Kodak Offers Photo Papers, Canvas, and Backlit Film for Solvent Ink Printers

Kodak solvent inkjet paper

Until now, it’s been a challenge for users of solvent-ink printers to output high-quality fine-art prints and photographic reproductions. Kodak has solved that problem their new line of solvent inkjet photo printing paper, canvas, and backlit film. These materials are engineered to produce the best possible print quality for décor, point of purchase displays, canvas gallery wraps, and high-end photos.

Resin-coated Kodak Premium Photo Papers in satin and gloss provide true photo quality reproductions. These 10 mil papers are easy to handle, dry instantly, and can be used in a wide range of indoor environments where quality matters.



Kodak solvent canvases in satin or matte feature an acid-free base that produces crisp, vivid images that you typically get with aqueous inkjet printers. A perfect blend of durability and flexibility makes stretching a breeze, without fear of cracks appearing in your final prints.

Kodak’s solvent backlit film is a heavyweight glossy film with excellent print handling and finishing characteristics. It’s perfect for vibrant lightbox display applications.

The Origins of Solvent Ink Printing

If you’re a newcomer to wide-format inkjet printing, here’s why it’s noteworthy that Kodak has developed inkjet photo papers for solvent ink printers.

Unlike aqueous inks that use water to deliver colorants to the print substrate, solvent inks use pigments suspended in chemical solvents. These solvents can bond to vinyl and other materials used in outdoor graphics.

The first solvent-ink wide-format inkjet printers enabled print-service providers to print outdoor-durable graphics without the added time and costs of lamination. Solvent-ink printers were a bit hit with sign shops that were already using cutting plotters and self-adhesive vinyls to create letters and decals for banners and signs.

As the popularity of branded vehicle wraps has soared, the color gamut capabilities of solvent-ink printers have expanded to hit the wide range of colors used in brand logos and photographic art.

Some of the newest solvent-ink printers from Epson, Roland DGA, Mimaki, and OKI Data can output white, fluorescent, or metallic inks, creating effects that aren’t yet possible with aqueous ink printers.

The white inks create a white background for colorful prints on clear films. The metallic inks can add gold, silver, and bronze effects to indoor or outdoor advertising graphics. Designers of outdoor graphics and art can be super-creative.

Freedom Paper Sells Kodak Solvent Papers

Freedom Paper offers Kodak Solvent Papers because some of our customers that use aqueous-ink printers also operate solvent-ink printers. We applaud the fact that it’s now possible to get aqueous-ink quality on Kodak’s new line of solvent printing paper, canvas, and backlit film.


Kodak solvent inkjet paper

To find out more, call our inkjet media experts at 866-310-3335 or visit www.freedompaper.com

Debunking Myths about the Sustainability of Paper and Print

Eco Friendly Sustainable ForestWhen paper is produced and used responsibly, print materials can be an environmentally sustainable way to communicate. Anyone who questions that fact should read some of the research about the sustainability of paper and print published by Two Sides North America.

The organization points out that paper is made primarily from a natural, renewable source (wood) and has become of the most recycled commodities in the world.

Two Sides North America believes there are two sides to every story. To set the record straight about the sustainability of paper, they publish fact sheets that confirm how much has changed since the 1990s. The North American paper industry now advocates responsible forestry practices and certification, uses renewable, carbon-neutral bio-fuels, and has adopted more efficient paper-making technology.

“North American forests can provide recreational, environmental and economic benefits. They are a very valuable renewable resource that can be managed responsibly to make hundreds of products with sustainable qualities,” says Phil Reibel, President of Two Sides North America. “Much of the raw material used in papermaking comes from recovered paper and residuals from the lumber industry. But wood is essential because paper can only be recycled 5 to 7 times before the fibers break down and become unusable.”

For example, here are just four of the fact sheets they have published to debunk some common misperceptions.

The Facts: Paper is one of the few truly sustainable products. Paper is made from a resource that is renewable, recyclable, and compostable. Each year forests in the U.S. and Canada grow significantly more wood than is harvested. On average, about 66% of the energy used by pulp and paper member of the American Forest & Paper Association is generated from carbo-neutral biomass.


The Facts: Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world. When the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) began setting paper recovery goals in 1990, the U.S. paper recovery rate measured 33.5%. In 2014, it was 65.4%. AF&PA members have a goal to increase the U.S. paper recovery rate to more than 70% by 2020. In addition to recovering more paper, we all know more about how to get more environmental benefits from using recycled paper in new products.

The Facts: Forest certification programs are effective tools to demonstrate sustainable forestry. Certification programs are market-based, non-regulatory forest conservation tools designed to recognize and promote environmentally responsible forestry and the sustainability of forest resources. While different forest certification systems are used around the world, they share many basic objectives.

The Facts: Digital media have environmental impacts and may not be “greener” than print and paper. Instead of asking whether paper or electronic communications are better, we should be working to determine which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment. Electronics are made from non-renewable materials and use fossil fuel energy. The sustainability of communications technology depends on conditions such as frequency of use, source of energy used, and end-of-life management of the products.

“North American forests can provide recreational, environmental, and economic benefits. They are a very valuable renewable resource that can be managed responsibly to make hundreds of products with sustainable properties,” says Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America. “Much of the raw material used in papermaking comes from recovered paper and residuals from the lumber industry. But wood is essential because paper can only be recycled 5 to 7 times before the fibers break down and become unusable.”

