Ice Cold Canvas for Inkjet Printing

Every year, Chicago’s Navy Pier turns to ice. While the weather may be frightful around Christmastime in Chicago, less frightful and much more fun is the temporary ice rink at Navy Pier. The rink is installed to coincide with lighting of the annual Christmas tree and thousands skate and soak in the winter atmosphere.

Speaking of soaking in, the logos pictured here were printed on 3P FlagTex from LexJet. The mesh material allows the water that turns to ice to soak in and provide a smooth skating surface over the logo.

Rob Mueller, owner of Mueller’s in Mt. Clemens, Mich., is an old hand at decorating ice rinks with logos and other graphics. He’s been hand-painting them for about 30 years now, and recently added inkjet printing to his ice-rink graphics repertoire.

“Logos are typically painted with a special ice paint, but the latest trend is to print and freeze the printed graphics in with a mesh-like material,” explains Mueller. “It’s a lot like applying wallpaper. You lay it out, completely saturate it with water and it freezes into the ice. That’s why you want to use mesh. If it’s a solid material like vinyl the ice will just push it to the top.”

The main logo for the sponsoring Chicago Blackhawks is approximately 8 ft. x 10 ft., printed in two panels. Mueller hand-painted the bulk of the 10th Anniversary logo, but used FlagTex for the ornament so he could print the fade and the gold top piece instead of trying to print it.

The FlagTex was printed on Mueller’s Canon iPF8000S, originally recommended to him by his LexJet account specialist, Bryce Montisano. “The Canon printer has been working great since I bought it from Bryce about a year ago. Bryce also recommended the FlagTex and it was perfect because it’s real easy to cut thanks to the paper backing. With other materials I tried I had to use a hot knife, but in this case I just lay it out and trim it with scissors.”