Hockey rules in Wisconsin, especially this time of year as summer fades to fall and winter. As a result, ice is being applied to rinks all over the state. And what fun is a plain white surface when you can apply graphics to it?
The challenge for Creative Screen Print in West Salem, Wis., was finding a material and method for applying graphics to an ice rink used by a local youth league and high school. Company president Rich Berghefer Googled away using the term “in-ice graphics” and various permutations of those terms.
While Berghefer found companies that supplied various types of materials, they weren’t the type you can print yourself. Berghefer struck pay dirt (or ice, if you prefer) when he found a story about a similar project at the LexJet Blog.
“When you search for in-ice graphics it can be kind of hard to find anything. There was a company that came up quite often in our Web searches that has more of a rubberized mat material for ice rink graphics, but we were looking for something we could print ourselves,” says Berghefer. “We did some more research, called LexJet and found this flag material we saw on the blog.”
The flag material in question is 3P Flag Tex. As noted in the previous blog post, the material is porous enough to allow the water that turns into ice to soak in and bond to it, providing a smooth skating surface over the graphics.
Applied this past weekend, Berghefer explains the basic process: “Once the rink is painted white, you lay down the graphics where you want, take a warm bucket of water, wet down the decal generously, squeegee down any bubbles or water pockets and keep applying more water over the top to coat it with ice.” Berhefer adds that the graphics are covered by about a 3/4″ layer of ice.
Berghefer reports that the graphics – which were applied at center ice and the neutral zones – look great, but the proof will be in the playing as the puck hits the ice for the first time this week.
“We burned through the whole roll, and I wish I had a little more so we could have made the center logo bigger. The logos look good and everyone seems to like it; it’s a great alternative to painting the ice or any other method.”