Getting the Best Wood Print Possible

We have been producing wood prints for a while now. We recently made some changes to a maple wood veneer panel. The new prints allow us to produce a superior quality product which is more durable and has greater image saturation and detail. Our natural wood maple panels, are ready to display. The back of the panels includes a pre-cut keyhole, so it will hang flush on any wall.
At a little more than ½” thick these panels are an ideal choice for many applications and settings without the need to be framed. The refined natural wood sides give it that finished look you require. With wood prints your image is sublimated / fused directly onto the surface. It allows for incredible detail to show while also having the wood grain look required. The surface can be dusted or even cleaned with a soft damp rag without danger of scratching or harming the image. But even with these improvements some of the same practices apply to produce the best wood print possible.

A this time we have about 8 very popular sizes. These range from 5×7 which are perfect for a table top display to 30×40 which is ideal over any large wall space. You can see and order these at the following link:

View & Order Wood Prints

So, how do you know if your image will look good on wood or not? All the images we initially tested and made into our new wood prints have looked fantastic! But we have seen some images really stand out above others. It has nothing to do with the image quality of the artwork or the photography. It has to do with the tones in the image. Fortunately we have invested a lot of time in testing the process which allows me to share with you what we have learned. If that is not enough, our print setup tool attempts to simulate a wood print before you order it so you can get a bit of a preview to help you decide.

Let’s first look at what really helps a photograph or artwork take advantage of the wood textures and grains that you want to show in your wood print. Images with a lot of whites or lighter colors will work best if your desire is to show the wood pattern. Images where you have darker tones may start to cover up the natural wood texture so if it it has black or really dark colors, you may not see the wood pattern very well.

The reason lighter colors show the wood pattern better is  because the way printers work. With some exceptions, most printers don’t print with white ink. At least this is the case in the photo and art printing world. Rather than printing white, these printers rely on the whiteness of the paper the image is being printed on. A classic example is when you print a gray-scale image such as black and white photograph. With that black and white you can sometimes get a warmer tone to the print on certain papers over others if the paper you are making your print on is too off-white.  First you won’t have any pure whites because the wood is not white. But this is what we want to make a wood print in the first place. We want the the hue of the underling wood with the natural wood pattern to be visible to some extent. Keep this fact about whites in mind with wood prints. Even though we are not printing direct to wood but instead sublimating and image to it via heat and pressure, any whites in the image don’t transfer.

As previously mentioned, where you loose the ability to show some of this potential wood hue and natural wood pattern is with an image that may have a lot of dark colors. For instance, when we were first testing the development of wood prints, we produced a number of test prints using various imagery from our stock imagery and staff created collections. It allowed us to see how different types of images would look. One particular image was an abstract art piece. The tones tended toward either deep red, browns and blacks with a few hi-lights in yellow and white. White the print came out looking really nice it did not really show the underlying wood. Because of that I would have probably been better off just printing it on one of our fine art papers and then mounting it on masonite.

So what kind of images look great on wood? Here are some examples of what I think looks really good:

  • Photos and portraits taken with lots of light
  • Illustrations or line drawings
  • Artwork on pure white backgrounds (my favorite)
  • Paintings with bright colors

Photo and portraits taken with lots of light

These give the photo a very vintage look. If this is of interest to you, you will notice the image takes on a somewhat sepia tone. Not completely but just enough of a hint. Because the wood is somewhat yellow in color, you colors are influenced by this yellow tone.

Illustrations or line drawings

These look incredible. It gives the artwork a look as if it was created directly on the wood itself. While making an interesting piece to frame or display, we are already seeing what we suspect are artists intending to simply use these as under paintings which they will later hi-light or paint over with actual paints.

Artwork on pure white backgrounds (my favorite)

Think of say a flower by itself with white in the background. Or a seashell which one customer just did the other day. It looked really incredible. The artwork was centered on the wood print but the white background was not visible. I could see a series of wood prints done displaying various subject matter.