For more information, check out the infographic below or visit www.twosidesna.org


How Paper Is Made


Sources of Information about Inkjet Print Permanence Testing

Sun obscrubed by raindrops

To enable wide-format printers to be used for more than technical drawings, inkjet printer manufacturers made substantial investments in print permanence testing. They wanted to ensure that the inks and materials they developed for photo or graphics printing could withstand typical display requirements.

Print permanence testing was necessary because the first aqueous dye inks and papers used in desktop office inkjet printers and wide-format printers for technical documents faded rapidly when the unframed prints were used for projects other than presentations, everyday proofs, or indoor posters.

When choosing wide-format inkjet papers, you may see some print permanence tests mentioned in the product descriptions on the spec sheets. Print-life projections can help you determine which materials are most appropriate for the type of job you have in mind.


print permanence


Efforts to create internationally recognized test standards for print-permanence tests were complicated by the huge number of variables that exist in how inkjet prints are created and used.

For example: the longevity of the print is affected by complex interactions of a combination of factors:

  • the type of ink used
  • the type of inkjet media used
  • the environment in which the print is displayed
  • how the print is protected from UV light, ozone, humidity, and abrasion
Plus, people have different expectations for inkjet prints. Individuals who pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for printed photographs or art prints expect those prints to last for generations.
Photographs printed to promote products on windows, billboards, or outdoor banners are exposed to much harsher conditions than indoor prints. But they may not be expected to last more than a few months.

To learn more about print permanence testing, here are three organizations that have conducted print-permanence tests for the aqueous wide-format printers used by many Freedom Paper’s customers.

Wilhelm Imaging Research

Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. was founded by Henry Wilhelm and Carol Brower Wilhem in 1995. At that time, the first color wide-format inkjet printers were just beginning to be used for signs, photo enlargements, and art prints. Henry and Carol Wilhelm were already well known for their expertise in the stability and long-term preservation of photographs and motion pictures. So it was natural that photographers, artists, and inkjet printer manufacturers would seek their advice on the potential of using wide-format inkjet printers for photo and art prints.

Wilhelm Imaging Research has subjected prints made with widely used combinations of inks and media to a series of accelerated light exposure and dark aging tests. The tests address the question: “How long will this image last before noticeable fading and/or staining occur, and under what conditions?”

The tests results are published as Display Permanence Ratings so inkjet-printer users can make apples-to-apples comparisons about tested products. Wilhelm Imaging Research has conducted print permanence tests for papers and inks from HP, Epson, and Canon and many manufacturers of digital printers and papers.

The published reports enables you to compare projections for how long a print can last under four different types of conditions:

  • framed under glass
  • framed behind a filter for UV light
  • displayed indoors away from a window
  • stored in an album at 73 degrees and 60% relative humidity

The reports also note whether the prints have a high level of resistance to high humidity and water and how many years an unprotected print might be resistant to ozone. If the paper includes UV brightening agents to provide a white surface, it is noted on the report.

The Image Permanence Institute

The Image Permanence Institute (IPI®) at the Rochester Institute of Technology is an independent, nonprofit laboratory that evaluates image stability and photo storage and framing materials. IPI can provide standardized and custom tests for abrasion, light-fastness, air pollution sensitivity, and high-humidity sensitivity.

The IPI primarily uses imaging research to help libraries, archives, and museums understand how to preserve printed documents and images. But they also offer insights that can help individuals preserve their most treasured family photographs.

IPI Consumer Guide to Permanence Testing
From the publications page on the IPI website, you can download “A Consumer Guide to Understanding Permanence Testing.” Published with support from the Eastman Kodak Company, the guide explains factors that affect print permanence and discusses four different photo printing methods: silver halide (darkroom processing), inkjet printing, electrophotographic printing, and dye diffusion thermal transfer prints.

The IPI notes that “Three types of changes are generally studied in image permanence testing: fading of the colorants that make of the image, migration or bleed of the colorants, and yellowing of the paper on which the image is printed.”

In prints that experience overall fading, all areas of the image gradually become lighter at an even rate.

Users of inkjet prints sometimes notice that one or more of the colorants in the prints is fading more quickly than the other colorants. This type of fading is called a hue shift. For instance, if a magenta dye ink fades faster than the cyan, yellow, and black ink, the printed photo will have a greenish hue:

The IPI guide to permanence explains some of the limitations of different types of permanence testing and why informal tests (such as placing an image in in a window for a few weeks) can be misleading.

The IPI also conducts tests related to the boxes, portfolios, and poly sleeves used to store digitally printed photographs.

HP Image Permanence Lab

HP operates its own Image Permanence Lab because HP printers, inks, and inkjet materials are used to print everything from exhibition photographs to outdoor signs, billboards, and banners.  Materials designed for different types of applications undergo different types of image permanence tests.

For instance, HP materials designed to make prints for home or office display undergo image permanence testing under common indoor lighting and environmental conditions. HP uses both their own Image Permanence Lab and Wilhelm Imaging Research to conduct these tests.

If certain HP materials are likely to be displayed in store or office windows, HP Image Permanence Lab testing uses methodologies that take into account that the graphic will be exposed to partial or direct sunlight.

For materials designed for making outdoor banners and signs, the HP Image Permanence Lab performs tests in accordance with industry-leading standards. Print samples are exposed to real-life conditions at multiple U.S. test sites. Testing measures a range of environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, light, and spray. More information can be found here.

