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canvas print - gallery wrapReview of the JetMaster canvas print display system

A novel and economic way of displaying canvas prints

Keith has been having a look at the JetMaster mounting system.

An economical way of producing good looking mounted canvas prints, that's ideal for demonstrations, exhibitions and other places where a good looking 'box frame' is required without the trouble of traditional stretching and mounting.

All the prints were made on the Canon iPF6300 printer we've recently been reviewing.

Canvas prints

Regular readers will know that I'm not the greatest fan of seeing my work printed on to canvas - of course that doesn't mean I won't supply it in that form, just I might not want to hang it in my own dining room. There is no denying though, that in some locations a large canvas print works well.

The normal way to mount a print is over a wooden frame, stretching and stapling the canvas to the wood (often called a 'Gallery wrap' or 'box frame'. Whilst not difficult, this takes practice and benefits from specialised equipment to stretch the canvas correctly.

You could just take your print along to a picture framer, but once again, it's not quick or cheap.

How about mounting the print on a cardboard box? I'll admit it sounded a bit odd when I was first shown the process by Wayne of Fine Art FOTO in the UK, at a trade show...

What is the JetMaster System

pack of 3 jetmaster A4 mounts with canvasFirst of all, this is not really intended to be a replacement for the sort of large fine art prints that we might supply to a client for decorative purposes.

Sometimes you just want a picture framed for demonstrations, trade shows and the like.

Using a pre cut and creased sheet of cardboard, you stick your print, trim the corners and fold in to shape.

There is no adhesive required and with sufficient care, the corners look as good as a professionally made mount.

  • Note - I made a mistake in the assembly process and they still came out fine - do read the intructions!

The kits come in a range of sizes, packed flat with all you need to mount a print.

With the smallest A4 print size, the kit even comes with some A4 sheets of thin canvas, all ready to print and attach to the backing.

There's one aspect of such mounting that always causes me issues, and that's the loss of image wrapped round the edge of the frame.

When I make one of our large prints, the precise edge is often an important element in the composition. With a mounting style like this, the edges of your image could easily be lost.

Fortunately there are Photoshop templates available for each print size that enable you to see what parts of an image are 'over the edge'.

Instructions and template downloads from JetMaster

There are a number of techniques for mirroring or expanding the area of your image, so as to lessen the problem.

The sample I looked at came in packs of three mounts in their own boxes.

There were 3 sizes:

Do keep the boxes - the box and bubble wrap inside were most useful for placing and cutting the canvas (shown later)

three sizes of JetMaster frames

I had several types of canvas to try, during our testing of the iPF6300 printer.

canvas mounting systems

For two Innova canvas types on rolls, I created some ICC profiles, so as to be able to print colours a bit more accurately.

These targets are scanned and measured with our i1 iSis spectrophotometer. Both canvas types worked very well in the iPF6300, giving a good range of colours on the 'high white' finish canvas. As with most matte finish canvas prints, they can benefit from a coating of varnish/lacquer to improve resilience and depth in the darker colours.

profiling canvas on an iPF6300

A4 canvas test printOne of the issues when printing an A4 sheet of canvas, is the size of the printer margins.

With the Canon iPF6300, this leaves the white gap at the bottom of the print.

The A4 print mount loses the largest proportion of your print area.

The overall size you end up with is just over 8.5" x 5"

You might be tempted to just print your image and leave the surround white.

It's easy to do with the supplied template and looks to be a solution.

The print is placed on the cardboard sheet and after trimming, folded.

It's very easy to do, although as the second photo below shows, not quite so easy to get right with the big white border.

The adhesive on the card does allow re-positioning, but even after several attempts, the results were not inspiring for the white border.

The black bordered flower print was just fine however.

A4 canvas prints ready for mounting

My first two test prints.

finished JetMaster A4 prints

With a bit more practice I've produced decent looking versions at 12" x 16" and 16" x 20"

three sizes of JetMaster canvas print

The sequence of photos below show the steps in creating a 16" x 20" print.

I've printed on a 24" roll of the light IFA-32 'Decor' canvas. You can also see how I've expanded the image size by mirroring some of the original image.

First the canvas is carefully stuck to the card (it has a peel away plastic film).

mounting a print - 1

Next I trim the corners.

Note how I've used the supplied packaging to give a surface that won't damage the print.

mounting a print - 2

Turning the print over, I make sure it's firmly stuck, and fold over the first edge.

mounting a print - 3

Second edge - taking care to fold in the corners (the small white triangles of canvas you can see above)

mounting a print - 4

Third edge

mounting a print - 5

After the final side of the mount, I check all the corners and use the supplied sticky triangles to hold the corners,

mounting a print - 6

The final bit of cardboard is folded.

mounting a print - 7

This fits inside the frame and sticks to the inside with exposed areas of the original sticky surface.

  • Note - when I assembled the print, I got the insert upside down. I did try to remove the inserts to re-shoot the pics, but they'd stuck too well. The prints were pretty robust as I'd made them, but I'm told that if I'd put the centre in correctly, they'd be even more solid!

mounting a print - 8

The print is turned over to admire my handiwork...

mounting a print - finished print

It really is that simple to make.

Finishing prints

One potential problem is that the surface of the prints can easily be scuffed, but a more serious one is that the matte finish of the printed canvas lacks depth - particularly with the black backgrounds.

A trip to the local art store (or in my case, car spares shop) will find spray cans of lacquer or varnish that can be sprayed over your prints.

If you are not used to this, do read the instructions about getting the best finish - several light coats usually work much better than one heavy one. Oh, and read the instructions about ventilation too - the can of car spray I used was Xylene based, which you probably not want to breathe in very much (or smoke nearby)

The effect on the prints is quite noticeable.

Move your mouse pointer over the image to see...

Conclusions

These prints actually look rather good. I have one of my own images conventionally box framed, on the wall in the kitchen - I put one of the flower prints next to it and you can't tell the difference.

inner card fitted to frameVery easy to assemble, with no adhesives or extra mounting accessories needed. If you follow the instructions correctly, they're even more robust than my versions...

  • Correct way to fit inner card -->

Depending on your chosen image, you may find it necessary to spray/coat the prints so as to make them more robust and give more depth to images.

On the wall, they make excellent prints, but handling wise, they feel too light, and a visitor did ask how I'd got a pizza box through the Canon printer ;-)

  • Do remember though, that I'm a fine art printer who produces work aimed much more at the higher end of the market, where the 'feel' of the mounted print is an element of the whole business...

The lightness is great if you're putting up prints for a display stand, exhibition areas or somewhere that people won't get to handle them.

Buying the JetMaster system.

We make a specific point of not selling hardware, but if you found the review of help please consider buying a pack, or any other items at all, via our link with Amazon
Amazon UK link / Amazon Fr / Amazon De
Amazon USA link / Amazon Canada link

It won't cost any more (nor less we're afraid) but will contribute towards the running costs of our site.


Summary

An innovative method of reliably and economically producing 'Gallery wrap' canvas prints.

Just the solution for exhibitions and shows, where the expense and inconvenience of framing can be avoided.

RRP prices are to be found in the specifications datasheets (one for US, one for UK)

More Info

The views in this article represent those of Keith Cooper.
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