Turn great photos into custom wall coverings
Large-format digital printing is becoming popular as a way to make a home more of a personal space.
The Charlotte Observer
Maybe you traveled to Hawaii and vowed to always remember the shimmering sunsets. Turns out that isn’t so hard, as long as you’ve got great pictures.
Custom wall coverings can put Paris, the Great Pyramids or fall colors of the Great Smoky Mountains on your walls. As a result, large-format digital printing is taking hold as a way to make a generic builder home more of a personal space.
Who needs floral wallpaper when sports and movies are what matter to you? Smaller images also can become a room’s focal point. Used in multiples, your children’s smiling faces or your cat’s paw prints can make a custom pattern.
The same process that provides businesses with signs and other promotional products can be put to work to the delight of residential clients, according to Deanna Duke, owner of Sign Innovations in Huntersville, N.C.
“You may want to have an accent wall in a child’s room that displays the child at a recent gymnastics meet; with the right photo, we can do that,” Duke said.
Digital images are made up of a series of tiny “dots.” The higher the dots per inch, the clearer and sharper the image.
Printing in a large format calls for a chemical and heat-transfer process that can reproduce your favorite images as wall coverings, murals or cutouts. Customers can get pictures and murals for entire walls, windows and floors.
There are different types of vinyl for different applications and durability, Duke said. The wall art can be temporary (four to six months) or durable enough to last several years. Digital images can even be used outdoors to add art or illusion to garage doors or other areas.
Sign Innovations usually handles design, manufacture and installation for its customers. Prices vary greatly for custom work, depending on the size of the image and materials. Turnaround times vary from a few weeks to longer periods. (www.signinnovations.com)
Large wall murals of jungle, forest and mountain scenes are also available at retailers such as Lowe’s. Prices start at less than $100 for an image that is 100 by 164 inches. These are typically do-it-yourself projects, but a contractor who is well-versed in wallpaper probably could step in if you don’t have the time or skills.
Wall murals, cutouts
Fathead has licenses for peel-and-stick sports and entertainment wall murals and sells them in a several sizes. So now there’s one more way for “Star Trek” fans to let Captain Kirk and his sidekick, Mr. Spock, live on. The collection also gives Disney fans a cast to choose from.
Custom printing is available to supersize your own superstars or scenes with your personal photographs or images. Prices start at around $25 for an 8-by-10-inch die cut (background removed) to $140 for a 48-by-78-inch premium-quality image. (www.fathead.com)
Custom wall covering
Homeowners who want a more traditional look often choose textures or bold patterns as a way to add accent and focus, according to Brock McLendon, owner of Brock Moran Home, an interior design shop in Charlotte.
“Natural fibers such as grass cloth and hemp offer warmth and comfort, McLendon said. “I see geometric patterns gaining in popularity of late; these are a great way to add dramatic flair,” McLendon said.
McLendon said some companies set a minimum numbers of rolls per order. He estimated the starting price for custom wall coverings for a small powder room might be $3,000, plus installation. (www.brockmoran.com/index.html)