People have asked me how they can get a signed print of the 70s Pop NFT they bought. While I'm still setting that up I thought I'd write a guide on the things you'd need to know about getting one printed for yourself at your local print shop, or how to one generated from this site and get it printed by The Print Space.
This page will be broken up into three main areas; framing, paper and the actual printing.
It turns out that before you can even think about printing, you need to know a little about framing. Having a frame made to fit your print is expensive. The frame can often cost more than the artwork you're putting into it.
Finding a good frame first and then having the artwork printed at a size that matches the frame is probably a better way to go.
One last comment, buying a cheap frame will make your artwork look cheap. So while you may want to avoid having an expensive frame, you'll also want to avoid a cheap one. Also, make sure the frame you're buying comes with glass and isn't "glass-free" (by which they mean plastic).
70s Pop artwork is square, so you're looking for square frames (obviously), good standard sized frames are 12" x 12", 16" x 16", 18 x 18" and 24" x 24".
When you buy or have a frame made, they can come with a "Mat" or without. If you buy a frame the same size as your artwork, there will be no room for a mat, and the artwork will take up the entire frame space, which is, you know, fine.
If you buy a frame with a "Mat", you will have a frame size, i.e. 12" x 12" and a "Mat opening", i.e. 8" x 8". If you do this, get the artwork printed to fit the opening, not the frame!
Sometimes you'll just be told the mat width, i.e. 2". If that's the case, remember you have the mat on all sides, so a 2" mat will reduce the visible area by twice that, in this case, 4".
A quick note on glass. If you're using non-archival ink or paper when printing, then the glass helps to reduce the fading (a bit) by blocking the UV. But because we are using archival ink and paper, the glass is mainly there to protect the print from damage. If you want your print to look extra special, then I suggest using low-reflection art glass, you can buy this and do it yourself, but it's probably easier to get this done at a framer.
Paper can be an essential choice. If you are going down to your local cheap print shop, you'll most likely be getting your artwork inkjet printed onto smooth paper.
There's nothing wrong with that, but you'll probably want to go a little deeper into the archival art printing and paper world to get good colour reproduction, true blacks and intense colours. All things 70s Pop benefit from.
These are the three things I'd look for in paper, and then I'll recommend some.
- Whiteness, look for as white as possible. Some art paper is off white, which is fine if it's slightly off white for 70s Pop, but for this design, you'll want to avoid the paper that's heading towards creams and greys. For example, newer Bamboo paper is fantastic but tends to be too off-white for these bold colours while being great for things like landscapes.
- Paper weight; the thickness of the paper or sturdiness is generally measured by the weight. I suggest anything within the range of 280gsm to 310gsm. Don't worry about what "gsm" means, you'll see it used when talking about paper, so now you know the range to ask for.
- Texture. Personally, I like my paper to be heavily textured and matte. Although smooth and glossy can be a lot of fun and has their place, I think a mid-textured matte paper is best for this artwork.
Paper I've found that matches the above criteria well.
- Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag - What I use, nicely textured.
- Hahnemüle Pearl - If you want something smoother with a little more "pop".
- Hahnemühle Photorag - Similar in colour and style of the Canson, but a lovely subtle texture.
- Hahnemühle German Etching - A stronger texture than the Photorag above, I wouldn't use this for 70s Pop, but I would use it for one of the other projects with lots of dark rich colours.
Printers and printing
The next step is to find somewhere to get your work printed. I would suggest trying to find somewhere local to you, or at least in the same country. If you can't find anyone, I'll link a recommendation below, which ship globally at a flat rate.
Basically, if your local print shop handles the papers listed above, their inkjet printers have more than just four ink colours in them, and they understand the word Giclée, then you know you can probably trust them.
I'm going to go through a couple of examples of how you'd get your artwork printed up. I'm also writing a second post on how to use The Print Space (which I'll link to here once I've done it), which will show you steps I go through along with screenshots.
Before we get into the examples, this is the quick rule of thumb: at the very least, you want to print at 300dpi.
"dpi" stands for "dots per inch", although it's slightly more technical than what I'm about to say here, we can think of this as 300 pixels per inch.
