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What Is a Metal Print: Comprehensive Guide
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What Is a Metal Print: Comprehensive Guide

If you’re getting tired of those traditional prints, and having metallic prints on the walls of your home sounds like an idea, then you’ve come to the right place. Metal photo prints use a special printing process that involves complex pieces of art being transferred to metal surfaces.

There are plenty of sources out there that create custom metal prints with some truly stunning designs. If this sounds like a piece of art that you’re interested in, keep reading, because we’re about to discover why metallic prints make for such a popular choice for virtually any type of image.


What is a Metal Photo Print?

A metal photo print, otherwise known as a metallic print, is when an image is printed directly onto a metal surface, often aluminum sheets.

The process involves using special transfer paper and the use of pressure and heat to transfer the ink from the paper onto a coated aluminum sheet.

We'll take a closer look at this process further below. Although there are some with matte finishes, many people enjoy metallic prints for their glossy finish and vivid colors.


Pros and Cons of Metal Prints

Creating wall art using a metal sheet can create a truly inspiring scene, and yes, there are plenty of premium products out there that can turn your home into a perfect example of modern design. Let’s first determine why metal prints make for such an excellent choice.


  • Metal prints are known for their durability, as they can resist physical damage, UV light, and water alike, which means that they can be used for both indoor and outdoor purposes.
  • What stands out about metal photo prints is that they feature really vibrant colors and bold colors. It’s the kind of artwork that you can see from great distances, much better than most other types of prints, whether acrylic prints or canvas prints.
  • Metal prints are also ideal because they don't require a whole lot of maintenance or protection. All you have to do is use a damp cloth (make sure it’s a non-abrasive cloth) to wipe them down, and that's about it.
  • Metal photo prints also provide a much more modern aesthetic, much more so than wooden frames do.
  • Although metal might sound heavy, the sheets of aluminum used for these purposes are generally quite lightweight, and therefore easy to hang.
  • Digital illustrations can be used to create stunning metal art, with putting your personal photos on metal being another option.
  • Metal print sizes can vary greatly, so you should always be able to find one that suits any space in your home.


  • When compared to other print types, metal photo prints can be quite expensive.
  • Many people might not like how metallic photo prints can end up being very glossy and reflective, which in some cases makes them undesirable. That metallic finish might render your favorite photo or piece of art impossible to see due to the reflectivity, a problem that only a metal material suffers from. This is not an issue that you would experience with a canvas material.
  • What also stands out about metal prints is that although the aluminum metal surface can look very nice and have great aesthetic appeal, the surface types are limited. It’s hard to create a complex textured surface with aluminum panels, more so than with other print types, such as with oil paintings on canvas.
  • Although metal is a durable material, it can still get dented.


What Looks Good on Metal Prints?

One of the benefits of metal prints is that so many things look good on them, including the following.


A favorite type of art to put on a piece of metal is a landscape. Landscape art can look extremely beautiful, and landscapes can have their panoramic design taken to a whole new level, and it can look quite realistic.

Architectural Images

Architectural photography tends to feature really clean presentation and sharp lines, which works well on metallic prints.

Anything with High Contrast

Really any kind of photo or image that features a high level of contrast combined with bright and vivid colors tends to look good on a metal sheet, because the material helps to increase the overall depth and brightness of the image.

Black and White Photography

Black and white photography features a whole lot of contrast, and those details can really pop out on a metal surface. White images tend to look particularly stunning, making white metal prints one of the most popular options of all that can be made at print labs.


6 Creative Display Ideas for Metal Prints

Although we aren’t going to go into detail here, there are plenty of things that you can do with those artistic metal panels. There’s a wide variety of creative things you can do with a metal print picture.

  • Floating shelves
  •  A gallery wall
  • A backlit display
  • An outdoor piece
  • A layered appearance
  • Hanging from the ceiling


How Are Metal Prints Made?

If you are wondering how metal prints are made, the process is quite straightforward. First, a high-res digital image is edited and finalized, which is then printed onto special paper using a dye-sublimation printer.

Sheets of aluminum are then coated with a polymer that allows the ink from the transfer paper to adhere to the metal. The paper is then pressed onto the coated metal, and both heat and pressure are applied. The image is pressed onto the metal sheet, it is allowed to cool down.


How to Choose the Best Metal Prints for Your Home

When choosing a metal print for your home, there are a few factors that you should consider, including the following.

  • Consider the aesthetic appeal you are looking to achieve, and consider the colors that are already present in the room. Do you want something matching or contrasting?
  • You can choose your metal prints based on the subject matter. Some people like architecture, landscapes, portraits, and so on.
  • Pay attention to the size of the wall or space you want to put the metal print in. Both larger and smaller metal prints can serve specific purposes.
  • Consider how the lighting in the room will make the metal look. Having direct lighting is often not ideal due to the glossy nature of metal art prints.



What Metal is Used in Metal Prints?

The most common metal used for making metal prints is aluminum.

Will Metal Photo Prints Rust?

Aluminum metal photo prints should not rust, as aluminum is highly rust resistant. The polymer coating used for the transfer process helps to increase overall corrosion resistance as well.

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