it.”

Latex-printable Fabric to the Rescue as Fundraiser Photo Backdrop

Every year, hundreds of guests attend one of the largest and most glamorous events in Sarasota, Fla., the Wine, Women & Shoes luncheon and fashion show. Earlier this year, organizers reached out to us for assistance with its photography area backdrop.

They needed a lightweight fabric that could hang elegantly without wrinkles or creases across a 19-foot area. Another challenge: It needed to be printed with deep black inks that really offset three logos at the top.

While it was the type of project that could have been handled with dye-sublimation technology, the new EnduraFab™ Stretch fabric, available exclusively at LexJet, is a latex-compatible option that saved money and production time for this fundraising event. We turned to the print professionals at Britten Studios in Traverse City, Mich.,  experts in fabric and decor printing, to get the job done.

“We simply could not have pulled off such a large, dramatic set without your assistance. It was easy to install and looking incredible on set,” says Minta Getzen, event coordinator and professional fundraising consultant for Forty Carrots Family Center, the beneficiary for the Wine, Women & Shoes event, which has raised $2.9 million since it began 12 years ago.

“The fabric was a brilliant alternative to vinyl, having a set built, or using foam board,” Getzen says. “It did not wrinkle and was very lightweight to hang. We installed it on pipe and drape rods and had a black drape behind it to block the light from shining through. It was fast and easy!”

Throughout the event, hundreds of photos were taken against the backdrop, which was complemented by a whimsical gold-and-black theme sponsored by Veuve Clicquot.

A Brave New World for SunTrust Park

When the Atlanta Braves moved into their new home, SunTrust Park, this April, they had a lot of blank walls to fill in offices and throughout the stadium. They turned to the corporate design experts at A-R-T & Associates in Atlanta to produce a one-of-a-kind series of canvas prints.

The artwork, supplied from the Braves’ archives, included a variety of baseball and ball-field imagery, both current and historical, with everything from wide-lens captures of an entire crowd to extreme close-ups of equipment, like mitts and grass.

“Some of my favorite pieces were old tickets, when tickets were cool and interesting little works of art,” says Rachael Zaudke Wilkins, who runs the print operation at A-R-T. “We enlarged some of them to 24-by-72-inch prints.”

For the massive print job, Wilkins turned to LexJet Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV, a latex-compatible option, which produces high-end results that don’t require lamination, and offered at a cost-effective price point.

“The consistency that comes out of the box never changes with this canvas,” Wilkins says. “Plus, it’s very durable while stretching, which is a very big problem we’ve run into with other products, where the ink will rub or crack on the creases.”

Wilkins has been such a fan of the canvas that she says she’s ordered 50 to 60 rolls. “It holds a really great line and has fantastic print quality,” she says. “I’ve tried other products, but this really met our price point for our clients.”

The prints, which went as large as 48-by-72-inches, were wrapped with 2-inch stretcher bars and inserted into black reveal frames that A-R-T manufactures in-house. “It gives it a nice finished edge with a quarter-inch float around the image,” Wilkins says.

If you can’t get to SunTrust Park, check out A-R-T’s canvas prints in the gallery below.

Prints That Win: Prepare There’s Trouble

Award-winning master photographer Terry Blain was not always telling her story from behind the camera. She spent the past two decades traveling all over the country looking for interesting people to capture; however, in her early days as a model, she was the one who was captured on film. One day, after a particularly uninspired photo shoot, she realized that she would have set up the shots differently, had she been the one taking the pictures.

Utilizing her experiences on both sides of the camera, she has a self-awareness that helps her envision the best way to optimize the lighting, the setting and the model to strike the right tone and properly tell her story. “Putting the models at ease and making them comfortable is the best way for me to get the most flattering shot,” Blain says. “Often, I want to accentuate and flatter the highlights of the scene while downplaying the low-lights. I’m lucky enough to have experiences on both sides of the lens to help me clearly communicate this to my clients.”

Pre-Order Now: ChromaLuxe EXT Panels for Outdoor Art & Signage

Available to ship mid-November, ChromaLuxe EXT gloss white metal print panels will allow you to produce the lasting, vibrant colors you expect from ChromaLuxe panels with UV resistance that can stand up to outdoor elements for at least three years.

Dye-sublimation printers turn to ChromaLuxe metal panels to create high-definition photos and art reproductions that are fused into the coating, which provides permanent image protection. These versatile panels are used to create stunning wall art, museum displays, tabletops, signage and more.

Now, the masterminds at ChromaLuxe are bringing all those options outside with the new ChromaLuxe EXT Extended Life Metal Prints. A new UV-resistant gloss finish provides the same dynamic image quality, and also stands up to weather; plus it’s easy to clean and resistant to graffiti, scratches and chemicals.

The new ChromaLuxe EXT aluminum has been thoroughly tested to withstand wind and impact, making it ideal for outdoor artwork, photography, signage and all types of displays. While photo reproduction is a favorite application, ChromaLuxe can also be used for branded logo work, directional and informational signage, menu boards, cabinetry, wallcovering and more.

The new panels are available in 11 standard sizes and full 49-by-97-inch sheets. For more details, download this flyer, and call a LexJet representative at 800-453-9538 to discover more ways to use the all new ChromaLuxe EXT outdoor metal panels.