Good Will Printing, Laminating and Recycling

Recycling inkjet media and laminates

Excess scraps of media and laminate films generally end up in messy piles destined for the trash. Some people go the extra mile and recycle their printing leftovers. David Wiggins, photographer and owner of Wiggins Photography in Ridgeland, Miss., found a way to take recycling to another level.

Wiggins uses LexJet Performance Textured Polypropylene Laminate (5 Mil) to protect his prints. “We use the product based on Michael Clementi’s [Wiggin’s customer specialist at LexJet] recommendation that it will give our in-house prints the maximum protection and longevity.” This particular laminate includes a clear plastic release liner that is removed upon application and subsequently thrown away.

“I was interested in recycling, and I noticed the clear plastic liner was similar to what is found in gift baskets.” says Wiggins. “I took some samples to a local flower shop and they were thrilled to use it.”

Wiggins recently donated about 1,000 feet of release liner. “We’re still working on a way to use the liners in our packaging. It’s just a little thick, but perfect for flowers,” Wiggins adds. “We have a great history with the florist, so she was very receptive to the idea. The 24-inch liner is perfect for flowers and small gift baskets.”

Wiggins will continue to donate his release liners to the flower shop. “Any time we can recycle a product we feel good about it. We just hope that once the individuals receive their flowers or basket, they will take the next step and continue the process either through re-use or placing it in the recycle bin.” says Wiggins.

Wiggins and his wife have been satisfied customers of LexJet and Michael Clementi’s since 2004 and 2006, respectively. “Michael has been great; he’s very helpful. LexJet has been our source for paper and ink – and we’re very pleased with product ordering and shipping.”

Inkjet Printed Trading Card Sports Posters and How Shipping Makes a Difference

Printing sports postersJack Deere, owner of Three Oaks Photography in Wake Forest, N.C., is always on the lookout for new and unique products for his photography studio. One source of inspiration is the LexJet Blog, where others share their experiences and ideas.

“In addition to the great service I’m getting from LexJet, I appreciate the other things LexJet does with tools like the blog. It helps a lot, because I get great ideas from it, like the growth chart printed on Photo Tex,” says Deere. “In fact, we’re testing Photo Tex for different things, like appliqués on windows, wall murals and anything else we can find to do with it; it’s a great material to work with.”

Deere says the studio has been printing its own work for years, and one of the keys to doing it successfully is the confidence he has that he’ll not only get the support he needs, but more importantly that he’ll consistently get the products he needs on time and just in time.

“As a small business, cash flow is king. When an ink cartridge costs more than $100 a pop, even for the small ones, I don’t have to buy one until I absolutely need it. LexJet products get here within one day. I just had an order that arrived from two different distribution points, but they got here at the same time this morning at 10 a.m.,” explains Deere. “LexJet has never missed that deadline so I can order with one day’s notice, and we get quick shipping for that flat rate of $9.99. That’s what I really appreciate – the depth and breadth of how LexJet’s distribution is set up. Sometimes I’ve ordered at 3 in the afternoon and it’s here at 10 the next morning. Hello? That’s why I’m a customer for life; LexJet has saved my bacon every time. And, when I call the 800 number, the phone system is routed so I get my personal rep. I call and I don’t get a voice system, I get, ‘Hey Jack, what’s up?'”

Deere adds that product suggestions from his customer specialist, Michael Clementi, are another plus. One of those suggestions helped lead to a successful product launch that local high schools have embraced called Trading Card Sports Posters.

Deere prints the posters on LexJet TOUGHcoat AquaVinyl PSA (the product Clementi suggested) and applies them to Coroplast. The posters are durable enough to withstand inclement (pun intended) weather when they’re hung up around outdoor venues, like the high school football stadium.

“We only photograph seniors for the posters. We shoot an action shot of them, which I turn into a charcoal pencil drawing in the background, and then add a head shot and a photo of them with the seniors on the team,” explains Deere. “They’re typically used for senior nights at the sports banquets and it’s a gift to the senior from the booster club. Once schools see the posters I get calls from the booster clubs, so I’m in about seven high schools now. We also frame some of them, and when we do that we use LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene.”

