How to Frame Metal Prints for a Professional Look

Metal prints are exactly what you’ve been looking for if you’ve been on the lookout for a contemporary method to display your photographs in high-definition quality and eye-catching color. On a computer screen, it is difficult to convey the advantages that come with using metal prints. But if you were to see them in person alongside a conventional photo print, you would be able to tell the difference between the two; it is the one that causes your mouth to drop open. If you are getting ready to show off that incredible shot, here is what you need to know in order to do so successfully.

Table of Contents

  • Challenges of Hanging Metal Prints
  • Finish Options
  • What to look for: Quality
  • How is a metal print made?
  • Benefits
  • Where to buy?
  • Conclusion

Challenges of Hanging Metal Prints

Those who are enchanted by the sheen, longevity, and one-of-a-kindness of metal prints may run into just one obstacle, which is figuring out how and where to hang them. Prints made of metal are, fortunately, simple to frame and hang, provided that you have the appropriate equipment, sufficient knowledge, and the appropriate area.

The method of dye sublimation is utilized in the production of the metal prints that we are discussing. There are also options available for printing on metal that involve a direct printing process. These are typically printed using a flatbed printer. When compared to dye-sublimation metal prints, the surface of these items is typically more prone to damage, including scratching and other types of wear and tear. They might not have the same resistance to fading as dye-sublimation metal prints because it depends on the type of ink that is used. You can still frame them without using glass or any other type of glazing, but you should exercise increased caution.

Dye-sublimation metal prints can be purchased with or without a hanging block, which is a rectangular piece of metal or wood that has small slots for nails or screws and is attached to the back of the print. Other names for this block include a mounting block or float mount. You also have the option of ordering certain prints with four pre-drilled holes in each corner of the paper. These prints can be hung on the wall using small metal posts that are attached to the back of the print. Both of these kinds of prints can be hung on the wall right away, and they will create the impression that the piece of artwork is “floating” off the wall in the same way that a floater frame does.

Two dye-sublimation metal prints that have backings made of Chromaluxe self-adhesive Aluminum Shadow Mount.

When you hang a metal print with four posts, the print cannot be easily moved once it is hung; once it is on the wall, it will not be moved again. This is one of the drawbacks of this method. In addition, rather than making just one or two holes in the wall, you will need to make four, holes that can either be covered by a larger frame or by patching the holes themselves. When you use the hanging block, on the other hand, you are limited to a single aesthetic option, which is floating, which may not be compatible with a more conventional approach to interior design.

Metal prints can be hung in a frame even if they come with a hanging block or holes that have been pre-drilled for the purpose of hanging the print.

It is important to keep in mind that the edges of a metal print may become scratched if the print is framed in metal because metal will be in contact with metal. In order to remedy this problem, apply a layer of self-adhesive frame sealing tape to the interior of the picture frame at the point where the print makes contact with the metal picture frame.

Wood frames will eliminate the possibility of scratching, but they will still require a backing board for support and to protect the metal print from the flexible metal “points” that are used to secure the art and backing. Remember to take into consideration the thickness of the metal print as well as the backing board, regardless of the type of frame that you decide to use.

Finish Options

Metal prints are available with two different base color coatings: a white that is opaque and a clear that is transparent. Paper would serve the same purpose as this base coat if it were applied. This particular region of the specialized metal photo panel is responsible for soaking up the inks. This base is then covered in an outer coating, which can typically be glossy, matte, or satin, depending on the desired effect.

White Metal, which is the more popular option, features an appearance that is classic yet lively. The colors are vibrant, and the contrast is strong. The colors appear, for the most part, as you would expect them to appear; however, they are enhanced and presented in High Definition.

Clear Metal, also known as Silver Metal, is a nail polish that has a base that is transparent, which reveals the brushed aluminum underneath. Images will appear darker than they actually are because the metal itself is the lightest color available (the white point). However, it will have a gleam that can only be created by metal. In my opinion, it gives the majority of images a contemporary yet retro appearance. Images in black and white on transparent metal have the appearance of daguerreotypes from the 19th century. It’s a very unique look.

