How To Create Acrylic Photo Blocks Without UV Printing

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How To Create Acrylic Photo Blocks Without UV Printing

September 10, 2019 3 min read

We are often asked how to produce the acrylic photo blocks without a UV printer. 
It’s a popular question especially as we gather speed towards Christmas and the holiday season.

Acrylic blocks have been a hot gift idea for a number of years. It’s no surprise really as they can sit perfectly on a desk or mantel proudly showing off kids, holidays, pets or family. 
Nothing says true love like a photo block of your little pug!

With a UV printer like the Mimaki UJF, these blocks are simple to create and print. 
Place a blank block on the bed, send over your artwork and stand back as the machine prints the colours and then backs the image in white. 

If you haven’t yet taken the jump to a UV printer, these photo blocks are still possible to produce. You just need to do them a little differently.

Instead of printing directly to the acrylic, use a photo or tear resistant synthetic type paper to capture the image. Make sure the image is a little larger than the actual size of the block its going on and ideally, you’ll also want a media that has little show through or at least an element of opacity. This helps prevent light shining right through the back of the print and creating any unsightly shadows.

After printing, if it’s a solvent print let it gas off. If it’s a water-based or latex print, just ensure its completely dry. 

Now you’ve got to get that image onto the back of the acrylic block. 

For that, you’ll need an optically clear mount film. We supply and recommend Drytac Facemount. 

It’s an optically clear pressure sensitive permanent mounting adhesive with a clear polyester release liner on both sides. 
Or a double-sided sticky that’s also super clear.

The polyester filmic liner ensures that there are no lines passed from liner to glue. It’s here to make sure the adhesive really is as optically clear as possible and with acrylic photo blocks, that’s the most important element.

Using your laminator, apply the Facemount to the face of the print - see what Drytac did with the name! Only remove the liner on one side and make sure there are no dust gremlins under the adhesive or on the print. 

It can help to either use a static wand or clean tack rag to ensure no specks end up under the adhesive. Also, be aware if you use a blower as it’s easy to push the dust from the print to the glue without realising.

Now, once the Facemount is stuck to the print, the other side of the film needs to be applied to the acrylic block. Either by hand or by using the laminator, gently peel away the liner and affix the print to the block. 

There is a knack to this but once mastered, it’s a simple squeegee or laminator roll on. Just try to keep a uniform amount of pressure applied to ensure it sticks securely and evenly across the print.

The last thing is to trim the excess film and print away with a sharp blade.

And that’s how to produce acrylic photo blocks without a UV curable printer.

Facemount can also be applied to glass, PetG, Perspex and polycarbonate so if you’re looking to produce graphics onto clear substrates without a UV printer, Facemount could be the solution.

For more information, samples and prices on Facemount or any other Drytac print or finishing product, get in touch with the team at 01772 250207. 

If you already have a UV machine and you’re looking for ideas on what else can be produced on these technological marvels, check this post for UV print inspiration.

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