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Canvas Printing and Mounting on Stretch Bars.... Pricing?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by GeneralJR, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. GeneralJR

    GeneralJR Member

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    Hello,

    I've been running my own sign and print shop for about 6 years now. I have been very blessed and grown a lot over these past years, professionally and personally. I've done a lot of different jobs, some crazy ones and now I've got a big order from a good customer of mine (they have 13 locations) and another smaller order of the same product from another customer (2 locations), for a product I haven't done before. They want me to print and mount on the stretch bars. I will take on this challenge.

    My question is how much should I charge, roughly, of course. Should I charge per Sq/ft or per canvas? What about volume factor? I will give details of the orders:

    First Order: 100 - 4'x6' canvas photo print, mounted on 2.25" stretch bars. The first trial order will be 10 pieces for one of their location. Then 10 more for second location and so on. (just for inside information this customer is no B.S. and whatever we shake hands on is done deal)

    Second Order: 8 different sizes canvas print and mounted on 1" stretch bars. Various sizes from 16"x24" to 36"x72".

    I have a 54" Roland SP540i (4 colors) and a HP z6100 (8 colors) that I can run the job with. The canvas will be in the interior, do I still need to liquid coat it? I've read about clearshield, is it necessary?
    Please keep in mind I am in the southeast, 10 min. from Atlanta, GA. So prices here might no be as high as NY or Chicago, for example.

    Any positive, constructive advice is greatly appreciate! Thanks a lot!
     
  2. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    what you need is called a gallery wrap.

    It's not rocket science, but it's work, and until you've done it, you don't know how well you, or your tools & techniques will turn out to be. I got a job for 3 pieces, on 36" x 36" stretcher bars, which I bought from Dick Blick. I did ok, but it was work...

    ...as for doing 100 pieces (or 10 now, and several more orders of 10) I would never want to work that hard, folding & stapling canvas.

    Do yourself a favor & get a quote from Costco, because chances are your client might eventually run across that option too.
    No need to even print these yourself, since they are dirt cheap at Costco.... except that you might need to deal with their size limitations.
     
  3. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Not much help on the pricing but a follow-on to Doug's "its work" comment.
    If you are going to do a bunch of them something along these lines will speed up the process:
    [video=youtube;H9hVnw51fLM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9hVnw51fLM[/video]
    I made my own corner jigs out of 2x4 corner hangers from Home Depot.
    Instead of cutting the print short I folded it over the backside and backed up the tape with staples.
    (didn't need the glue then).
    They came out tight & straight with clean corners every time after a test or two.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  4. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Once you've done a few gallery wraps it becomes quite simple and only takes a couple of minutes. Assuming you have an air stapler [Harbor Freight, about $35.00], a pair of stretcher pliers [arts and crafts store, about $25.00], and a framing square. After you have a few gallery wraps under your belt you'll find that the Handy-Dandy Gallery Wrapper. the Little Giant Gallery Wrap System, or any of the plethora of proprietary systems are no easier and no faster than just doing it yourself without the assistance of some dubious wrap system. The most of them only exist to sell you their proprietary stretcher bars and any other miscellaneous supplies their system requires. Sort of a corollary to desktop printers being little more than ink vending machines.

    Learn to do it properly by doing a few and you'll never look back.

    As far as coating the prints, absolutely. You'll find that the corners, and to a lesser degree, the edges are prone to casual violence and it doesn't take a whole hell of a lot to abrade the ink right off the canvas in these areas. I use Clear Shield original formula, gloss but it doesn't matter what finish. Coat the print before you wrap it. Even at that, watch the corners. I do wraps on a clean very smooth quilt. That way when you're flipping it around while you're wrapping, you lessen the chance of grinding the ink off a corner or an edge. Even at that, always have a goodly assortment of colored Sharpies in case you need to touch up any minor violences that you might inflict on the print.

    Pricing? What the market will bear of course. Effort-wise, I find doing gallery wrap canvas prints no more difficult nor time consuming than dealing with entire vinyl process for a similarly sized product. I prefer doing the former to doing the latter.
     
  5. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

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    I have made my own gallery wraps for years, and agree with Bob 1000%, don't waste your money on those ready-made kits with plastic corners, also you have to buy their stretcher bars that are not availably in custom sizes.

    I even make my OWN frames (stretcher bars) out of select 1x4 pine from Home Depot, rip a slight bevel with a table saw on the inner front so there is not inner edge touching the canvas.