Following the application of a base coating, a protective polymer outer coating is then applied. Each of the three available finishes—glossy, matte, and satin—creates a very distinctive appearance. The glossiest finish is both the most preferred and the one that draws the most attention. The most vibrant colors are brought out in metal prints by using this finish, despite the fact that there is some glare. The matte finish has the least amount of shine and contrast of any of the three. Satin is neither glossy nor matte, but it is somewhere in between the two extremes.

What to look for: Quality

The quality of the metal photo panels and the experience of the print service provider are the two primary factors that determine the quality of the metal photo prints produced.

It may come as a surprise to learn that the quality of the metal photo panels can vary significantly. Discount services such as some that can be found on Groupon use inferior materials that are only vaguely similar to those used in metal prints produced by professionals. These panels can be extremely thin, and the colors may have an inaccurate and monotone appearance. It is impossible to achieve great quality without using aluminum of a high standard and base coatings that are applied consistently. Chromaluxe is the only brand of metal photo panel that is used by professional photo labs and printers of the highest quality, despite the fact that there are many other brands of metal photo panels of lower quality. Inquire without fail with your printer about the make and model of the metal panels that they stock. You should look elsewhere if they don’t know the answer.

How is a metal print made?

Dye sublimation is the method that is used to create prints made of metal. In contrast to the conventional method of printing directly on the surface, also known as surface printing, which can easily become damaged, dye sublimation infuses the image directly into the tough coating so that it is both long-lasting and protected.

Your image needs to be printed on paper transfer media using specialized sublimation inks that are made specifically for the metal print process using a giclee printer as the first step in the process. The print will have the appearance of a colored flat copy that is a mirror image of the original image.

After that, the sheet is affixed with tape to a blank metal photo panel, which is subsequently put into a heat press. The inks used for sublimation turn into gas as a result of the heat and pressure applied to them. After this, the gas penetrates the pores of the polymer coating on the metal, where it is then absorbed into the base coating. When the metal is allowed to cool, the pores in the surface of the metal will close, and it will become more stable.


Metal prints provide additional benefits, in addition to the obvious improvement in image quality.

Metal prints offer great value. You can make significant savings on framing costs, which are typically much higher than the price of the print itself, thanks to the fact that metal photo prints do not require framing. You can have wall decor that is ready to hang at a fraction of the cost of a custom framed traditional photo print if it is ordered with a wall mount for a nominal fee (ranging from $5 to $10).

Metal prints have superior longevity as well as the ability to be archived. The surface coating is exceptionally durable and resistant to scratching. It is not necessary to cover it with any kind of glass. In addition to that, they are exceptionally resistant to fading. So, how long do prints made on metal hold up? According to research conducted by the Rochester Institute of Technology, metal prints can last up to four times longer than archival silver halide photographic prints, which can remain intact for approximately 40 years.

Metal prints are also water resistant because they are printed on aluminum rather than paper. If something other than your fingerprints gets on it, all you need to do is wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Where to get metal prints

Metal prints are not inexpensive, despite the fact that they offer excellent value. They will be significantly more expensive than an ordinary print of the same size would. Instead of going to some clueless big box reseller who sends your order out to some off-site unknown mass production print plant, you would be much better off going to a competent professional lab or printer that knows what they are doing. This is because you will be spending more money. There will be a disparity in cost between different service providers. If you want to find someone who is willing to assist you in obtaining what you want, steer clear of the really inexpensive places and use the tips that are mentioned here instead.


It is recommended that you frame your metal prints so that they can be displayed in any room and draw attention to themselves. You are able to find the perfect frame that will enhance the appearance of your print and display it in an attractive manner, regardless of whether you choose to frame it using wood or aluminum. You should now have all the information necessary to begin the process of framing your own pieces thanks to the tips on framing metal prints that were provided. What exactly are you looking forward to? Spend some time investigating the various framing options available until you find one that satisfies both your aesthetic preferences and your financial constraints. Good luck!

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