A Few Things to Consider

Print permanence testing helped drive the development of new ink formulations and printing materials. Inkjet printable materials introduced over the past 10 years have proven to be much more reliable for use in photographic printing than materials for the first generations of wide-format inkjet printers.

If your in-office inkjet printer uses aqueous dye inks to create colors, you can still print photographic images and colorful displays on many different types of materials. But you may encounter problems if the print isn’t framed or laminated and exposed to high levels of humidity or UV light.

Your best bet for printing photographic posters and displays is to choose your print materials carefully or upgrade to a newer-model wide-format printer that uses pigment inks for color printing.

For outdoor photographic displays, you might be wise to send the job out for printing. Today, many companies that offer wide-format inkjet printing as a service use different types of printers to meet many different durability and quality requirements.

Solvent, latex, and UV-cure inks provide greater outdoor durability than aqueous inks. The photographic quality that can be output on these printers has has been steadily improving.

If you have questions about any of the print permanence tests you see mentioned in the descriptions for wide-format inkjet photo papers or sign materials on Freedom Paper’s website, please call us 866-866-310-3335

Sihl Rocket Photo Papers Boost Speed of Inkjet Imaging Jobs

Four budget-friendly photo papers from Sihl Digital Imaging can boost the speed and performance of inkjet imaging print jobs on wide-format printers the use aqueous pigment or dye inks.

Sihl Rocket Photo Papers are optimized for performance on high-speed HP PageWide XL printers.

The instant-dry papers also work well on the universe of HP Designjet, Epson Stylus Pro, and Canon imagePROGRAF aqueous-ink wide-format printers used in offices, ad agencies, AEC firms, GIS departments, schools, retail stores, and copy shops.

The four products include two 8 mil photo papers and two 10 mil resin-coated photo papers. All four photo papers feature a bright-white, resin-coated base and instant-dry coating for easy handling and finishing.

Sihl Rocket Photo Paper 3371 Gloss Sihl Rocket Photo Paper Gloss 3371and 3372 Satin are 8 mil photo papers for everyday photographs, photo reproductions, mounted promotional graphics, and posters. The lustrous Satin finish on Sihl 3372 reproduces a great color gamut and gives images with people a more natural look. The smooth Gloss surface on Sihl 3371 supports a high color density and achieves a very wide color gamut for images with fine details.

Sihl Rocket Photo Paper 3506 Gloss and 3507 Satin are 10 mil photo papers that produce inkjet photo prints that feel like they came from a photo lab. These papers are great for ad agency prints, photos that will be laminated, and more durable posters, mounted graphics, and reproductions.

Sihl Rocket Photo Paper Satin 3507The papers are all supplied in 100-foot-long rolls on 3-inch cores. Five roll widths are offered: 24, 36, 42, 50, and 60 inches.

Sihl has been producing digital-printing materials since the earliest days of pen plotters, electrostatic printers, and monochrome inkjet. As printing technology companies such as HP, Canon, Epson, and Xerox have continued to introduce printers with faster speeds, higher resolutions, and greater intelligence, Sihl has developed printing materials optimized for each advancement.

To learn more about these innovative new Sihl papers (or any of the other great Sihl products Freedom Paper sells), call Freedom Paper’s customer-service team at 866-310-3335.


Use Kodak Inkjet Backlit Film for Vivid Colors in Lightbox Displays

Kodak Backlit FIlm

An inkjet backlit film, such as Kodak Universal Backlit Film, is a sturdy, translucent film that can hold high densities of ink for vivid colors. Kodak backlit film is designed for use with lightboxes to create illuminated photographs, signs, and posters in high-traffic areas such as stores, lobbies, restaurants, transit centers, and convention centers.

Backlit films in lightboxes are also used for photography exhibitions, museum exhibits, art installations, menu boards, and wayfinding signs.

Some creative designers have used inkjet backlit films to make custom lampshades or other decorative objects.

Kodak’s Rich History in Photography

The first inkjet backlit films for aqueous inkjet printers replicated the look and feel of Kodak’s renowned DURATRANS® photographic display films for darkroom processing.

Kodak’s DURATRANS films were so popular during the analog printing days that the term “duratrans” became a generic term for the backlit photo enlargements used in television news sets, theater designs, and museum exhibits.

Perhaps that legacy explains why so many Freedom Paper customers choose Kodak Universal Backlit Film for use with their aqueous inkjet printers. With a heavyweight, durable Duratrans®-like support, Kodak backlit film for aqueous inkjet printers is easy to handle, finish, and install.

The macroporous coating on Kodak Universal Backlit Film controls the ink droplets on the surface of the film to provide the perfect combination of color saturation, image quality, and dry time. The macroporous coating also protects the print surface from scratches and helps aqueous pigment inks resist water damage.

Kodak Universal Backlit film is competitively priced and compatible with all brands of aqueous-inkjet printers, including HP DesignJets, Epson Stylus Pro mdoels, and Canon imagePROGRAF pritners.

Tips for Using Inkjet Backlit Film

If you will be mounting the backlit graphics in a lightbox that uses fluorescent lighting as the light source, Kodak Universal Backlit Film is a perfect choice.

Until LED light panels were introduced, fluorescent tubes were the only practical method of illuminating backlit displays. Many current lightbox models still use fluorescent lights because they cost less to buy and produce a brighter glow.


The translucency of Kodak Universal Backlit Film helps ensure the proper diffusion of the back-lighting and eliminates the appearance of “hot spots.” The coating’s ability to hold ink densities keeps the colors from looking washed out when lit from behind.

