Strange Brew: Building and Printing Custom Beer Taps for a Collaborative Brew

Decorating beer taps with inkjet printed graphics

You may know Tim Dussault, owner of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., from such projects as custom inkjet-printed window shades and a makeover for the H2O club posted here at the LexJet Blog. Dussault is always on the lookout for the next creative, custom project. As he puts it, “Our process is about serving unique niches that aren’t mass produced and that market to a specific audience.”

In this latest case, pictured here, it was a tasty blend of brews from three local brewers – Diamond Knot Brewing Company, North Sound Brewing and Anacortes Brewery – blended for a beer-tasting special event that brought Dussault’s creativity to the fore.

The brew masters from the three breweries exchanged ideas, recipes and yeasts to create a special brew for the event, held in three different places between the Puget Sound and Everett, Wash. The brew was also on tap for a month, and three taps representing each brewery were need for all three locations.

Since Dussault is active in the community and well known for producing projects like this, they turned to him for his expertise. The group came up with a concept, DNA, for the collaborative brew, and an eye-catching graphic. DNA is a double entendre – the initials of each brewery plus the fact the new beer is a blend of the three different yeasts each brewer uses.

Dussault had one day to take that concept and build the nine taps, so he worked with his local sign shop, Anchor Signs, to cut the taps out of one-inch thick PVC board on Anchor’s CNC router, then printed, cut and applied the graphics, which were printed on LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Self Adhesive Polypropylene.

Printing images on window shadesDussault says the event was packed with people from as far away as Canada. Moreover, the event and the work got pub and brewery owners thinking about how to better promote their businesses with the creative use of graphics and signs.

“We’ve had three to four different pub and brewery owners interested in the process, and not just the beer taps, but the whole concept of using graphics in a creative way to promote their business,” says Dussault. “I created a roller shade print for one of the breweries. The roller shade is inside the brewery, which faces the restaurant. On that window shade is a schematic of the brewing process and how beer is made using photos of their own equipment – their tanks and process – so when someone looks at it they see not only the process but what’s being used in their specific brewery. We’re modifying the concept for another brewery because each is so unique.”

Presto Change-H2O: Inkjet Print Makeover at Waterfront Club

Inkjet printing club decor on fabric

“Just change the art and you’ve got a new restaurant.” At least that’s the concept Tim Dussault of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., and his wife, Lorrisa, an interior décor color consultant, came up with for the opening of a local club called H2O.

Changeable decor artwork on fabricThe concept has been successfully applied, as Dussault swathed what was a former dive bar in water-related images printed on LexJet Poly Select Heavy fabric. “About once a year they normally break down and paint the walls to freshen it up. They wouldn’t have to do that anymore; all you have to do is change the art, which is a lot less labor,” explains Dussault.

Gallery wraps with inkjet fabric
This decorative ice cube piece is actually a gallery wrap using LexJet Poly Select Heavy fabric. The rest of the art was printed on Poly Select Heavy and hangs from the decorative metal rails.

To facilitate this, the majority of the prints slide into slots housed in the decorative metal header rails all around the club’s walls. There are five, 12-foot long decorative rails. Each print is about 64 inches long and almost 12 feet wide.

“The material prints really well, and I’ve been looking for other applications to use it in because it’s a sturdy, heavy products. It’s moldable, but it’s tough, unlike scrim banner that’s not as flexible,” says Dussault. “It also coated real nice when we sprayed it. Then I used our window shade product as a bottom rail to add weight to the prints. The material’s pretty thick so it’s tight in the bottom rail, but it still worked well.”

Vinyl graphics that backlit and hide what's inside
Here, Dussault applied LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl SUV Gloss to hide the kitchen and draw additional attention to the new club.

Dussault also created a gallery wrap with the Poly Select Heavy as a decorative 4×4 accent piece. “I really like stretching the fabric material; it’s easier to stretch than canvas and has a soft, tactile look to it,” says Dussault.

One problematic area that required the creative touch of the Dussault pair was the kitchen. With windows on the street looking into the bright white kitchen, it was a distraction from the adjoining club. So, Dussault teamed up with a friend who runs a sign shop and has a Roland SOLJET solvent printer to print a water graphic on LexJet Simple Adhesive Vinyl SUV – Gloss running along the windows.

 Decorative art for restaurants and clubs“We wanted to allow light out, but wanted an eye-catching image that was consistent with the theme. And, we didn’t want to use words because we didn’t want to have to deal with sign codes. It’s really awesome at night when it’s backlit,” says Dussault.

Inkjet Printed Window Shades as a Complementary Interior Décor Design Element

Inkjet printed window shades

Most accidents fall into the Not-so-Happy category, but some fall into the Happy category, as was the case with a recent home décor project Tim Dussault, owner of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., recently completed for a homeowner.

