How To Make Your Print Last A Lifetime
With their unique visual quality, durability & frameless presentation, acrylic prints are a fabulous & modern piece of wall art.
They deliver this sense of depth to an image because you're viewing the photograph through a layer of acrylic.
With thicker acrylic you can see the image through the translucent sides of the print.
They’re becoming more popular with consumers & photographers alike, but are still at the highest price point compared to other print mediums.
So how long can you expect an acrylic print to last? This will depend on the printing method & how & where the print is displayed, but in optimal conditions an acrylic print may last for decades & even up to 100 years.
The price of acrylic photo prints is coming down, probably due to their increasing popularity.
But for a print that could last a lifetime, they're definitely value for money.
Why Are Acrylic Prints So Durable?
It’s mainly because the image is protected under a thickness of acrylic.
Whether it’s a face mounted print or a direct print, the inks sit beneath a UV protecting acrylic layer.
Acrylic Photo Prints - Face Mount vs Direct Print
The image is also sealed & sandwiched between the top acrylic layer & a backing substrate, further preventing airbourne contaminants from degrading the photograph.
How Are Acrylic Photo Prints Made?
It’s impossible to give a guarantee to the lifespan of an acrylic photo print for a few reasons.
Factors That Affect A Prints Lifespan
Sunlight - any print will fade in direct sunlight over time, no matter how well a UV top coat is applied.
Acrylic prints are no different.
Avoiding direct sun & even too much ambient daylight, is the biggest factor that will contribute to a long lasting print.
Acrylic prints do well in outdoor areas, just make sure they’re hung in a shaded area.
Can You Hang Acrylic Prints Outdoors?
This leads to the next reason ..
Heat - being a polycarbonate, acrylic will warp in extreme temperatures.
Storing a print in the boot of your car in the middle of summer is a big no no!
So be careful if you’re displaying in a garage, shed or even entertaining area that can heat up on a hot day.
Cleaning - although incorrect cleaning doesn’t damage the photograph or print itself, it can damage the face of the acrylic.
Acrylic isn’t scratch resistant, so be sure to avoid abrasive cloths, cleaners or solvents.
Mild soapy water or glass cleaners are recommended.
Are Acrylic Prints Waterproof?
Also, regular cleaning is recommended rather than allowing dirt to accumulate, especially in outdoor areas where a BBQ or smoker is used.
Grease & build up is harder to remove the longer it sits on the print.
I know tests have been done on acrylic photo prints that have shown they will last longer than a canvas print or an archival photographic print.
That’s at least 40 years, & in really good conditions up to 100 years.
A professionally printed acrylic print should be good for decades in the right conditions.
Choosing An Acrylic Print To Last A Lifetime
So how do you make sure your print is going to last?
If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’re probably already rolling your eyes!
But it’s true .. buy a quality print to begin with.
Professional print labs use high grade acrylic, top quality inks & mounting materials.
Some labs will even use UV resistant inks & if not, request they do.
It may cost a tad more, but if you want archival quality it’s worth it.
Displaying your print & protecting it from environmental damage, there really is no reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying it for decades to come.
The colour & depth of acrylic prints is really quite stunning.
Because they don't require framing & look amazing as a modern piece of wall art is another reason to consider these types of prints.
The fact that they can last decades is another good reason to either print or purchase an acrylic photo print.
If you'd like to explore this style of print even further, I've written a complete guide on acrylic photo prints.
I hope you found value in this article, remember sharing is caring.