Unisub’s hardboard photo panels are diverse substrates for interior signage, particularly at point-of-purchase (POP). All you need is an idea and a design. You can even decorate these panels to be dry erase boards for daily customization. Here is how to make a dry erase POP sign in three easy steps.
- Unisub hardboard photo panel with easel
- Transfer paper
- Compressed air duster
- Microfiber cloth
- Butcher paper or newsprint
- Heat tape
Step One: Create
Create a new file in your graphics program that fits the dimensions of the photo panel you want to sublimate, or download a template for the shape of your panel. These panels come in different types of rectangles and other shapes, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 inch to those dimensions to ensure you get full bleed on your print.
Then import or create graphics to fit your customer’s needs. In this example, we are creating a design that offers a large space for writing and drawing with dry erase markers. Unisub’s bright white surface on hardboard photo panels works well with dry erase markers, and can be cleaned with a cloth, water or spray cleaner.
Step Two: Print
Work with either a color management program or RIP software to ensure you’re printing with the right settings for sublimating onto Unisub hardboard. Print onto transfer paper, making sure that you mirror the image. Spray your print lightly with compressed air to remove any lint or dust that may be on the paper.
Step Three: Press
Clean your panel with either a microfiber cloth, compressed air and/or cleaner to ensure no dust or lint is present. This is especially important when part of your panel will remain blank, as stray particles will sublimate onto the surface as blue or red squiggles.
Perform a pre-press with this substrate to release any moisture in the panel. Place a sheet of protective paper (plain butcher paper or plain newsprint) on the bottom platen of the press, and then place the panel white-face-up on the platen. Then place another sheet of protective paper over the substrate, protecting the top platen from touching the surface of the panel. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for temperature and pressure, and press for 10 seconds to release the moisture. Let it cool.
Once cooled, align the white surface with the printed transfer paper, ensuring it is centered and that the print goes past the edges of the panel for a full bleed. Use heat tape to secure the paper to the panel.
Change the protective paper if necessary and place the covered panel paper-side-up onto the bottom platen of the heat press. Add a new sheet of protective paper on top of the panel to protect the top platen and press for the recommended time, which will vary depending on the size of the panel.
Once the pressing is complete, remove the transfer paper as quickly as possible in one even motion. This will help prevent ghosting.