Solving a Maze with Inkjet Printing on a Ceiling

Inkjet printing ceiling graphicsZachary Arellano, production manager at Coyle Studios in Towson, Md., found the perfect accent for the ceiling of his room. The question was how to get it on the ceiling relatively easily. The design was a maze Arellano created in Adobe Illustrator, and he didn’t want the application of the maze to be a puzzle.

“I called to order some paper from LexJet and picked Michael’s brain [Michael Clementi, Coyle Studios’ customer specialist] to see what would work. He recommended Photo Tex, so I tried it,” says Arellano. “When I put it up, it worked great. I was surprised by how easy it was to work with, especially for something that size.”

The size of the maze art, which actually has a workable solution, is 42″ x 204″. It turns out that the ceiling is the exact width of the roll of material he bought. Arellano included two squares in the maze to account for the light and the smoke detector. Before application, he cut those holes out to fit the material over those obstacles.

“When I was putting it up I was a little nervous at first because when I got to the lights it wasn’t flush where I had already applied it behind me; it was a little askew. With the Photo Tex I was able to back track, pull it off and work my way back to get it lined up right. If I had used anything that adhered permanently there would have been no backtracking,” says Arellano. “I also made a rig to hold up the material while I applied it so it wouldn’t sag too much.”

Arellano has a stash of laser pointers so visitors can try the maze with the pointers. It’s not only a piece of art or an interesting conversation piece, it’s an interactive game of sorts. It was also a great test for the material as Arellano says the company is looking for ways to implement it for commercial wall and ceiling murals and advertising.

Photographic Sculpture: A Three Dimensional Inkjet Printed Interpretation

Inkjet printing for a fine art photography exhibitMark Lewis’ fine-art photography almost demands a three-dimensional interpretation. And, in a community known worldwide as a Mecca for sculpture – Loveland, Colo. – Lewis has yearned to find a way to interpret his work in three dimensions.

Inspired by the graphics used for the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Museum of Art, which used gauzy, translucent fabric banners as a focal point for the exhibit, Lewis formed a concept for his own exhibition. Lewis called his LexJet account specialist, Michael Clementi, to brainstorm about inkjet printable materials he could use to bring his concept to life. Clementi recommended Polyvoile FR fabric and Lewis began testing the material on his Epson Stylus Pro 9880.

“I started to think about all the 3D things I’ve been working on, and had the idea that if I had a 3D space, I could put up my 2D artwork on the wall, like a gallery presentation, and then hang my new abstract figures on these banners and suspend them throughout the room, leaving areas for people to walk through. The idea was to create one large piece of art comprised of individual pieces that combine into one large art object that can be walked into,” explains Lewis.

Art exhibition with inkjet printed fabricLewis secured space at Aims Community College in nearby Greeley, Colo., and set up the display, mixing framed photo prints on the walls with Polyvoile banners hung throughout the space. The banners are abstract representations of Lewis’ Zero G series of nude studies.

Lewis explains, “The Zero G originals on the wall are a few years older and incorporate figure nudes with an illusion of weightlessness, so they look like they’re floating in air or water. The translucent Polyvoile banners that are 7 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide, are extreme abstract figures that almost look like they’re made out of lightning and movement. The photographic process is very different for the abstract pieces than it was for the Zero G process.

“The Zero G series is an illusion based on light,” Lewis continues. “The second, abstract version is the same concept with much longer exposures of 6-8 seconds. I’m using my studio strobe flash, but I’m manually firing it. I have either camera or model movement, and sometimes I’ll use materials like painter’s plastic or sheer cloth material and a fan. As the material and model are moving then I’m popping up these individual flashes, and in between the flashes I have a bright hot light on. It sinks in low light exposure in between the strobes, and then the strobes capture those individual seconds within the six seconds. I’m getting a choppy freeze-frame effect. You end up with a big, blurry photo that looks like you can’t use it for anything. I take it into Lightroom, look at the figures inside that mess, trim everything away that I don’t want, and it leaves a part of those exposures and then I add a color temperature to it. I call it an organic process, because it’s like a big shrub that needs to be trimmed.”

The summer exhibition at Aims Community College has been a big hit. It’s an unusual interpretation of creative art that makes people think about light, images and perception. The exhibition will run through September, then Lewis will install a similar one in Loveland.