If you have an image that's 2,400 by 2,400 pixels in size, then the maximum you'd want to print the image at is (2,400 / 300) inches, which is 8" x 8".
If you wanted to print something at 24" x 24", then you'd want 24 * 300 pixels, which is 7,200 by 7,200.
There is no problem printing things smaller than the maximum, so it's acceptable to print that 7,200 by 7,200-pixel image at only 4" x 4" if you wanted. You can print larger than the maximum size, but I really wouldn't advise it.
Note: which I'll get onto in a moment, just because your maximum print size, maybe 8" x 8", doesn't mean that your frame has to be that size; we can use both margins around the image and/or a mat to use a larger frame.
Example One: Edge to edge printing, no mat.
This is where you've already bought a frame of a specific size, or plan on having one made, and you're not going to have a mat or margin. In some ways, this is the simplest, but also the one I'd advise against. It'll look something like this, using the example of a 24-inch square frame.
You'd ask the printer to print the image at 24" by 24" on paper sized 24" by 24". Then you'd just put that image into the frame, and you're done.
Example Two: Printing with a margin, no mat.
You have a frame that's 12" by 12" and want a classy margin of, say, 1 inch all the way around.
You would ask for a print area of 10" by 10", with a margin of 1" on the top, bottom, left and right side. For a total paper size of 12" x 12".
Note: If you have a larger margin, they don't all need to be the same size, which is totally a thing. For example, with a 20-inch square frame, you could have a four-inch margin on the left and right, a 3.5-inch margin at the top and a 4.5-inch margin at the bottom. This often happens if the artist has a signature below the artwork, either on the artwork itself or the mat if you have one.
You can even get away with putting a square artwork into a standard rectangle frame. With a 20 by 30-inch frame, you could have a print area of 12" by 12", with a 4" margin on the top, left, and right, and a 14-inch margin on the bottom, or any offset you fancy.
The important thing is to understand that your print area and paper size are two different things, and you'll need to specify both. It is surprisingly easy to mess this up and end up with something bigger or smaller than you were expecting, which is why I'm going all-in with so many examples.
Example Three: Print margin and a mat.
You should by now have the hang of this, but two more just to make sure.
24 by 24-inch frame, a mat size of 4 inches on each side, giving us a mat-opening of 16 by 16 inches. We want a further one-inch margin all around the artwork.
For this to work, our paper size would be 24" x 24", and the print area would be 14" x 14". 24-inches minus a 4-inch mat + 1-inch margin on one side, and a 4-inch mat + 1-inch margin on the other.
At this point, you may be thinking, "Hey, if a whole bunch of paper is hidden behind the mat, can't I just save a bit of money and have less paper?"
The answer is, of course yes. If the mat-opening is 16 by 16-inches, you could get away with a paper size of 18 by 18-inches, with a two-inch margin for same 14" x 14" print area.
However if you've bought the frame and planning on framing it yourself, it's easier to get the paper size to match the frame size; it'll stop the artwork from slipping down. Solving this with mounting corners or framers tape isn't hard but can be a pain in the ass.
If you're planning on taking your print the framer, then sure, make some margins and then go for a massive frame if you feel like it; they'll be able to handle it.
These are the prices my "local" printer charges; these are all on Canson Aquarelle Rag.
|12 by 12 inches||£14||€16||$20|
|16.5 by 16.5 inches||£26||€30||$36|
|24 by 24 inches||£64||€74||$89|
Shipping depends on where you are, but the above should give you a ball-park of what to expect to pay.
The above is mainly to make you feel more confident about ordering prints without worrying too much about messing things up. It's one of those things which is easy with a bit of reassurance but still prone to mistakes. I know I've made plenty of errors, and I've been doing this a while and sometimes even cut my mats while framing work.
If you can't find a local printer, then I'd recommend the one I use The Print Space also called Creative Hub, which have print shops in the UK and EU to make it easier for shipping worldwide. I have a whole post about uploading your artwork and ordering a print here.
I'm not affiliated or sponsored by them, but I do have a referral code thingy. If you use the code
91ED3ZO, you'll get 50% off your first order.