What Is An Acrylic Print? (Beginner's Guide to Acrylic Prints!)

Posted on 27 June 2019

what is an acrylic print

There’s no doubt about it — acrylic prints are the modern and trendy way to display your art! There’s a lot that goes into finding the perfect wall art for your home and if you’re considering acrylic prints, there’s a few things you should know before you dive in and purchase them! There are a lot of advantages of acrylic prints as well as disadvantages of acrylic prints. However, before we can get into those, it is important to understand what is an acrylic print, different types of printing methods for wall art, and how to print on acrylic. 


What Is An Acrylic Print?

what is an acrylic print

First things first: what is an acrylic print? An acrylic print is a medium for wall art and is referred to by several different names. For instance, Plexiglass, Lucite and Perspex are all brand names of the acrylic material. To really understand what is an acrylic print, it is helpful to differentiate this wall art style from the three other common wall art styles: giclee, metal and canvas. 

Different Types of Printing Methods

different types of printing methods

There are four different types of printing methods for wall art. 

1. Giclee

Giclee prints are made when images are printed using inkjet printers, resulting in high color saturation and high quality images. Giclee printing is commonly used by artists who want to recreate or mass produce their original artworks, since this printing technique really does justice to the original artwork.

For more information regarding giclee prints, check out our blog post What Is a Giclee Print (Beginner’s Guide).

2. Acrylic

Acrylic photo prints, or acrylic prints, take an image printed on high quality photo paper and protect it with an acrylic sheet (face mounting method). This acrylic sheet protects the image from warping, scratching or fading over time. 

3. Metal

Also referred to as Dibond, metal printing describes the process of sandwiching a foam core between two sheets of metal (usually aluminum). Aluminum is lightweight and lower cost than other metals, making it the best metal to use for wall art. The image is printed directly onto the aluminum metal, leaving you with a sturdy product that won’t soon warp or fade. 

4. Canvas

Canvas prints are great for making a statement in your home without breaking the bank. The fabric material, inks and framing technique is really what differentiates high quality canvas prints from low quality canvas prints. Check out the materials we use here at Canvas Vows!

For more information on canvas prints, check out our blog post Types of Canvas Prints!

How To Print on Acrylic

how to print on acrylic

To really know what is an acrylic print, it is helpful to know the process and construction of acrylic photo prints. There are two distinct printing processes when it comes to how to print on acrylic. 

#1 Image directly onto acrylic

The first process prints the image directly on the acrylic material. Light refracts through the acrylic glass, giving the image depth and excellent image quality. Then, it is sealed with a white back coating. See the image below for this first printing process.

how to print on acrylic

#2 Image onto paper (AKA face mount)

This second process is more difficult and more expensive, but the overall look once completed is definitely worth it! The image is printed onto paper and is then sandwiched between two acrylic plates and a metal backing. The back acrylic sheet can be black, white or transparent depending on which looks best with the particular image. To give it visual depth, aluminum standoffs are then used to attach the acrylic frame to the wall.

The face mount method provides higher color vibrancy and color permanence. This means that the color is far less prone to fading over time. When the image is printed onto professional grade photo paper, the acrylic face mount makes the photo colors pop. In the right lighting, the refractive quality of the acrylic material illuminates the print behind the acrylic sheet. 


Advantages of Acrylic Prints

advantages of acrylic prints


If you’re concerned about the longevity of your wall art, acrylic prints have an advantage. Acrylic prints are shatter-resistant, provide UV protection to protect your image, and are lighter than glass! Some acrylic prints are even resistant to scratching!


Acrylic photo prints are pretty unique — the process of face mounting professional grade photographic paper between two acrylic sheets is still relatively new, leading to its high price (disadvantage) as well as its incredibly unique look (advantage!). If you’re a photographer looking to make your artwork pop, acrylic photo prints do your photos justice, that’s for sure.

Appearance/Color Vibrancy

Acrylic prints offer a sleek and modern design that looks best in contemporary interior design and home decor. Acrylic is sharp and vibrant and has an edge on canvas prints in some regards. For instance, regarding vibrancy, there is no other wall art display technique that can match the vibrancy of an acrylic face mount. The face mount option definitely takes full advantage of the reflective quality of the acrylic material. 

Why is this? 

Because no light passes through the acrylic print! What happens is the deep, rich colors printed onto the professional grade photo paper are able to maintain their vibrancy without being affected by external debris. 



Disadvantages of Acrylic Prints

disadvantages of acrylic prints


Unfortunately, acrylic prints can get up there in price. If comparing acrylic face mount to a canvas print, a canvas print generally costs about 50% less than an acrylic face mount. Therefore, if you’re on a budget but still want to display your images in your home, canvas prints are an awesome alternative!


Though acrylic prints are durable in that they protect your image for longer, they are also fragile. Additionally, most acrylic prints are not scratch-resistant. This means that, when transporting your acrylic photo prints, you are more likely to get scratches on them than your canvas prints. Canvas prints are also lighter than acrylic photo prints, making them easier to transport than acrylic prints. 


Where to Buy Acrylic Prints Online

where to buy acrylic prints online

If you’re settled on purchasing an acrylic print but not sure who makes high quality acrylic prints, don’t worry! We’re well aware of the struggles of finding high quality wall art and so we’ve put together a post detailing some of the best places to purchase acrylic prints online! (Click on the image above for all you need to know about where to buy acrylic prints online!)

And there you have it!

Absolutely everything you need to know about acrylic prints and what is an acrylic print!

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