Paintings with bright colors

A good example of on our site is a faerie sitting on a log in a forest. The background sky was a very light shade of color so the natural wood texture coincidentally looked like clouds. Again, you want the wood to show up so if you have too many dark colors, you won’t be able to take advantage of this as intended.

The bottom line is any image can look good on wood but if you want your wood pattern to show up make sure you have images with a good balance of brights, mid-tones and darks. Artworks and photos that best take advantage of the underlying wood patterns will have lots of lighter colors.

Now if this is not enough information for you how about simulating the entire wood print process. It is actually quite easy with a program like Photoshop. We will have to do a video tutorial later on this but for those somewhat versed in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements simply locate or even create a wooden like pattern, complete with a small amount of yellowish hue. Then drag the image  you want to print on top. This should create a layer over your wood background. Set this image layer as “multiply” and it will make your lighter tones turn translucent so the wood pattern underneath shows. Use this to get a general idea because each wood panel will be a little different from each other.

A couple things I want to point out to the very color conscientious. Let’s be realistic. If you are after that specific shade of blue, orange or green that you spent hours trying to tweak and get right on your screen,  you won’t necessarily get it in a wood print. A wood print is not going to be accurate because the wood being printed on can vary. While we currently only offer birch hardwood, slight variations in it’s natural hue will occur. While I am not an expert, I know this can be attributed to things such as the age of the wood and even where the wood originated.  So if you tend to get hung up on colors, don’t with wood prints since you can never predict how the underlying wood will will affect the color. Finally on a similar note, you can’t soft proof a wood print. Soft proofing relies on a white point of the paper or media the image is being printed to. Since we can’t create a color profile with a consistent white point on wood, it is impossible to provide you one.

Hopefully this will give you some insight on wood prints. If you want to test the concept out with your artwork or photography, feel free to start off with something small. I will be surprised if you are disappointed.  Be sure to let us know what you think of your wood prints when you get them so we can share your own insights with others.

Wood Prints FAQs

Drop Shipping & Order Fulfillment

Yes. When checking out, you would enter your friend or family address information as the “Ship To” destination. You can also request drop shipping on the final review page which will tell us not to include any purchase information. With the drop ship option selected a generic packing slip is included which does not reflect price. In addition, we will print your billing address on the return address label and not include any mention of FinerWorks.

No. Only one shipping destination can be entered per order, although we will ship anywhere you wish us to ship.

Yes you can. Use our Order Status and Tracking page, or simply refer to your shipment confirmation. When and order is shipped we will send you an e-mail indicating your order has been successfully processed and is on it’s way. There will also be a link to view your order status and get the tracking number for your order. The majority of the time you can click the tracking number itself to see its current location and estimated date of arrival.

Prints shipping from our San Antonio production headquarters  are usually delivered by either USPS or UPS. In most cases, mounted prints ship via UPS, but this will ultimately be dependent upon print size. Prints sized greater than 16×20 may also be shipped via UPS. Otherwise smaller prints are shipped via the U.S. Postal Service. 
 
Prints shipping from our partner facilities will be delivered by various carriers including UPS, FEDEX and UPS. 
 
International shipments will be delivered by various carriers.

With the exception of stretched and mounted canvas, your print should arrive sealed in a clear (plastic) print sleeve. These print sleeves are intended solely for the purpose of added protection during transport. If you wish to obtain print sleeves for your own personal inventory, you can order print sleeves here. They are ideal for protecting your work from finger prints, smudging, dust and scratches as a result of casual handling or storage while also increasing the perceived value of the print.

For Canvas and Art Paper Prints shipped from our San Antonio Print Studio: For mounted prints we usually ship via UPS. Prints with a overall sheet size (print size plus borders) greater than 15×19 may also be shipped via UPS. Otherwise customers can choose U.S. Postal Service options. We package all prints carefully protecting them with corrugated sheets, clear plastic sleeves and kraft paper. Prints with a total sheet size of 20×30 or larger will be shipped rolled in a tube unless it is mounted. Otherwise all prints are shipped flat.

