Displaying An Acrylic Photo Print Outside
Although acrylic prints are still more costly than other options, they offer their own unique benefits.
They produce wonderfully rich colours & because the image is refracted through a layer of clear acrylic, they create a real depth & stunning image quality.
They’re also highly durable & in the right conditions should last for decades.
But is it possible to hang an acrylic print outdoors? Yes, it's possible in certain outdoor areas as acrylic prints are so durable. With a few simple precautions, an acrylic print displayed outside should last for many years.
Let's Define "Outdoors"
I've noticed a few websites advising against hanging an acrylic photo print outside & rightly so.
There's a difference between outside & an outdoor entertaining area.
A print that's going to be subjected to the elements all day is going to fade & deteriorate very quickly.
Even signage that's specifically made for shop fronts & other exposed locations are still only guaranteed for a few years.
But in a shady & cool outdoor area, it's possible to display your print.
So read on to learn how best to display your print safely in an outdoor location.
2 Types Of Acrylic Prints - Which Is Best For Outside Use?
There’s 2 ways an acrylic print is made.
Whichever print method you choose, it won’t have any significant bearing on how it will hold up to an outdoor environment.
It’s really more about the final image quality.
Face mounting is where the image is printed onto a photographic paper which is then mounted to the back of the acrylic sheet.
It is then sealed with a substrate, usually aluminium or a type of PVC.
When viewed from the front, you're seeing the photograph through a layer of clear acrylic which gives it that depth.
With a direct print, it’s as the name suggests.
The image is printed in reverse, directly to the back of the acrylic sheet & so when viewed from the front it’s the correct way around.
Different substrates will have a different effect on the final image.
Face mounted prints produce better image definition.
This is because the image is printed on a high quality photographic paper, instead of directly to the acrylic.
Direct printing can be slightly more moisture resistant, but not to any degree that is going to make a real difference.
This is because if moisture were to somehow find it’s way through the sealed substrate, the photographic paper may be vulnerable to mould or mildew.
It’s not like you’re going to be submerging your print in water though.
A Few Tips For Hanging An Acrylic Print Outdoors
Whatever the process used to make your print, there’s some simple tips that will help keep it looking it’s best.
1. Avoid Direct Sunlight
Although the acrylic protects the print from UV’s, as with anything that is subjected to direct sun for lengthy periods .. it will fade.
So undercover & shady areas are ideal.
Because acrylic is a polycarbonate, it’s subject to warping in extreme heat.
So make sure not to hang your print where it may get excessively hot.
3. Coastal Areas
The only part of an acrylic print that could be vulnerable to salt air would be the aluminium backing.
Although aluminium doesn’t rust, it can oxidize.
So perhaps if you have an ocean frontage, hanging the print on the porch or verandah may not be a good idea.
4. BBQs & Smokers
What are outdoor areas for? Cooking & entertaining of course!
This often involves firing up the BBQ.
Try not to display your print where grease build up can occur.
I’ve seen acrylic prints used in outdoor areas & they look amazing, especially larger size prints.
Scenes of the ocean or landscapes can add such a wonderful dimension, more so when they are surrounded by foliage.
It makes it appear like there’s another world to step into & explore!
I've also written a complete guide to acrylic prints if you'd like to learn more about this fantastic print medium.
Was this article useful? I hope so!
Please share if you feel it may answer someone else’s question about acrylic prints being displayed outdoors.