If you are a first-time user of inkjet backlit film, here are a few other things you should know before ordering Kodak Universal Backlit Film.

Handle the film with care. Wear cotton gloves and avoid touching the coated surface of the film when you mount it on your inkjet printer.

Use a newer model photo or graphics inkjet printer that uses aqueous pigment inks if you want to create photographic prints that are easier to handle and more water resistant. The aqueous dye inks commonly used on CAD, technical or general office printers can run or smear when exposed to humidity or water.

Use a custom color profile to get the absolute best results. But if you are just making simple signs and displays instead of super-sized photo enlargements, you can get visually pleasing results with the heavyweight coated or matte setting in your print driver or print-management software.

Allow the print to dry for at least 24 hours before laminating it. You can use either a pressure-sensitive or heat-activated laminating film, but don’t try using your hands to apply the laminating film. To ensure a solid, even bond, use a roll-laminator.

If you have any other questions about using Kodak Universal Backlit Film, please contact the customer service team at Freedom Paper at 866-310-3335.

After you have  finished your print project, send us a photo showing how and where your backlit graphics are displayed. It’s always fun to see the many creative things Freedom Paper do with their wide-format inkjet printers.


Use Kodak Photo Tex Fabric for Event Graphics or Custom Decor

Kodak phototex fabric

To breathe new life into a space, consider printing images or graphics on a self-adhesive ‘phototex’ fabric such as Kodak Phototex Repositionable Fabric.

Kodak Photo Tex™ is an inkjet-printable fabric with a proprietary repositionable adhesive that makes graphics easy to install and remove. Graphics printed on Kodak Phototex won’t leave behind any sticky residue. Nor will it remove paint from a primed wall.  Phototex can also be installed on glass doors, windows, metal, and other clean, smooth non-porous surfaces.

Kodak phototex fabric

Kodak Phototex fabric with repositionable adhesive can be printed on many models of Canon, HP, Epson, Roland, and Mimaki wide-format inkjet printers that use aqueous pigment inks. (You can use aqueous dye inks, but the finished graphics may not give you the durability your project requires.)

Use it for Promotional or Decorative Posters

Commercial graphics companies use Kodak Photo Tex™ fabric to produce retail, event, and promotional graphics. Promotional graphics printed on Kodak Photo Tex can be installed as exhibit backdrops, column wraps, or elevator-door graphics.

Today, many organizations and creative professionals use Kodak Photo Tex to customize the décor of homes, offices, dorm rooms, classrooms, gyms, conference rooms, and assisted living facilities.

On websites such as Etsy or Pinterest, you can see how photographers and designers are using Kodak phototex self-adhesive fabric to create inspirational posters, monogram labels, and customized table wraps, lampshades, shelving, wall accents, and headboards.

Photographers are enlarging images of landmarks, naturescapes, cityscapes, sports stadiums to make closed spaces look bigger and more inviting.

People moving into smaller dorm rooms or assisted-living facilities use peel-and-stick photo-collage posters to remember special people and happy moments without a lot of bulky frames or wall damage.

Corporations, schools, and houses of workshop use self-adhesive fabrics to create timeline murals for lobbies and hallways. Kodak Photo Tex makes it easy to produce wall-mounted backdrops for special events.

Tips for Using Kodak Phototex

Make sure your printer can handle the thickness of the self-adhesive fabric. The Kodak Photo Tex fabric itself is only 6 mil thick. But with the liner that protects the adhesive, the material that feeds through your printer is actually 10 mils thick. This means it may not work in older models of inkjet printers.

Optimized print settings for Kodak Photo Tex will vary, depending on what make and model of printer you use. Try a fine-art paper or matte paper setting as a starting point.

Use custom profiles with professional print-management (RIP) software if you want best-quality, consistent results on big projects, such as multi-panel wall murals.

Consider applying a liquid or spray coating to make the printed graphic less susceptible to damage during installation and display. A good coating can protect the print from abrasion, water damage, or UV light. But a coating isn’t essential if the graphic will only be displayed a short time. Promotional graphics printed with pigment inks on Kodak Photo Tex can last up to six months outdoors without additional protection.

Share Your Creativity!

Freedom Paper is a proud reseller of Kodak Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric for aqueous inkjet printers.

We also offer our own brand of self-adhesive fabric. Freedom Paper Inkjet Fabric PSA is an 8 mil fabric  that can be printed with aqueous, latex, solvent, and UV-cure inks.

Call our customer service team at 866-310-3335 and we would be happy to tell you more about which product would be best suited for the make and model of printer that you plan to use.

If you have used self-adhesive fabric to bring your creativity to life, send us a photo! We would love to see how you have used Kodak Photo Tex or Freedom Paper Inkjet Fabric PSA. Send images to: ideas@freedompaper.com


Alternatives to HP Self-Adhesive Paper for Wide-Format Prints

HP self adhesive vinyl

HP self-adhesive paper for printing large-format indoor graphics was discontinued in 2011. But Freedom Paper offers more durable alternatives to HP self-adhesive paper — HP self-adhesive polypropylene and HP self-adhesive vinyl.

Papers much larger than 8.5 x 11 or 13 x 19 inches are easy to tear, crease, or wrinkle when you mount them to foamboards. HP self-adhesive polypropylene and HP self-adhesive vinyl are practical options for printing large-format presentations, graphics, maps, posters, and signs that will be adhered to foamboards, sign blanks, and other smooth surfaces.