For digital prints and products shipped from our Atlanta Pro Lab, prints are shipped via UPS or via the US Postal Service. We have a separate shipping rate schedule for prints shipping from the Atlanta lab. Prints are shipped either flat or rolled, dependent upon shipping method selected, destination and items being ordered.

Below is a quick guide to determine if tracking is going to be available. In most cases it is yes

  • Economy (Yes) *
  • Standard (Yes)
  • Express (Yes)
  • International(Yes**)

When your order is shipped we will send you an e-mail informing you that it is on it’s way. There will also be a link to view your order status and get the tracking number for your order. The majority of the time you can click the tracking number itself to see where it is at and estimated date of arrival.

*Our Atlanta photo lab in some cases will use the most inexpensive shipping method to keep rates down for small orders like photo prints. which are using Economy shipping. Because of that tracking services may not always be available for very small orders that weight less than 13oz.

**International orders rely on the destination country and shipping method. In many cases for small orders tracking might end once it reaches it's last stop before leaving the U.S.

No. You will not pay more to use our order fulfillment services. Just order as usual, and don’t forget to mark your order “Drop ship” at the end of your order.

If you are unable to locate a recent order in your order history, it is likely you may not have been logged into your accounbt prior to placing your order. To fix this, simply contact us and we will be happy to add the unassigned order to your account for you.

If you intend to have us fulfill your print order sales, it may be a good idea to mirror our shipping rates. Read more

 

If you plan on using us to fulfill your order you should check the shipping page for shipping rates to determine the shipping cost and charge accordingly. Also consider reviewing our blog post titled What to Charge Your Customers for Shipping.

FinerWorks offers free drop shipping services for any of our customers. It can be selected as an option at checkout or is selected automatically if you have a business registered within your account and have uploaded a logo.

Anyone can use our order fulfillment services. For answers to questions regarding this topic, how it works, and what it entails, check out our order fulfillment guide.

Absolutely. Our goal is to represent you, and we wouldn’t be doing that very well if we didn’t advertise your brand for you! Find out how to add your logo to your account here.

In many instances we do. Contact us ahead of time to discuss special packaging needs and/or inserts.

Dependent upon the what is to be inserted, we can setup a method of doing this if you are ordering on a daily and sometimes weekly basis. Contact us ahead of time to discuss special packaging needs and/or inserts.

The packing slip will not display any prices or FinerWorks information. In addition, the return address on the shipping label has the name, company and address you entered in the billing phase of your check out. If you want to see how this looks for yourself, just check the drop ship option the next time you place an order (even if ordering for yourself).

If you have registered with FinerWorks there is an area within your account where you can save your business information such as the company name, department or contact person and address. As long as you have added your business, we will use this information as the sender in place of your order’s billing information.

When you are registered with FinerWorks and login to your account, you will see an area in which you can enter business information. Included here is the ability to upload a logo. This will serve two purposes. One, it will cause your orders to automatically have the drop ship option checked (you can always uncheck this on the order review page if you don’t want the order drop shipped) and second it will make any drop shipped orders include your logo. Your logo will be displayed both on the packing slip. For canvas and art paper prints ordered through our San Antonio location we also will include a label on the outside of the shipping package with your logo. Visit our YouTube channel to see how to upload your logo to your account.

When you login to your account visit the quick checkout page. This stores the billing and shipping information you intend to use for your orders. When it comes time to placing an order, your checkout page will be populated with this information. Obviously if you do not anticipate shipping your orders to the same customer each time, you may want to leave the “Shipping” fields blank. While about 30% of our drop shippers use PayPal you can also opt to keep a credit card on file. If keeping a card on file be aware that we don’t store the actual card number beyond the expiration date and last 4 digits, but instead a payment access token generated by the payment processor which can only be used when you order on this site.

