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

Shipping

Size availability is related to the style of print being order. It is best to review our pricing page to see what options are available. All our media (canvas and paper) comes in 44 inch rolls so we are limited to being able to fit the image with any added borders on a roll that size. Visit our pricing page for specific size availability.

Categories: Ordering, Shipping

Shipping Prints Flat

Mounted prints are packaged in oversized corrugated boxes for added protection. Small to mid size paper prints on fine art papers are usually shipped flat if they can safely fit within a 24×30 inch or smaller area touching the sides of the package. Some exceptions may occur with International orders or if the order also contains prints which normally would be rolled.

Shipping Prints Rolled

Unmounted canvas, regular photo stock prints and and posters will be shipped rolled. Fine art paper prints that are too large to ship flat to be shipped flat (see above) will be shipped in a sturdy corrugated shipping tube.

Shipping non-prints

Other products such as coffee gifts and keepsakes, stationary, etc, will be shipped in various types of packaging.

Drop Shipped Print Orders (Example)

Check out an illustration of a drop shipped canvas here, or a drop shipped paper print here. We package all prints carefully protecting them with corrugated sheets, plastic or foam sleeves and craft paper. Prints which are 20×30 or larger will be shipped rolled in a tube unless it is mounted. Otherwise all prints are shipped flat. Digital prints and products shipped from our Atlanta Pro Lab, will arrive via UPS, the US Postal Service, or Fedex. 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.

 
Categories: Ordering, Shipping

Fine art prints and canvas rates from our San Antonio based headquarters are based on a predefined amount which means you pay one rate regardless of quantity. Items shipping from our Atlanta photo lab will be based on volume and order's contents. Your order''s contents and shopping cart will show you where your order is shipping from. You can also see what shipping options and cost are availble to you when you have items in your shopping cart.

Please note that some shipping options may not be available where print size exceeds the measurements the packaging can hold. In cases of oversized packages (usually when they contains multiple mounted canvas prints measuring 30×40 or larger) additional shipping charges may be required, however the customer will be notified in advance prior to processing the order. 

View shipping rates and learn more about shipping rates for digital prints and products here.

 

Categories: Ordering, Shipping

Production usually is an average of 1-3 business days (some very large orders may take longer) but shipping transit time is based on the shipping option you chose. To see transit time information view our shipping page and look up the various shipping options.

Categories: Ordering, Shipping

Yes. Rush options are often available for giclee print orders, depending upon print size and destination. To find out if your package will qualify for rush delivery, view our shipping page. If rush options are not available to you at checkout, contact us to determine whether your package may still be eligable for expedited shipment. Digital prints and products may be rushed. Cost for rushing digital prints and projects can only be calculated during the checkout process. 

Categories: Ordering, Shipping

Since many of our customers often work with deadlines, we offer USPS  Express w/ Rush Processing service. This allows us to intercept the order so that it will be moved up the line to get out the door quicker. The order is diverted from the regular production schedule and a production specialist is assigned to it to personally see that it is given top priority, even if it means we dedicate an entire print run of it's own. Ready to ship the following day (excluding holidays and weekends) if order placed before 3PM Central Time via Express Mail (1-2 biz days transit time). Max Paper Print Dimensions (print size plus border size): 15×19 inches. 

Categories: Ordering, Shipping

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.

Production takes on average of 1-4 business days and shipping is based upon the shipping option you chose. View our turnaround page and shipping page for details.

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 dropship 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

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.

We utilize clear plastic print sleeves for added safety and protection during the transport of your print. The print sleeves used for packing are not intended for re-use. Often because of the amount of tape used to secure the print sleeve for safe travel, the print sleeve is not salvageable.  If you wish to obtain usable clear print sleeves, you can order them here.

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

Please see our turnaround time page for time frame details.

Categories: Frame, Ordering, Shipping

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.

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.

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