Printing custom window shadesDussault printed custom window shades on LexJet Poly Select Light as a complement to the interior décor of the home, which was based around a painting that hangs in the couple’s living room. The “accident” was the bottom section of the shade was also a perfect complement to the home’s overall color scheme.

“They rolled the shades down about nine inches to let as much light into the room during the day, making a nine-inch valance.  It created a nice design element to the room so that you didn’t have to have the shade completely up or down to do that,” says Dussault. “That really opened my eyes to using that bottom section of the print for whatever design element you want, whether it’s a consistent color or pattern, to go with the overall interior design of a room.”

Inkjet printed window shadesThe artwork is from a 24×36 original watercolor by Jennifer Bowman, an artist Dussault has worked with in the past. Dussault generated the scene into panels that matched the window spaces in the bay window and printed them on Poly Select Light.

Dussault used his recently updated line of DiY Roller Shade Assemblies for the window shades, which you can pick up at, and watch the videos below to see the installation of this project as well as how to use the DiY Roller Shade Assemblies. Or, if you prefer, you can view them at YouTube at this link.

“The installation went smoothly and they really liked it and how it all flowed together,” says Dussault. He adds that he chose the Poly Select Light over the Poly Select Heavy since he wanted as much light as possible to flow through them when they’re drawn down.

Dussault also used Poly Select Heavy in another recent project he collaborated on with his wife for a restaurant that turned its bar into a club. In addition to hanging wall murals, Dussault created custom gallery wraps with Poly Select Heavy.

“I like to stretch that material; it’s easier to stretch than canvas. I was also surprised by how well it accepted the spray coating. My experience with fabrics told me that it would absorb some of the coating and change the color of the image, but it dried really well and there was no color shift. Using the fabric and stretching creates a totally different look that I think is more attractive; it’s softer and more tactile,” says Dussault.

Look for photos from this project and more information in a future post here at the LexJet Blog. In the meantime, check out the videos of the installation and how the DiY Roller Shade Assemblies work…

Video: How to Assemble Inkjet Printed Fabric Window Shades

How to assemble window shades for inkjet printed fabricThere’s been a lot of response to an earlier post about Tim Dussault’s custom window shades, printed on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth, 3P Universal Heavy fabric and LexJet’s new Poly Select Light. Dussault, owner of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., was kind enough to share the video embedded below, which shows how to assemble the window shades step by step.

Though the video below details Tim’s older system, the concepts and steps are fairly universal. If you’re able to find someone who can supply you with window shade hardware this video should provide some ideas and guidance. We’re looking for someone who can help you with custom hardware and will let you know as soon as we find someone to whom we can refer you.

Lighting up a Room with Inkjet Printed Fabric Window Shades

Making window shades out of inkjet printable fabricTired of the scenery outside your window? Just print a different scene. At least that’s what Tim Dussault, owner of The Color I in Anacortes, Wash., has been doing for almost ten years now. Dussault’s custom window shades have made appearances in residential and commercial windows over the years, giving customers rooms with a view.

Dussault started experimenting with the concept after printing wall hangings for a customer on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth. If inkjet-printable fabric can be used for tapestries, wall hangings and banners, why not window shades?

Dussault started experimenting and came up with his own window shade rollers, called Art Roller Shades. “My hobby has always been goofing around with products and changing them into something else; making them more than the sum of their parts,” he says.

Printing fabric window shades with an inkjet printerTypically, Dussault’s Art Roller Shades are one-off custom products, but his most recent project covered almost 40 rooms at a Palm Springs hospice center. The problem the hospice faced was, once again, the scenery. The rooms face air conditioning units and other uninteresting sights.

“I got an email from hospice organization in Palm Springs, I sent samples to them and they loved the shades. It was a nice job and it makes a dramatic impact on the room because you’re not used to seeing that much color coming through the window. It gets your attention and draws you in,” says Dussault.

Most of the windows in the hospice are 83 inches wide, so Dussault set these up with dual shades. There are other shorter, more vertical windows in the hospice that required only one shade.

Window coverings made with printed fabricDussault began printing the project on his Roland printer with 3P Universal Heavy FR fabric from LexJet, but ran out of material during the project.

“I talked to my customer specialist at LexJet, Justin Craft, and told him my dilemma. He had an alternative idea for me, and sent some information and samples of LexJet Poly Select Light. I’m very happy with the results. It cuts clean and handles well. I see a lot of opportunity for other design-oriented products based on that material in the Medium and Heavy versions as well,” says Dussault.

Dussault adds that the he used the Poly Select Light fabric for the last floor of the project; the windows on the other floors were decorated with 3P Universal Heavy fabric.