Magnets and Polypropylene Combine for a Simple, Economical Display

Printing banners for churches

What do you get when you cross magnets with inkjet printable polypropylene? An easy-to-use, eye-catching display system. While that may not be much of a riddle, it’s the answer Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks, Sun Prairie, Wis., found for the banner display shown here at Cornerstone Church in Waterloo, Wis.

Banner hanging system
Here's a closeup of the oak banner holder system designed and built by cabinet and furniture maker Eric Neevel that uses rare earth magnets to hold the banner in place top and bottom.

“Their previous banners were being printed on paper, and they were having issues with them wrinkling and creasing. I thought that LexJet’s TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene would be a better option and started designing and printing them for them,” explains Wredberg. “The banners are 36″ x 108” and the church already had a neat system to hang them. The material prints beautifully and we’ve gotten a lot of work out of it from people who have seen the banners.”

The hanging system is an oak strip on top and bottom with a hinging oak strip that holds the banner in place. Instead of screws or another attachment method, the oak strips have rare earth magnets that stick together and hold the banner in place.

The oak banner holders were designed and made by local cabinet and furniture maker Eric Neevel (920-253-7233).

“Basically what we do when we hang them is a use a ladder to reach the top. Then we’ll take the outside board off, line up the top of the banner, sandwich the banner with the other wood piece, unroll it and sandwich it at the bottom. The magnets are strong enough to hold the whole thing up; in fact, they’re very strong. It couldn’t be easier and the system doesn’t ruin the banner when you take it in and out,” says Wredberg. “And the Water-Resistant Polypropylene is fantastic; it’s economical yet it’s durable and doesn’t wrinkle or crease. It’s a nice, versatile, lightweight material that prints beautifully.”

Printing window displays
AW Artworks also uses LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene as backdrops for its seasonal self-promotional window displays.

Wredberg adds that he also uses Water-Resistant Polypropylene for studio displays. The material is perfect for the window displays Wredberg uses to promote seasonal work for Valentine’s Day, Christmas and other holidays and special occasions. 

Inkjet Printed Wall Mural + Social Media = Immediate Sales

Printing custom wall murals for businesses and homes

Samples sell. It’s that simple. Illustrate what you can do in your studio, lobby or showroom and the application sells itself.

At least that’s what Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks in Sun Prairie, Wis., has found by decorating his studio with various inkjet media applications from photo paper to canvas.

Apply wall murals on textured surfaces
A closeup of the textured surface to which AW Artworks applied Photo Tex for its studio wall mural.

Wredberg’s most recent studio sample was a large 80″ x 72″ wall mural, pictured here, that he applied using Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric from LexJet. Wredberg posted the project on Facebook and almost immediately received four inquiries. Two of those have already led to sales and Wredberg is meeting with the other two next week.

“What I posted on my Facebook page is that this type of wall mural is perfect for doing something as permanent or temporary as you want for a home or business. If you live in a rental, for instance, and you want to do something that you can easily take down, this is an excellent way to do it instead of using wallpaper,” explains Wredberg. “The walls in my shop are heavily textured, yet I was able to apply it, and it looks great. I used the 42-inch wide version and overlapped it by two inches to fill up one wall and show people who walk in that it will go over just about any wall surface.”

How much is that Canvas Instagram in the Window?

Printing Instagram photos from Facebook on canvas

There’s more than one way to maximize social media and AW Artworks in Sun Prairie, Wis., is maximizing as much social media as possible to make the virtual into reality. The last time we left AW Artworks, owner Andy Wredberg has just finished remodeling the studio space, converting it into a gallery and production area.

Printing window displays
Cross-promotion: AW Artworks features its new Instagram on canvas product in its front window. The banner was printed on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene.

AW Artworks is an open concept, not only in the way the studio is set up to include clients in the entire process while showcasing the possibilities of print all over the walls, but in its approach to the local market in Sun Prairie.

“The nice thing about us having a storefront here in Sun Prairie is that there all kinds of places you can get something printed online, but it may not turn out the way you want and then you have the hassle of dealing with different people at the company over email or the phone,” says Wredberg. “If you come here, it’s just me. I’m the guy who takes your email, gets the file ready, prints it, cuts the frame and assembles everything. From start to finish, I’m hands-on in the process. We’re trying to bridge that gap between a fine art gallery and the big box copy-and-print place. We can do signs, banners and other commercial prints, yet I have a background in graphic design and I’ve worked extensively in color management, so we can also offer color-critical work as well. You’re getting the quality you want, and you can talk to someone face to face.”

Therein lies the great paradox of the Internet and the latest social media craze. It’s super-simple to order products online or share each and everything about your life with your “friends” (“The dog is staring at me… I’m sitting in the waiting room… I just ate at Taco Bell…” Like!), but it often lacks real personal connection.

AW Artworks set out to make the impersonal more personal, offering Instagram prints on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas and Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, promoting the prints on the company Facebook page and on its street-facing window. The promotion has worked, so much so that the local NBC affiliate sent a camera crew over to find out more.

Printing Instagram photos on canvas“We showed them the whole process and they thought it was amazing to see it from start to finish. They were here for awhile, which gave us an opportunity to talk about all the things we do here beyond the Instagram prints,” says Wredberg.

The purpose of leveraging social media was not to make more “friends,” but to bridge the gap, as Wredberg puts it, and bring people into the studio to pick up something tangible they can hang on their wall.

“It’s not really an original idea, but if you Google ‘Instagram on canvas’ you come up with just a few sites as opposed to ‘photos on canvas,’ which brings up a lot more results. I think Instagram’s up to 38 million users now and Facebook bought them for a billion dollars. It’s further integration that we can capitalize on, garner more attention and bring people in who wouldn’t necessarily stop in otherwise,” says Wredberg.

Though the Instagram program is only a week or so old, Wredberg says they’ve already sold a few dozen prints, not to mention the extra television exposure. Though the studio has been fully remodeled, the bank building constructed in 1899 where AW Artworks resides was just recently restored, which helps the studio’s visibility.

Printing photo galleriesAnother personal touch AW Artworks recently added was a gallery of images from Wredberg’s mission trip to South Africa. Printed on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, the images are a conversation piece as well as a way to support Cape Town Missions International, which works with churches and schools in South Africa and provides shoes for people who don’t have them.

“When I came back from the trip it was time to switch out some things in the gallery and I thought it would be a good way to give people a glimpse of everything we did while we were there. People are interested in the photos and it gives us a chance to talk about the trip and what these people are going through and need,” adds Wredberg.