Our All-time Top Wallcovering Prep, Print & Installation Tips

Any time you’re covering a wall floor-to-ceiling it’s a big job. But with some insider tips and the right products for the job, you can break it down into a manageable task. Here are some of our all-time, most helpful tricks and tips for seamless, professional wallcovering printing and installation:

Do Your Pre-Work: Before you can even think about hitting “go” on your printer, be sure you’ve got your site under control. These means doing a site visit ahead of time, testing the wall surface and taking photos and wall measurements (here’s a handy app, Photo Measures, that makes that job easier). Once that’s under control, you can begin creating tiles that you’ll print. Check out the video on this blog for more pre-printing tips and how to set up your tile files.

Know When to Go Short-Term: This isn’t your grandma’s wall paper, and chances are your clients won’t be planning to leave it on the wall for the next 30 years. There are so many options on the market today for short- to long-term wall murals for a multitude of applications. For a low-cost, temporary solution that can be cleanly removed, there’s no better option than LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric. It’s available for aqueous– and solvent-compatible technologies. Check out this video to learn how we covered a 26-foot wall for less than $2 per square foot.

Understand the Big Picture: If you’re using photography for a customized wallcovering, the photo itself needs to be technically correct to work when it’s printed in a larger-than-life size. We got all the insider tips on photographing for wide-format printing from pro photographer, Billy Elkins. Check out this airport wall mural installation project that he created images for … and all the background on how he made it come out just right.

HP PVC-free Wall PaperMeet Your Client’s Environmental Needs: If you’ve been asked to cover a wall in a sensitive environment like a school or a healthcare facility, the best option for the job is Type II compliant HP PVC-free Durable Wall Paper in Smooth or Suede. This line of wallcovering is engineered to be used with HP latex inks and don’t require top coats to maintain Type II compliance. Unlike some solvent options, this latex-compatible option doesn’t put off odors or fumes that must be degassed before installation. It also meets FSC- and UL GREENGUARD GOLD standards, so it helps designers achieve LEED certification. And because it’s pre-pasted with adhesive, it goes up easily with little more than a water bottle and a sponge. Check out this video to learn how.

Create a Beautiful Finish: Just because it’s made from a digital print and maybe it won’t be installed for decades doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Our line of customizable wallcoverings, LexJet Premium WallPro™ comes in a variety of elegant finishes to create one-of-a-kind, eye-catching walls. The Premium WallPro line includes a variety of finishes, such as smooth, gold or silver metallic, mylar and linen textures that work beautifully in any residential or commercial space with contemporary or traditional décor.

If you’re looking for more tips on creating unique wallcoverings for your customers, give one of our LexJet pros a call at 800-453-9538.

Stand Out in the Décor Printing Field

These days, it seems like every wide-format print shop is trying to elbow into the décor market. That shouldn’t discourage you from finding your niche in this ever-expanding segment. We’ve compiled four key tips to help you find your place … and then stand out from the crowd.

State your case. Be sure the world knows that you’re offering new services. You can do that with a new tagline after your business name on your printed materials, business cards and website. Don’t forget to update your bio on social media accounts to include your offerings, too. Check out Full Color’s Twitter bio, for instance. You never know where potential customers will look to discover more information about your business before they ever pick up the phone or stop by.

Show off your work. In the décor market, nothing sells printing services better than printed samples. If you’ve got room in your shop, cover a wall with the new customizable wallcovering you’re offering. If you don’t have a free wall, consider stretching printed wallcovering over stretcher bars (like GOframe), to provide a nice-looking work sample. When working on a project for a client, pull out your phone and take before and after photos for your portfolio. If your client is willing, be sure to post them on social media with all the appropriate hashtags (#beforeandafter #decorprinting #interiordesign, etc.). If you’re not into posting your projects, give us a call at 941-256-7915, and we’ll happily feature you on the LexJet blog!

Get specialized. You can truly set yourself apart by offering something unusual in the market. LexJet has long-been known as a provider of specialty products, and we can help fine tune your services. We’ve seen some genius ideas from our customers. Check out our blog on Bumblejax, featuring the face-mounted photo displays utilizing LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic PaperCrystalClear Permanent Adhesive and various widths of acrylic. We were also inspired by the bar stools and bar tops that Jamie Birch crafted using LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric and LexJet Crystal Low Tack. And who could forget Michael Macone’s lamp shades printed on LexJet Sunset Textured Fine Art Paper 310g? If you’re creative with what you can do with print, you can develop a one-of-a-kind business.

Build demand. Sometimes being able to sell a new idea is simply letting people know it can be done. Consider visiting business networking groups or interior design associations to let them know what you can do. Bring samples and fresh ideas. Be willing to write for their blogs or give a mini demonstration.