Fine art photography with strobes
One of the Zero G images by Mark Lewis that form the basis for his fine art photo exhibition, Energia, at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo.

“That was the first experimental presentation of what I’d seen in my mind for a long time. I got everything printed up with no problem and had seams put in for the pole pockets. Once it was installed, I was very satisfied with the outcome. It was my first attempt to get dimension in photography that I felt was very successful,” says Lewis. “One of the questions that comes up a lot when people see it is how difficult it is to print. I never had a misprint with the material and it has worked perfectly every time. It was quite simple to print. I just followed the directions given to me by LexJet. I had to change pixel density to 720 and some minor adjustments like that, but I’ve printed in black and white and full color and have been pleased with every print I’ve made with it.”

Here’s a video of the exhibition…

Arena Graphics with a Twist

Printing and installing arena graphicsPrinting and assembling 84 panels, each one 12 feet long and 42 inches wide, might seem like a grueling task, but it was one Vickey Williams of Mountain Dreamworks in Ketchum, Idaho, was more than up to.

The panels were hung along the length of two walls at the Sagebrush Horse Arena in Hailey, Idaho in honor of the Sagebrush Cowboy Ball on July 7, a fundraiser for the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped (SETCH).

Once installed, the panels created a full-length mural. Williams worked with the party planners to create the backdrop using stock photos of horsesPrinting and hanging graphics in an arena scattered around a sunflower-filled carnival theme.

Though the impressive outcome was certainly worth it, as was the $450,000 SETCH raised from the event, it was a time consuming project. Williams did all of the printing on her Canon iPF8100 using LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, to which she credits much of the success of the project.

“That material made it so much easier to deal with a project this size, because it doesn’t tear, and it doesn’t seem to wrinkle all that much. Plus, the Canon will print borderless so I didn’t have to trim the unprintable area of the print,” says Williams. “We used LexJet Heavy Duty Banner Tape to create the hem pockets and make it easier to install, so I was able to do the whole job myself.”

Williams contracted a cherry picker to help with hanging the panels on-site. “Basically, we got into mass production mode at the shop, printing the panels and then stapling wood lathing in the top and bottom hem pockets so it would stay put, and drilling holes in the top hems. That way, all we had to do when we got there was unroll it and zip-tie it to a wire that went horizontally around the whole arena. They hung like drapes.”

Printing graphics for a special eventWilliams admits that a project of such large volume might have been a nightmare if she didn’t have just the right combination of printer, print media and support from her LexJet customer specialist, Michael Clementi.

Her own personal skills and innovation played a key role, but Williams says that calling Clementi and sharing the scope of a project was equally important. “I may have been able to do most of this job myself, but in reality it was a group effort. Michael learned about what we were trying to accomplish and recommended the perfect material for the job,” she says.

The short video below was taken during the installation of the panels…

Bring Customers Back for More with Your Own Photo Growth Chart

Growth chart for child photographyYou may remember reading about a LexJet customer, Darren Carlton of Capture That Photography in Prim, Ark., and his LexJet customer specialist, Michael Clementi, back in April. In case you missed the article, which you can read by clicking here, it was about a unique new idea to help Carlton draw in more new and return customers.

Carlton and Clementi came up with the idea of creating photographic growth charts, something that Carlton’s customers love. The growth chart features a photo or photos of the client’s child and a measuring stick, printed on Photo Tex repositionable fabric from LexJet.

The idea is that as the child grows a new picture can be taken and laid over the previous photo, tracking the growth of the child and encouraging parents to return year after year for updates.

Since first coming up with the idea in partnership with Carlton, Clementi has been busy creating a growth chart template for other photographers to use.

The template is designed in a way that allows it to easily be edited in Photoshop so photographers can customize it, adding their own pictures and logos. The ruler, which starts 3 inches up at the bottom so it works on walls with floorboards, can be moved anywhere on the design allowing for each growth chart to be unique.

Clementi sees a lot of potential benefits for photographers when using the growth charts. “They can have their business marketing on the charts as well. Things like logos and phone numbers or a mark that says ‘bring your child back to our studio at this height and receive a free 8×10 with your package,’ and so forth.”

The template was created to work perfectly on a 17-inch roll of Photo Tex. For a copy of the template call 800-453-9538 and ask for Michael Clementi or Justin Craft.