    Yep, got the pneumatic stapler at Harbor Freight, and the stretching players at Hobby Lobby, as bob mentioned.

    I print smaller gallery wraps on my Epson 4800, and larger wraps on my Roland SP540V, and I do coat the front side of the printed canvas with Sunset Satin coating from Lexjet, both for protection and the nice satin finish it gives the canvas. You can apply the Sunset Coating with a roller, sprayer, or brush, I like the brush finish best, I use random strokes when applying the milky substance and when it dries clear it looks as if the image was hand painted because you can see the slight brush strokes.

    See my post #9 here: http://www.signs101.com/forums/showthread.php?102248-gallery-wrap-materials&highlight=gallery+wraps

    They are a lot of work (more man hours than you think) as mentioned above and no one here can tell you how much to charge, I suggest you print one sample (the average size), make or purchase the stretcher bars, coat the printed canvas, let it dry, staple the canvas to the frame and using stapler and stretching players, learning how to fold the corners correctly (see YouTube). After completing you test gallery wrap you will know how long it took (labor) to create and how much materials cost, and this will give you your actual cost and than add your mark-up.

    The one bad thing about gallery wraps is they are very labor intensive, the only good part is the printing on the canvas, after that is all had labor on the bench till the end. I finish mine off with eye-screws and picture frame wire.
     
  6. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    This is how I make gallery wraps, http://www.cgproprints.com/

    Nothing to it, have to be careful not to cut yourself opening the box.
     
  7. GeneralJR

    GeneralJR Member

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    Wow, thanks a lot for all the great advice. I really appreciate...

    iSign and knucklehead:
    As far as sub it out, I have 4 associates and I've got to keep them busy.... I have to figure it out how to do it, provide them with the material, tools and a quick training and they will make it happen. I think I will still make more money printing it myself. I will check Costco and cgproprints.com wholesale prices just as reference... great tip. Thank you!

    GAC05 and bob:

    Thank you for the great advice and video links, I also think that after we do a few we'd master it and get it better and faster. I have bought some stretch bars (48"s and 72"s) at www.wholesaleartsframes.com, is there anywhere else better/cheaper to buy them???
    I've got the pliers and also will look into the corner jigs out of 2x4 corner hangers from Home Depot. Also great tips about the air stampler from Harbor Freight, haven't thought about that...

    As far as pricing? any idea?

    I've checked at Michaels (just for reference) and they've charged more than $350 each 4'x6'... That's just to mount it, I would have to provide the canvas printed.... no matter quantities, they've got be out of their minds...
    I just want some reference.... I guess I will try to make a few and see how long it takes each and just calculate....


     
  8. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    On your trip to Home Depot walk through their lumber section and see what they have for finishing strips (not sure what the real name is)
    Our local store stocks several sizes that will work for stretcher bars. They are smooth finished and just need to be sized with a miter saw to set the corners.
    There are no framing kits available here so making up my own is the best option with the added benefit of saving money.
    The corner jigs make the stretching & corners (as in the video) idiot proof so I can turn it over to one of the minimum wage drones.......
    If they can weed and mask vinyl they can gallery wrap prints.

    wayne k
    guam usa
     
  9. 1leonchen

    1leonchen Member

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    nice epquiment. all you really need is some fur strips for hardware store. tools needed chop saw, finish nailer, gorilla glue,backing paper and banner tape
     
  10. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Use brick mold[ing]. Use the white primed finger joint material. It's just about the perfect size and shape, comes in lengths up to 16', relatively cheap and it's hell for sturdy. You'll seldom if ever need center braces..

    Cut the corners with a power miter, put a bit of Tite Bond on one side of the joint, put them together accurately, and with your fine new air stapler bridge the joint with three staples on both sides. if you cut the miter and the lengths accurately you won't even need to check for squareness with a framing square as you have to do with slip together corners on commercial stretcher bars. It will be square.
     
  11. knucklehead

    knucklehead Active Member

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    Didn't realize you had to keep the help busy. As long as they have some woodworking skills, I say go for it, see what they bring ya. Are you going to mirror the edges of the prints?

    I've used these strectcher bars before, http://stretcherbardepot.com/index.php They call themselves something else now.
     
  12. Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay?

    Pixels Are Bad Mmmkay? Very Active Member

    This is the best answer I've read thus far. Thanks for the link.
     
  13. AF

    AF Premium Subscriber

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    Brickmould, good one Bob! Same with the stapled mitres, surprisingly few people figure that one out.
     
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