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Good, Better, Best: High-Volume Canvas

For print service providers expanding their operations into high-volume wall décor printing, we offer a wide variety of canvas options for any price point. Today, we’ve gathered three latex/solvent options for our latest installment of Good, Better, Best.

When choosing a canvas for large runs, look for media that delivers consistency not only in color reproduction, but in how it performs when stretched and folded for gallery wraps. These three options, Sunset Production Satin Canvas SUV, priced at $0.45/sq ft; Fredrix Tempo 575SMJ Semi-Matte Canvas, priced at $0.75/sq ft; and Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV, priced at $0.99/sq ft, will get the job done quickly. Because they’re built for latex and solvent ink technology, they don’t require a protective layer of coating, so you can print, wrap and deliver all in the same day.

GOOD: Sunset Production Satin Canvas SUV. For a cost-effective option that looks and feels like a higher-end canvases, this 100% polyester material is ideal for high-volume runs that still deliver outstanding print production. With a 2-over-1 poly-cotton weave and no optical brighteners, this U.S.-made canvas became a fast favorite among customers as soon as it hit the market, giving them a high-performing option for price-competitive jobs. “Customers come in and ask for museum quality final product, and this canvas gets pretty close,” says Aaron Friedman, owner and CEO of Signarama in Santa Rosa, Calif. “Plus, it’s half the cost of an archival canvas.”

BETTER: Fredrix Tempo 575SMJ Semi-Matte Canvas. This poly-cotton blend is a lightweight option with a 1-over-1 weave that also performs consistently for high-volume jobs. Because it is topped with a thick coating layer, it has more bulk and texture, but keeps the cost point low. The semi-matte finish is optimal for photo reproduction, making Tempo 575 a great choice for modern-looking décor applications.

BEST: Sunset by Fredrix Satin Canvas SUV. For large runs, printers can agree that print consistency is key. That’s what you get with this bright-white poly-cotton blend that delivers truer colors on a heavily textured base. The bright-white canvas with 2-over-1 weave and a pH-neutral base stretches and finishes easily.

“The consistency that comes out of the box never changes with this canvas. 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,” says Rachael Zaudke Wilkins of A-R-T & Associates in Atlanta. “It holds a really great line and has fantastic print quality. I’ve tried other products, but this really met our price point for our clients.”

 

Get the Most from Your Latex Printer

If you’re considering working with HP Latex print technology — or if you’ve purchased a latex printer that you’d like to get more use out of — you’ve clicked on the right blog. Let’s take a look at how HP Latex technology can help you improve production times, save money on consumables and offer more products to your customers.

Save Money: While your initial investment on equipment may be higher than other other print technologies, the cost of consumables such as ink and media are quite a bit lower. In fact, latex ink costs are nearly half the price of aqueous inks. Media, such as banner material, can cost 10-30% less than aqueous versions, depending on the material. Those overall, long-term savings are significant.

Improve Workflow: When an HP Latex printer is installed in your facility, a tech will spend time with your team providing operation instruction, so the learning curve is quick and easy. Once in production, since latex inks don’t need to be coated, you’ll save the time and expense that come into play with coating canvas, for instance. With latex, there’s no need to add a protective coating, so just select a roll of gloss canvas, print, stretch and go — all within the same day! Plus, the durable latex inks are fade- and scratch-resistant and can last up to five years without a protective coating or laminate.

Offer More Solutions: This may be the biggest opportunity for print service providers. With latex, you can expand your offerings into all the major digital print market segments, including fine art and photo reproduction, canvas wraps, indoor and outdoor signage, trade show graphics, adhesive vinyls for a multitude of applications, and the exploding specialty décor market. More and more materials are currently being manufactured for latex production, including fabrics and wallcoverings.

The Latex Difference: When using HP Latex-certified materials, you are ensured that not only will you get accurate, consistent results, but in many cases you’ll be able to offer your customers products that have been verified for environmental and human health safety, which you cannot achieve with solvent technology, for instance. Often, hospitals, hotels, schools and corporations look for these verifications and certificates to help them achieve LEED certification for their buildings. You can make a big difference in helping them reach this goal!

Last year, HP introduced its Latex Print & Cut bundle, pairing latex printers and top-of-the-line cutters. Check out the video below to learn about the applications you can produce, like stickers, decals or vehicle graphics, and how they stack up to the competition.

To discover all the HP Latex printer options, please visit LexJet.com and call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 today.

Art Works! Office Space Is a Big Opportunity for Printable Canvas

More corporations are realizing that the benefits of art in the workplace go beyond aesthetics. Corporate art for office walls can display a company’s culture and brand values. Since innovation and creativity does not easily spring from behind the gray fabric walls of an office cubicle, Corporate America is creating open, collaborative work space filled with art and inspiration.

