Fine Art Banners with Sunset Select Matte Canvas

You may remember Vickey Williams of Mountain Dreamworks in Ketchum, Idaho, and her recent Sagebrush Cowboy Ball project. That’s not the only interesting application she’s been working on. Recently, Williams has been using Sunset Select Matte Canvas in a unique way: to print outdoor fine art photo banners.

Printing fine art banners on canvasWilliams first started using Sunset Select Matte Canvas as a fine art banner when the supplier she’d been using for cotton and silk fabrics went out of business. “I had to find another solution and I started playing around with the canvas and thought, ‘What would happen if I splashed water on this untreated canvas?’ That’s when I started experimenting with it.”

She needed to know that whatever material she used would hold up against the unpredictable Idaho climate. “Now mind you I live at about 6,000 feet,” Williams explained, “So we get quite a bit of snow. We have seasons with rain, snow, sun, wind, dust and ice… we get everything here.”

To make sure the canvas would hold up and maintain the look of the photos printed on it Williams put the canvas through a long test. “I started by cutting printed test strips and hung them outside,” she explained. “Throughout the year I didn’t see any fading and the archival ink on my Canon iPF8100 did not run. Without any protective coating the ink would start to come off if I rubbed the canvas when it was wet, but knowing most of the photo banners would not be handled I thought this just might work.”

Williams decided to sew hems for pole pockets and went to a local welding company to fashion a 12″ x 12″ x 1″ steel plate with a loop in the middle for attaching the banner wire. “This added a final touch to secure the banners in place and added a rugged rustic look to our fine art photo banner presentation,” says Williams.

Williams wasn’t the only one pleased with the outcome of the banners. Her customers really seem to like them too, though she admits they may not work for everyone. “I can’t compete with the people who do vinyl, but the people who want a canvas look, and a more organic look, are not only fine with it, they love it.”

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…