Your Account offers you the ability to store a finite number of images based upon your account type. You can categorize these in various custom galleries you setup. Adding images is quite simple. After logging in, go to the “My Images” link which will take you to a batch uploading tool. Select the image files you want to upload and they will be uploaded to your account. You can order prints from these image anytime you want so you do not have to re-upload them each time. This saves a lot of time, especially if you have large image files. These uploads will be stored securely and inaccessible to the public. Whenever you place an order for a print from one of these images, a copy of your high resolution image will be forwarded to our production department for printing.

Creating a virtual inventory of prints (or cards) you think you will be ordering on a regular basis can save you a lot of time later on. Once you have uploaded images to your account in your personal galleries, you can setup individual giclee prints or cards with different size and styles. These will be stored in “My Prints Inventory“. When you need to have an order drop shipped to your customer, just go there and add the print you need to your cart. It saves you the time because you won’t have to go through the entire print setup process each time you want to order that print.

If you are based outside of the U.S. and want your order drop shipped, we recommend you enter your business information within your account but use our address. This prevents confusion and potential problems which can occur with the shipping service or even customs. This also helps us since we must use a U.S. based address on the customs forms.

You can login to the order status page or go to your order history (if you have an account). Toward the bottom of the copy of the order we will post your tracking number for orders shipping from our San Antonio printing center, usually shortly after your order is shipped.

Whenever we ship an order we will send an e-mail notice to the e-mail address you provided in your billing information. This email will include a link where you can access a copy of this order as well as tracking information when made available. Note that orders shipped from our partner lab may not always have tracking information available.

Print’s being lost or damaged during shipping is rare however it does happen on occasion (less than 1% of orders are ever reported to us). If this occurs, please contact us by e-mail or phone via our contact page so that we can make arrangements as required. In some instances of damaged prints, UPS will pickup the damaged print so make sure you tell your customer to make it available in the original package for pickup by UPS. With lost prints, we may require an additional several days depending on the time frame the order was shipped in the instance an order is running late or transit information has not been updated by the courier.

Yes. When you place your order, the final review page has a box where you can include comments. These will be printed on the packing slip. Please note, this box only allows for text and letters so you will not be able to enter links to web sites and html.

Contact us if you expect to be submitting orders on a regular basis that need to be shipped to your customers. We offer this on a case by case basis, determined by sales volume. We can also work with you on developing private label boxes, company inserts, brochures, business cards and flyers.

If you a history of placing a substantial number of orders on a weekly basis at regular intervals we would love to discuss with you various discount programs we can offer based upon the options you plan to order. We will also gauge this on size and style of prints as well as volume.

We offer a 30 day money back or replacement guarantee for everyone. If in the rare instance your customer decides they need to return the print, you have two options: One is to make arrangement to have them send it to you where you can choose to keep or resell it. The other option is to contact us so that we can provide return instructions. Contact us within 30 days of placing your order and we will work with you on refunding or reprinting  the order as necessary. Please visit our returns page for more details.

No. VAT or Value Added Tax is something not currently applicable in the United States where FinerWorks is located. If you are not based in the U.S. and subject to paying VAT, then this would be your responsibility outside of your purchase from FinerWorks. If you have additional questions about VAT please consult a tax specialist regarding VAT.

We only charge sales tax if your billing or shipping address is in the State of Texas. If you are outside the State of Texas but you have a customer in Texas you will be charged sales tax unless you are registered with FinerWorks as “Tax Exempt”. Contact us for instructions on making sure your account is tax exempt for orders being shipped to Texas.

  1. Account holder will need to enter their business information within their account so that we can later make it tax exempt.
  2. Provide a valid Texas Sales Tax ID (apply here) or other valid  U.S. state sales tax id.
  3. E-mail us a completed and signed copy of the Texas Sales and Use Tax Resale Certificate / Exemption Certification . Note that if your Tax ID number is outside of the State of Texas, please enter it in the second tax id field below the one for the Texas field.

Please note the following: If you have received a permit for sales tax as described above we cannot refund sales tax charges for previously placed orders. Also, we cannot accept tax exempt forms from other states since they may not be recognized by the State of Texas.

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