Studies have found that art in the workplace can boost productivity, reduce stress and enhance communication. A survey conducted by the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors showed that 78% of respondents thought that art in the workplace reduced stress, 67% agreed it increased creativity and productivity and 67% thought it enhanced employee morale. Companies are following the example of Google and Deutsch Bank and canvasing their walls with stimulating, creative art work.

Canvas Triptych Print by Broadstreet Fine Art“The workplace art collection is often an underutilized, sometimes overlooked, business asset,” said Judith A. Jedlicka, President, BCA. “The results of this survey point to the fact that art in the work environment fosters creativity, boosts employee morale and sparks dialogues – all of which are essential to a company’s success.”

Look to commercial art services, corporations, retail and hospitality fields for opportunities in canvas print reproduction. Fredrix Canvas, available exclusively in the U.S. through LexJet, offers superior printable canvas that has proudly hung on the walls of corporations for decades.

Canvas media for office spaces:

Latex & Solvent: Fredrix 901SGSJ Artisan Semi-Gloss Canvas is a heavier canvas with a toothier texture that gives a more authentic look for fine art reproductions. Because it has a nice semi-gloss sheen and is compatible with latex, solvent and UV curable inks, this canvas doesn’t need a coating, saving on finishing time. It delivers a uniform, consistent look, especially when paired with the sheen of latex inks. Try Fredrix 901SJ Select Matte Canvas for artists who prefer a more matte finish, or Fredrix 901 GSJ Encore Gloss Canvas for photographic prints that pop with a more glossy finish.

Aqueous: Deliver high-end photography prints on Fredrix 777VWR Vivid Matte Canvas, with a smooth finish of this canvas and the same quality as Fredrix’s other options. For aqueous printers reproducing artwork, Fredrix 901VWR Crystal Matte Canvas will provide a more heavily textured base that works great for authentic-looking artistic prints.

Fredrix canvas is made in the USA, with 150 years of experience and offers a range of canvases for printing. Check out our line of Fredrix products at LexJet.com.

Do You Have a Winning Lineup for Outdoor Graphics?

Now more than any other time of year, outdoor signage and graphics are front and center and in demand. We hold outdoor graphics to higher expectations in terms of durability and longevity, but also in photo and color reproduction and overall strength and visual appeal. We gathered some of our customers’ favorite outdoor products for a variety of applications. Check out this list to find your tried-and-true choices, as well as some new products that you’ve yet to discover:

Although it’s not technically specified for outdoor use, our customers have found that LexJet TOUGHcoat ThriftyBanner can take the heat … and the rain. Photographer Carl Caylor reproduced football player images, shown above, and displayed them on the field in frames attached with BannerUps for an entire football season. “We had a few games with really nasty weather, and they really held up great,” he says. “The ThriftyBanner got wet, but after the game we hung them up to dry, and everything was fine. It was amazing for a product that’s not really rated for outdoor longevity.”

LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl SUV is a tried-and-true outdoor self-adhesive option. It can be used to cover up eyesores, like Spectra Imaging achieved quite stylishly by covering a generator and finishing it with a film laminate for extra outdoor protection, pictured here. Another self-adhesive favorite is LexJet TOUGHcoat AquaVinyl PSA, a go-to choice for durable outdoor signs, like those used for election season yard signs when paired with Coroplast or foam boards. And don’t forget that LexJet now carries a full line of Avery Dennison films and laminates made specifically for long-term outdoor use for vehicles, transit and marine graphics, as well as floors, windows and walls.

Need a lasting window option? We’ve got dozens of window graphics choices, but if it’s a retail space and you want to see through the graphic, a favorite option is LexJet Simple Perforated Window Vinyl (70/30). Because 70% of the surface area is printable, you get great graphic reproduction and color punch with the added benefit of not obstructing the visibility through the window. Compatible with solvent, eco-solvent, UV-curable and latex inks, it’s designed to mount on the exterior of the window and will cleanly remove from the glass within the first year of installation.

Try LexJet Production Display Film SUV for banner stands. If you’ve got a customer request for banner stands that’ll be used outdoors, this is an ideal option for you. Our Production Display Films were a huge success when they launched, and it’s not hard to see why — this true lay-flat option won’t curl on the sides the way some material will, especially when they’ve been displayed for some time. The solvent option means you don’t have to apply a laminate top coat, and it’s super versatile. LexJet Production Display Film SUV is ideal for trade shows when you don’t need it to stand up to the outdoor elements.

If you’ve got dye-sublimation capabilities in your facility, a high-end, durable solution is ChromaLuxe EXT, made specifically to be used outdoors and guaranteed to last up to and beyond three years. These metal panels create stunning, high-end signage or décor with the vivid color reproduction we expect from dye-sub transfers. Stay tuned to our blog for more information and real-life examples featuring ChromaLuxe EXT!