Polypropylene is a semi-rigid material that is more tear-resistant and water-resistant than paper. Large posters on polypropylene are much easier to handle and mount than big paper prints.

Vinyl is a thin, flexible material that conforms to flat or gently curved surfaces. With adhesive-backed vinyl, you can stick graphics on rigid sign materials, windows, walls, doors, columns, or other surfaces. Vinyl is also a better choice for signs that will be posted outdoors. .


Freedom Paper sells all four products featured in this video:

  • HP Everyday Adhesive Matte Polypropylene
  • HP Everyday Adhesive Gloss Polypropylene
  • HP Colorfast Adhesive Vinyl
    HP Universal Adhesive Vinyl

Each of these products produces an impressive color gamut and photorealistic images on HP DesignJets. They also work well on other makes and models of printers that use aqueous dye or pigment inks.

The permanent, pressure-sensitive adhesive on the back of these materials makes them easy to mount on to foamboards and other rigid sign materials. The permanent adhesive ensures secure, reliable mounting without peeling.

Because these materials dry quickly after printing, you don’t have to wait 24 hours to laminate or mount the prints.

HP Everyday Adhesive Gloss Polyproplyene is ideal for mounted posters featuring photos or maps. It produces vibrant colors with crisp details.

HP Everyday Adhesive Matte Polypropylene has a lower level of reflectivity than gloss polypropylene. This helps ensure that graphics remain readable in all sorts of trade-show settings and event venues. Images printed on matte polypropylene won’t show glaring “hot spots” under bright lights.

HP Universal Adhesive Vinyl is recommended for producing eye-catching displays for indoor applications.

HP Colorfast Adhesive Vinyl is a premium, matte vinyl for printing sharp, lifelike images on signs and graphics that will be viewed up close.  

Pigment Inks Provide Greater Longevity

Users of DesignJet Z series printers and HP Original inks can use HP self-adhesive vinyl and polypropylene to produce long-lasting indoor graphics that don’t require lamination. Prints created on HP Everyday Adhesive Polypropylene can last up to 35 years when displayed indoors away from direct sunlight.  Prints on HP Colorfast Adhesive Vinyl can last 75 years or more when displayed indoors away from direct sunlight. .

HP self adhesive vinyl

Graphics output with HP Original pigment inks on HP Universal Adhesive Vinyl can last for years indoors. Prints that must last more than a few days outdoors should be laminated.

Owners of Legacy Models Should Stick with Polypropylene

If you are using a legacy DesignJet printer (such as the 500, 800, or 1000 series), choose an HP Adhesive Polypropylene material instead of the vinyl.

Self-adhesive vinyl includes a liner to protect the adhesive and keep the vinyl flat as it feeds through the printer.  Even though the printed vinyl will be thin and pliable when the liner is peeled away during mounting, the liner makes the vinyl too thick to feed through printers originally engineered to print drawings on paper.

If you have questions, please call us at 866-310-3335. We would happy to recommend the material that would be best for your specific requirements.


HP Everyday Adhesive Matte Polypropylene

HP Everyday Adhesive Gloss Polypropylene

HP Universal Adhesive Vinyl

HP Colorfast Adhesive Vinyl


DIY Sign Printing: Inkjet Banner Materials Glossary

This DIY Signmaking series is for anyone who wants to use inkjet banner materials on an in-office wide-format inkjet printer to produce simple signs signs, banners, and display graphics. The first two posts in the DIY Signmaking Series discussed the types of signs you can make with aqueous-ink printers and some questions to consider before ordering sign and banner materials for the wide-format printer in your office or studio.

The glossary below clarifies terms related inkjet banner materials, graphic films, durable alternatives to paper, and mounting materials.

Printing Materials

Backlit sign Yes You CanBacklit film: An inkjet-printable polyester film with a translucent, light-diffusing layer. The inkjet coating is designed to handle the heavier ink densities to ensure that the colors don’t look washed out when lit. Some backlit films are designed for reverse printing so that the polyester film itself protects the printed graphics (like a built-in laminating film). Some inkjet backlit film produces prints that are bright enough to be easily readable even when the lightbox or kiosk is turned off

Block-out: A layer of black or gray material added to a banner or display material to increase the opacity of the substrate. Blockout layers are typically used on banner materials that will be printed on both sides, or for graphics that will be displayed in an open area in which incidental light shining from behind the banner stand can affect the readability of the printed graphic.

Blueback paper: A durable type of poster paper that can be pasted directly on top of previously mounted posters without the bottom sign showing through.

Calendared vinyl: Sheets of vinyl that have been squeezed (extruded) through a series of heated rollers to become thin enough to cut with knife plotter. Calendared vinyl is typically thicker and less pliable than cast vinyl.

Cast vinyl: A thin, pliable vinyl film typically used to wrap irregularly shaped objects (such as cars and coolers.) Cast vinyl is formed by spreading a thin layer of a molten plastic mixture on a carrier sheet and baking it at high temperatures. The heat removes solvents and fuses the remaining material into a pliable film. Cast film is typically more expensive than calendared vinyl.

One-way see-through film: This thin, pliable vinyl is perforated to enable building or vehicle occupants to see out of a windows that been decorated with advertising graphics.

PET (polyester) film: A thin plastic film made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate. It can provide signs and overlays with chemical and dimensional stability and a high tensile strength. Mylar® is a brand of PET film.

Polypropylene: A thin, flexible plastic sheet that is more resistant to water, tearing, and chemicals than paper.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride): A commonly used plastic that can be extruded or cast as rigid sheets or tubing, or as a flexible “vinyl film.”

