The term “bling” is normally associated with clothing and jewelry. As Serena Williams puts it, “It’s a lot of bling to play with. You got to have the bling.”
Be that as it may, Jeff Behlmann, owner of Behlmann Digital, Florissant, Mo., has found a use for bling in a different context. Behlmann’s bling is Bling, an inkjet printable wallcovering medium by dreamScape from LexJet.
Bling has metallic particles embedded in the base film that gives the wallcovering an unmistakable shine. Behlmann has used Bling for wall mural projects ranging from casinos to photography, each designed to catch people’s eyes and draw attention to the message and imaging.
“We printed about 5,000 square feet of wall murals on Bling for a casino. They wanted metallic ink, but we used Bling as an alternative solution. We printed just enough white ink with our UV-curable flatbed so it would still shine through,” explains Behlmann. “It was a repeating pattern and it turned out really slick. When we showed them the proofs they liked it a lot, especially when the light hit it.”
Behlmann adds that they typically print Bling on a Roland low-solvent inkjet printer; the light coating of white ink just worked best for the casino project based on the effect they were after.
Since Behlmann Digital started working with Bling, they’ve experimented with different colors and patterns, laminates and applications. Though lamination is not required, Behlmann says it’s fairly typically for the material to be manhandled during installation, so they use a gloss laminate in those cases. As opposed to a matte laminate, a gloss laminate will retain Bling’s qualities.
“You can print any type of image on it, but it seems you need areas where the color’s knocked out to get the Bling effect. There was a really cool underwater shot of a turtle swimming in a colorful reef. We thought it would look really sharp, but it didn’t because there were too many dark colors,” says Behlmann.
Behlmann has also experimented with Bling for gallery wraps. Though heavier and thicker than a typical canvas used for gallery wraps, Behlmann reports that it works well, especially when stretched on LexJet Sunset Stretcher Bars.
“We created samples in-house to show what the Bling looks like stretched on frames. The Sunset Stretcher Bars are such a neat system and are very easy to use. They’re beveled so that you don’t see the outline of the wood. I’ve seen other frames that are just a flat piece of board someone might make in their garage so you see that inside edge an inch or so in,” says Behlmann.