DIY Acrylic Photo Print
I love the look of an Acrylic Photo Print. Especially when they are backlit. Photos mounted on Acrylic are just sexier than traditional framed photographs. There is just one problem. They are not very affordable.
Recently, I had a 24″ x 36″ digital print that I wanted mounted on acrylic. The final cost would have been well over $300!
Those who know me, know that I love to figure out how something is made. My article on how to make a duct tape wallet is proof of that. I decided to do some research and figure out how to do it on my own. Turns out it’s not so difficult.
What is an Acrylic Photo Print?
The are three different types of Acrylic Prints. The first is when the image is printed directly onto the acrylic. The second, called face mounting, is when the photo (usually printed on an aluminum sheet, is mounted to a sheet of acrylic (plexiglass). Lastly, acrylic resin is poured onto a photograph and is left to cure.
I’ll be doing a tutorial on the pour method very soon. Today we’re going to do the ‘face mounting’ method.
Here is the list of materials you will need.
- Standoff Hardware
- 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick Plexiglass
- Drill Bit
- Krylon All Purpose Spray Adhesive
- Photo or Digital Print
Mounting a photo onto acrylic
1. Polish the edges
This step is optional, however I would suggest taking the time to do it. It is a small detail, but doing it will give a professional look.
Acrylic sheets are sold with unfinished edges. The saw marks are visible. To get rid of them, we need to polish the edges. There are a few different way to polish the edges, the easies and fastest is flame polishing with a blow torch. Don’t worry it’s easier than it sounds.
Before removing the protective paper from the acrylic, sand the edges of the acrylic with the 400 grit sandpaper. (I removed the paper too soon).
The edges should look smooth with a cloudy Matt finish.
Using a back and forth motion, run the blow torch across the edge. Be careful not to hold it in one place for too long.
The edges should look glossy and smooth.
2. Glue the image to the acrylic.
Gluing the image to the acrylic can be. a little tricky. However, if you follow the steps carefully you shouldn’t have a problem.
Please note the following:
- Make sure you use a spray adhesive that dries clear. Krylon All Purpose Spray Adhesive works very well.
- Make sure the nozzle is clear of any dry adhesive. (run under hot water and clean thoroughly if there is any).
- Spray the adhesive onto the image, not onto the acrylic.
- You image should have a 1/4 inch bleed (1/4 inch larger than the acrylic sheet).
- Clean the acrylic sheet before gluing. Make sure it is clear of all smudges and fingerprints.
So let’s started…
Lay a large piece of paper over your work area and set the image, right side up, in the center.
Using a back and forth motion, spray a thin layer of adhesive over the image.
Carefully place the acrylic sheet onto the image. NOTE: The acrylic sheet should not be moved once it touches the adhesive.
Turn the acrylic sheet over, onto a clean surface, and firmly rub out any air bubbles.
Turn the acrylic over again. Using an Xacto knife trim away the excess paper around the acrylic.
The image should be flush with the edges of the acrylic .
Attaching the standoff hardware
Once you decide where you would like the standoff hardware, measure the drill holes on the back side of the acrylic. My image was an 11 x 14 so I chose 1 inch from the corners.
I find a spade drill bit works best with the acrylic. I can easily crack while you are drilling the hole.
Carefully drill the holes. Try not to press too hard.
Mount and attach the standoff hardware according to the package directions. Voila! You have an acrylic mounted photo that looks like you had it professionally done.
If I had this professionally done, it would have cost $99.00. I spend around $13.00!
Feel free to let me know how yours cam out in comments below.