Release liner: This paper or plastic film provides a layer of protection to the back of self-adhesive materials. With a release liner, self-adhesive materials can be rolled up, packaged, shipped, and printed without the adhesive sticking to everything it touches. The release liner is removed as the graphic is being installed.

Scrim:  A strong nylon mesh used to add strength and tear-resistance to vinyl banner materials.

Self-adhesive: A paper, vinyl, or film supplied with an adhesive on the back.  Until the material has been printed and is ready to be mounted, the adhesive is protected with a release liner made of plastic or paper. Self-adhesive inkjet materials use a Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) which is activated when pressure is applied to the print with a roller, a laminator, a squeegee, or your hands.

  • A permanent adhesive is a high-tack adhesive that forms a permanent bond within hours after it is applied. It can leave a residue on the mounting surface when the graphic is pulled off.
  • A removable adhesive is a low-tack adhesive that forms a temporary bond with a smooth surface.  It can be easily removed without much residue from most surfaces months after it is applied. But after a few months, a removable adhesive forms a permanent bond, and will be more difficult to remove without leaving a lot of residue.
  • A repositionable adhesive is an ultra-removable adhesive that makes it easy to install, remove, and reuse lightweight fabric graphics. It doesn’t leave a sticky residue after the graphics are removed.

Adhesive vinyl sign

Tyvek: A registered trademark of DuPont, Tyvek® is a protective material is a tough, flexible spun-bonded olefin material that resists water, chemicals, abrasion, rot, and mildew. It is stronger than paper, absorbs little or no moisture, and is made of environmentally responsible material. Its bright white, silky smooth, opaque surface is perfect for graphic images. It’s a popular choice for concert and sporting-event signs, maps, playbooks, runners’ bibs, and ski-pass tags,

Wet-strength paper: A wet-strength paper is a latex-saturated paper that resists tears and punctures even during wet conditions. A poster on wet-strength paper can easily be pasted over a previously mounted poster.

Mounting Materials

To produce rigid signs, you must buy “sign blanks” to which you can mount adhesive-backed materials.

Acrylic: This clear or colored rigid plastic is a popular choice for making indoor and outdoor signs. Acrylic is often referred to as plexiglass or Plexiglas®.  Acrylic is used in lightboxes, architectural interiors, and POP displays.

Aluminum: This lightweight metal is ideal for smaller outdoor signs that can be mounted on a single post. Aluminum doesn’t rust. But it also doesn’t flex when exposed to strong winds.

Coroplast: This lightweight, corrugated plastic is a popular choice for yard signs, garage sale signs, and outdoor event signs. The corrugated ridges make the plastic sheets more rigid.


Corrugated: When signmakers use this word as a noun, they are referring to a lightweight, layered cardboard material in which ridged paper adds strength and rigidity to the surface layers. When used as an adjective, “corrugated” refers to any material with a surface shaped into a series of ridges and grooves.

Dibond®:  This rigid, aluminum composite material features two thin pre-painted sheets of aluminum bonded to a polyethylene core. It is lighter than aluminum, and still outdoor-durable.

Eco-Friendly Boards: These are strong, recyclable, rigid paperboards made from recycled papers or from papers from sustainably managed forests. Instead of a plastic foam center, these boards get their strength from corrugated paper centers.

Foam-core (foamboard): A lightweight, easy-to-cut rigid material for mounting posters, photos, and indoor signs. A layer of thermoplastic foam is sandwiched between smooth layers of paper or plastic.

Lexan®: A brand of clear polycarbonate sheet.

MDO: A plywood panel with fused resin-impregnated fiber overlay. MDO is used for painted sign panels, highway and traffic signs, site signs, containers, and billboards. It is very sturdy, but can warp after it has soaked up water over several years.

Polycarbonate: A tough, nearly unbreakable plastic that is lighter in weight than glass or acrylic.

Plexiglas®: A solid, transparent weather-resistant plastic often used in place of glass. Plexiglas is a trademarked name.  The word “plexiglass” is used as a synonym.

Any Questions?

For more information about DIY signmaking materials, submit a question below and we’ll track down some advice from signmaking pros.

Or, if you are already creating signs and banners on your wide-format inkjet printer, send us a photo or two. We’d love to highlight your creativity and any additional tips you might have. Contact: ideas@freedompaper.com


Freedom Paper Inkjet Banner Materials

Ask These 9 Questions Before Ordering Inkjet Banner Materials

Types of Signs and Poster You Make with Your In-Office Wide-Format Inkjet Printer

Inkjet Art Paper and Inkjet Photo Paper: A Few Good Terms to Know

Inkjet photo paper

Buying professional-quality inkjet art paper or inkjet photo paper is different than buying inkjet paper for technical drawings, short-term photographic displays, and everyday office printing. Sometimes, the terms used to describe inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper products can be confusing.

But you should learn what these words mean because they describe specialized materials and surface treatments that improve the longevity, tactile appeal, and aesthetics of prints on inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper.

Here are some of the most commonly used terms used with inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper.

Inkjet at paper

Inkjet art papers typically have surface textures that replicate the look and feel of traditional papers used for watercolor paintings or etchings from classic art printmaking tools.

Inkjet photo paper

Inkjet photo papers are designed to replicate classic darkroom papers. These papers have whiter, smoother surfaces for better reproduction of details.

