Printing Artwork onto Laminate

Pros describe a range of methods for transferring pictures onto furniture. June 20, 2005

I was looking at the unit below, and was wondering how the images were printed onto the wood. Does anyone have any ideas?

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Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor J:
Thermo foil might be one way. Another might be the use of silk screen presses. A base color coat and a 3 screen press could do the same thing as well. It does not take a lot of capital or equipment to do silk screen and it is great on small production runs. It is nearly an art form, so it takes time to master.

From contributor H:
I have sub-contracted screen printers to do similar work. In my case, the parts were sent out before construction. Once the screens are made, they last a long time. The quality is great and they produce sharp lines and bright colors. It’s not cheap for a few pieces, but they are well worth it for 50 or more.

From contributor B:
This is a high end printing job. There are far more than 3 colors there, as well as half-tones. It is most likely a 4-color process print and only economical for mass production. It is probably printed on a plasticized paper and laminated to the wood.

To reproduce something this complex economically, contact a sign shop or digital printing company and order a self-adhesive vinyl print with a polyester top laminate (for scuff resistance). Digital art must be provided and it will cost about $100 to cover that much area. Exposed edges of the decal, however, are vulnerable to being caught and peeling away. They should be overlapped with a trim cap of plastic, or perhaps a 2 part resin bead that seals the edge.

Some new flat bed digital printers are coming out that will image uv ink directly to the surface (it must be bright white). This would be a superior finished product, and it would be very durable and have no plastic finish.

Large exhibit or screen-printing houses would have them, but getting them to do a small job would be the challenge. A very low-tech solution is to use a digital paper print (or color xerox) and deco page it. Use a bar top epoxy over the surface for good durability.