Direct-to-substrate printing refers to printing an image directly on the surface rather than the image printed on HD photo paper, then mounted to the substrate. In the case of direct-to-acrylic prints, the substrate is Plexiglass. Substrate, in this instance, refers to the surface being printed on.
How Does Direct-To-Substrate Printing Work?
Direct-to-substrate printing for acrylic prints is a specialized printing process that involves directly applying ink onto the surface of an acrylic sheet. This method is used to produce museum-grade art prints and other applications where exceptional image clarity, color vibrancy, and longevity are paramount. The process typically includes the following steps:
Select Acrylic Sheet: Inspect acrylic for any imperfections and correct sizing for the print.
Printing Preparation: Make sure the digital file of the photo meets resolution and color requirements and make any necessary adjustments.
Prep Inkjet Printing with UV Ink: Set up a specialized flatbed printer/UV printer equipped with advanced inkjet technology that can use UV curing ink.
Print onto Acrylic: The printer applies the UV ink directly onto the acrylic surface, using precise and controlled droplet placement.
Initial UV Light Exposure: The UV ink is exposed to UV light during or immediately after printing, causing it to cure and harden rapidly.
Curing and Finishing: Once the printing is complete, the acrylic sheet with the freshly printed image is exposed to UV light again in a separate curing process.
This results in exceptional image quality, color vibrancy, and durability, making it a preferred choice for high-end art and photography displays.
Why Use Direct to Substrate Printing?
Substrate surfaces are so versatile and durable that they are used by professional artists, galleries, museums, framing shops, and specialized printers to enhance the artistry and uniqueness of a photo or fine art piece. Professional mounting finishes the artwork and makes it display as if it’s in a gallery.