photo by FollowTheFlow via iStock
Although acrylic prints are a higher-end product and you may only find yourself purchasing one every few months or years, when you head out to pick one up you may find yourself a little overwhelmed.
Since acrylic print makers can make hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars from a single purchase, many less scrupulous companies spend a lot of time touting fancy polishing techniques or other features you really may not need.
At PhotographyTalk, we believe an informed consumer is the best consumer and we decided to create this acrylic print buyer’s guide to help make you an informed consumer.
What is an Acrylic Print?
As mentioned in the video above by Artbeat Studios, metal prints and acrylic prints have more in common than meets the eye. For instance, they both work as mediums for fine art photography because they both look high-end.
Still, you may be curious as to what an acrylic print truly is. It’s basically a photo print that is printed onto another medium before being mounted to acrylic.
Printmakers create this sort of an acrylic print by first printing your shot onto metallic photo paper before face mounting that photo paper onto a sheet of acrylic.
The edges of the acrylic then must be polished down using one of four common polishing methods. Each one of these polishing methods are incredibly time consuming and difficult, which is why you may first be shocked at the cost of an acrylic print.
Acrylic prints are frequently used for photography studios, expensive homes, or office buildings for this very reason. They look and feel expensive.
Features of Acrylic Prints
Now that you understand what an acrylic print is and how they are made, you need to know what to look for in an acrylic print.
The first, obvious feature you need to look for is the quality of paper the printmaker is using. I’ll be using Artbeat Studios as a good example for most of these features, as this is the acrylic print company I work directly with. They offer Epson metallic paper paired with Epson archival ink, which allows your acrylic print to last for over a century.
If your acrylic print maker doesn’t offer a guarantee, this could be a sign that they are using either an ink of poor quality or paper of poor quality.
The second feature you should be looking for is the all-important polished edges. There are a variety of ways you can polish the edges of an acrylic print, but the best printmakers, like Artbeat Studios, will use diamonds to polish their prints.
This type of polishing will take a bit longer, since it is a three-step process, but the improvement in the finished product is out of this world, as shown in the video above. It’s like night and day from the last, big print studio I was using. I was shocked the first time I ordered with them.
Another feature you should be looking out for is a variety of sizing options. Artbeat Studios offers every print size from 8x10 to 48x96 and everything in between. Since they custom cut every single print, that means they can create custom sizes just as easily.
The same goes for a variety of wall mount options. Although I typically prefer my acrylic prints to use a floating wall mount, I still get options with Artbeat Studios. They offer natural wood mounts, aluminum mounts, and painted wood mounts so your experience is fully customized. They really make you feel like you’re the only customer they have that week.
Lastly, don’t opt for an acrylic print maker that doesn’t give you detailed care instructions. You probably came to this article not understanding what different types of acrylic prints were even available to you, so you definitely don’t understand how to care for one and there’s no shame in that because, honestly, it isn’t your job.
Artbeat Studios representatives walk you through how to care for your new (expensive) print. They teach you how to clean your print and where you can safely hang it. After all, it would be a shame for your print to fade or scratch due to negligence.
What is HD Acrylic?
If I’ve convinced you to work with Artbeat Studios for your next acrylic print, then there is one more feature I need to mention. Artbeat Studios creates HD acrylic prints, and HD Acrylic 360 prints, as well.
HD acrylic prints are the same high-quality acrylic prints I discussed above, but HD Acrylic 360 prints are museum-grade prints made of much more acrylic. Instead of the traditional prints that only include ¼ inch of acrylic, HD Acrylic 360 prints are also backed by an additional ⅛ inch of acrylic.
They look like crystal from the side while hanging on your wall and aren’t that much more expensive than traditional acrylic prints.
You can check them out for yourself here.