A – G

Acid-free: A pH neutral paper manufactured without acid in the pulp. To be designated acid-free, the paper must have a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. Acids in paper can attack the paper fibers, causing the paper to become brittle deterioration over time.

Alpha cellulose: Cellulose is a substance in the cell walls of plants. A high alpha-cellulose is very pure form of wood pulp that can yield the same longevity as cotton or other plant fibers.

Anti-Curl Coating: A thin coating on the back of inkjet photo media to keep it flat after printing.

Archival: The term has different meanings in different contexts. An archival paper generally is one that is manufactured to meet standards established by the ISO (International Standards Organization), ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials), or DIN (German Institute for Standardization). Archival prints are typically made with pigment inks on archival papers and handled, stored and displayed according to recommendations made by the Image Permanence Institute. (See: IPI Guide to Preservation of Digitally Printed Photographs)

Baryta: A special coating applied to the surface of an archival art paper to make it smoother and whiter for photographic printing. Baryta is a mixture of gelatin and the white pigment barium-sulfate. Because the back of a baryta inkjet paper isn’t coated with a plastic, the printed photo feels more like an art print on a fibrous art paper. Baryta photo papers for inkjet printing have microporous ink-receptive coatings for long-lasting pigment inks.

Brightness: A measure of the how much light is reflect from the surface of the sheet. The higher the percentage, the higher the brightness. A high brightness produces visual contrast between the printed and unprinted areas.

Buffered: Protected from acid in the paper or from airborne pollutants. Alkaline buffering agents (such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate) are added to the paper pulp to neutralize acids. Acids can be caused by residual chlorine from bleaching operations, aluminum sulfate (alum) from paper sizing, or exposure sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere.

Caliper: The thickness of the paper measured in thousandths of an inch (mils).

Canvas: A woven cotton fabric commonly used for paintings. Inkjet canvas is typically made with a combination of polyester and cotton. A microporous ink-receptive coating that makes the surface water-resistant enough for the use of texturing gels or clearcoats.

Canvas Paper: Cut sheets of canvas, or papers with a surface treatment that simulates the look of canvas.

Cold pressed: Papers that are pressed through cold cylinders to create a slight surface texture.

Cotton rag: A high-quality paper made from cotton linters or a combination of cotton linters and cotton rags. Cotton linters are pure cellulose fibers from cotton processing. Rag fibers are longer fibers than cotton linters and provide extra strength. But paper-makers have shifted aware from 100% cotton-rag papers because the rags became scarcer as textile producers shifted to polyester and other synthetic fabrics.

Deckle: The feathery edge that results from wet pulp when making hand-made or mould-made papers. A deckled edge can also be produced by tearing the sheets when they are wet.

Digital art: Artwork that was originally created on a computer or mobile device.

Dmax/Dmin: The Dmax is a densitometric measurement of the darkest black a paper can achieve with a given set of inks. On inkjet printers that can’t print white ink, the Dmin is the non-printed area of the image. The difference between the Dmin and Dmax is the paper’s dynamic range. Density is measured on a scale from 0.0 (white) to 4.0 (black). A paper with a low Dmin and high Dmax has a tonal range that can produce depth and detail in shadow and highlight areas of an image. A high Dmax is beneficial for images for rich, deep blacks, including black-and-white images.

Dynamic Range (also known as Optical Density): A measurement that quantifies the level of shadow detail and mid-tone gray values that an ink-and-paper combination can reproduce. It can be affected by how deeply the inkjet ink sinks into the paper. Tonal range is measured on a scale from 0.0 (white) to 4.0 (black).

Fourdrinier: A high-speed machine for making paper that is consistent in its quality and characteristics.

Gloss: A reflective surface that can make colors look brighter and details look sharper. A high-gloss surface is ultra-reflective and can show fingerprints in the surface. A semi-gloss paper has a visible sheen that makes colors look brighter than those on matte paper, but more natural than on high-gloss papers. Luster, pearl, and satin finishes describe different types of semi-gloss finishes.

gsm: Grams per square meter. This consistent way to compare products is based on the gram weight of a hypothetical square meter of a particular media.

Grain direction: The direction in which a majority of the fibers lie in a finished sheet. It is an important characteristic in art papers that will be folded and bound into books.

H – Z

Handmade: Paper made by manually dipping a mould in a vat of wet pulp. The mould consists of a frame covered by a flat or rigid screen and a flat frame called a deckle to contain the run-off of wet pulp. After the mould is dipped in the vat, it is shaken to distribute the fibers and drain the excess water. The wet mat of fibers is then dried against blankets. The paper can be air dried, hot pressed, or cold pressed.

Hot pressed: Papers that are pressed through hot cylinders to produce a smooth paper surface.

Lignins: A component of plant cell walls that can contribute to the chemical deterioration of paper. Lignins can be removed when the paper is manufactured.

Luster/Satin/Pearl: Lower-gloss papers that provide more subdued, more natural-looking fleshtones and colors in portraits.

Matte: A non-reflective surface coating that produces glare-free prints that can be easily viewed from all angles.

Media: A digitally printable substrate. It could be a paper, canvas, vinyl, fabric, posterboard, or other material that has been optimized for digital printing.

Metallic inkjet paper: These resin-coated photo papers have a high-gloss coating that includes metallic pigments. The metallic pigments can add a silvery or bronze-line sheen to high-dynamic-range images.

Microrporous: (See Porous Coating)

Mil: A measurement of a thickness of a paper. A mil is one-thousandth of an inch.

Mouldmade: Paper made by a slowly rotating machine that simulates the process of making papers by hand in a mould (See Handmade). Unlike papers made on higher-speed fourdrinier papermaking machines, the fibers in mouldmade papers become more randomly intertwined and produce a stronger, more flexible sheet or roll.

Opacity: A term that describes the paper’s ability to prevent the transmission of light from the front surface to the back surface. A high level of opacity ensures that an image printed on one side of a page won’t show through to the other side.

Optical Brightening Agents (OBAs): Chemical, fluorescent additives that improve the apparent brightness of a paper. As the brighteners degrade over time, the underlying paper returns to its natural level of whiteness.

Porous coating (also: Microporous, Nanoporous): These types of ink-receptive coatings consist of microscopic particles that create tiny pores that keep the ink from spreading. As the inks enter the pores in the coating, the print surface feels instantly dry. Porous coatings are more resistant to moisture and humidity. They work best with pigment inks.

Resin-coated (RC) photo paper: A paper that has been coated with polyethylene film on both sides. These types of papers were developed for analog chemical-based photo processing and established the perception of how a commercial photo print should look and feel.

Swellable coating: An ink-receptive layer that swells to encapsulate and protect the ink from outside contaminant. It was developed for use with aqueous dye inks. Papers with swellable coatings and aqueous inks are more susceptible to water damage and humidity that microporous-coated papers with aqueous pigment inks.

Washi: A Japanese term for strong, lightweight papers made from long fibers of plants such as mulberry and hemp. For centuries, these papers were made by hand. Today, inkjet-printable washi papers are machine-made.

Whiteness: A measurement of the quality of light reflected from the surface of a paper. Papers that reflect a higher percentage of blue light have the highest whiteness levels. Papers that reflect a higher percentage of yellow light yield lower whiteness measurement values. A paper with a high whiteness value looks brighter and provides a high level of contrast between ink colors and the paper.

Yellowing: A gradual change in the look of a pulp or paper as a result of acids in the envrionment or the breakdown of optical brightening agents over time.

Any Questions?

Freedom Paper sells premium inkjet art paper and inkjet photo paper from Hahnemuehle, Moab by Legion Paper, Innova, and Museo.

If you have any questions about which type of paper would be best for printing your art or photo project, give us a call at 866-310-3335.


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Art and Photo Paper

Inkjet Metallic Papers Add Depth and Richness to Photo Prints

Kodak metallic paper

Inkjet metallic papers have a smooth, high-gloss ink-receptive coating that includes metallic pigments. The surface glossiness and sheen from the metallic pigments produce an appealing iridescence, with a high degree of luminance and reflectivity. Inkjet metallic paper prints almost seem to glow.

When used with pro-model pigment-ink photo printers, inkjet metallic papers can produce superb color gamuts, contrast, and edge sharpness and yield prints that look almost three-dimensional.


Inkjet metallic papers are fantastic for:

• HDR (high-dynamic range) images
• Photos with brilliant colors
• Images of motorcycles, autos, and objects with metallic details
• Photos of sparkling jewels, snow, rivers, and lakes
• Images of sunlit water droplets
• Neutral black-and-white photographs

An inkjet metallic paper is also good for replicating the look of prints on aluminum or vintage black-and-white prints made with cyanotype, daguerrotype, and wet-plate processes.

Freedom Paper currently sells three inkjet metallic papers:

• Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper 255 gsm
• Moab Slickrock Metallic Silver Photographic Paper 300 gsm
• Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl Photographic Paper 260 gsm

The premium Moab Slickrock papers are made with top-quality alpha-cellulose base papers and are popular with photographers who sell or exhibit their prints. These photography professionals routinely use the latest model printers with six, eight, or more colors of aqueous pigment inks for long-lasting, super-detailed reproductions of high-resolution images.

Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper is a versatile, value-priced photo paper that enables photography labs, enthusiasts and designers to add visual flair to many types of prints, including gift prints and high-end indoor displays. Kodak metallic paper can be used on many current and legacy models of aqueous-ink printers from HP, Canon, Epson, Roland, and other manufacturers.

Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper Metallic gives your prints the luminous, pearlescent look that for a long time was only possible with darkroom-processed photographs. The large color gamut and high Dmax allow your printed images to look as sharp and colorful as the images in your camera.

Kodak metallic paper for Inkjet printing also has the familiar Kodak watermark on the back. So anyone who receives your prints will know they are getting top-quality prints.

Tips for Using Inkjet Metallic Papers

To get the best results, here are a few tips for handling inkjet metallic papers:

  • Make sure the print surface is free of dust and lint. Use a can of compressed air to blow away any dust on the surface. Or, use anti-static wisk brush and anti-static gloves.
  • Use a custom ICC profile if possible. Or, use the high-quality print setting for glossy or luster photo papers.
  • Use photo black inks.
  • Avoid touching the paper surface before and after printing.
  • Consider hand-trimming the prints instead of relying on your printer’s built-in cutter.
  • Do not allow the prints to stack up in the tray.
  • Let the prints air dry, uncovered and unstacked, for 24 hours.
For More Information

For more information about Kodak metallic paper or other Kodak papers for wide-format inkjet printing, check out the Freedom Paper website or call our inkjet media experts at 866-310-3335.

We would also love to see examples of the types of images you have produced on inkjet metallic papers. If you have other tips to share, please send them our way: ideas@freedompaper.com


Freedom Paper: Inkjet Metallic Papers

Kodak Professional Inkjet Metallic Paper


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