When it comes to tiling large graphics for wallcoverings, starting with a well-designed graphic that’s prepped off-site is one of the best ways to make sure your installation is a success. Here are three great tips on how to tile your graphic and prep for installation.
1. Site Inspection
Test Surface: Start with a site inspection to test the wall to make sure your media is compatible because most zero or low VOC paints have additives that prevent adhesive from sticking to it.
Take Measurements & Photos: Once you’re sure it sticks, take measures so that your graphic designer has accurate dimensions of the wall and so they can allow at least a half-an-inch to a 1-inch bleed all around the graphic.
Also take lots of photos of the wall that is going to be used. Make sure you capture any potential obstacles, like power outlets and light fixtures that need to be avoided.
2. Tiling & Mock-up
Create Overlapping Tiles: Column tiling is best for large wall graphics. This means the overlaps will be on the left and right edges of the print. The size material you’re printing on determines the number of tiles to be installed. Whether you’re using cast or calendered film, a 1/2-inch to 1-inch overlap is best.
Using RIP software for tiling makes the printing process easier by ensuring your overlaps will be correct, plus there’s no need for a separate file per tile as there is when you use Photoshop or Illustrator. However, if you don’t have RIP software, check out our video on tiling graphics in Photoshop, included below.
Print & Label Mock-up: Once your design and file setup is complete, print a downscaled mock-up of the graphic on a piece of paper. Label the tiling sequence and include the actual dimensions and distance between tiles.
3. Label & Roll
Color Check & Trim: After your prints are dry and ready, separate them on a large table and cut the white, unprinted edges off of each tile. If you leave an inch of white edge above the top of each print, you will have the hard edge of the print to align with.
Now, carefully align the overlaps of two adjacent tiles and check them for color consistency and that they overlap correctly. Repeat this on all the panels.
Label Panels & Roll-up in Order: Your last step is to roll up each print on a core in reverse order and then label each tile to match the mock-up print, as shown above. Be sure to use a ball-point pen instead of a marker so the ink doesn’t smear on your prints. Your graphic is now ready for the job site.
Congratulations! You’ve just helped your installer avoid frustration and potential costly mistakes.
Video: Tiling Graphics in Photoshop: