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How to Make an LED Light-up Canvas Print

LED light-up canvas prints are simple and easy to make.

1. Pick a picture that has light features in it such as the fireflies in the picture above, or the Christmas lights in the picture below.

2.  Get your picture made into a canvas print with a boxline (35mm deep) frame. This is where Eziprint comes in.

3. Get a string of small LED lights. You can buy them at places like Mitre 10 or various light shops. They come with either a battery pack or a plug-in lead.  For $5 Eziprint can also supply a 2 meter long copper wire and LED light set, with a battery pack. It is suitable for a canvas from approximately 203mm x 304mm (8 inches x 12 inches) up to 304mm x 406mm (12 x 16 inches). One set of batteries will last about 48 hours if running non-stop.

4. Hold the canvas up to the light with the back facing you. This way you will be able to see where the light features are (such as the Christmas lights in the picture below). Use a pencil to mark where these light features are.

5. Tape the LED lights to the back of the canvas, over the areas you marked with your pencil. Double sided sticky tape is good for this purpose, or even Sellotape.

Now turn off the house lights, turn on your LED lights, and enjoy your handiwork!

If you want to get adventurous, use different coloured lights such as pink or blue to create a different effect.

Note: If you would like to try this activity, Eziprint can supply the two pictures shown, complete with a battery powered string of LED lights. Just go to our “Art Supplies” page to order.

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What difference does canvas weight make?

High quality canvas printing
430gsm canvas on a slimline 18mm frame

Canvas prints can be done on different weights of canvas. The weight rating is referred to as Grams Per Square meter or gsm. If you are looking at getting a canvas made, there should be a canvas weight shown such as 120gsm, 380gsm or 430gsm etc. There is also Faux Canvas.

Let’s discuss Faux Canvas first. The online Etymology Dictionary 2010 says Faux is a French word that means false. Faux Canvas is (as it’s name suggests) not canvas at all. It is a product made from a paper-like material that is prepared in a way that makes it look like canvas. It does not have the same properties as canvas and, as it is a paper product, it does not last long term.
For art or prints that you want to keep for a long time, this product is not suitable.

Canvas suitable for prints or art is made from cotton,linen or poly-cotton (which is a blend of polyester and cotton). Canvas printing is usually done on either cotton or poly-cotton. All canvas has a weight rating which says how heavy the fabric is. Basically the heavier the canvas weight, the more strength and durability it has, therefore the better it will last.

If you want a print that will look good long term, then you should use a heavy weight canvas. Premium canvas prints are usually done on canvas that weighs over 400gsm. Photographers and artists usually prefer to print on this weight canvas as it not only lasts longer, but also adds a look and feels of quality to their finished artwork. Another advantage of heavier weight canvas is that it holds it’s shape when it is stretched over a large frame to create a big canvas print. A light weight canvas that is stretched over a large frame can sag and stretch over time.

For a rough measure of standard, a print done on canvas that weighs 400gsm or higher is high quality; a print done on 300gsm to 400gsm is about mid-range; and a print done on 180gsm to 300gsm is in the lower quality range. Anything printed on canvas 120gsm and less is poor quality.

The reason canvas that weighs 120gsm or less is rated as poor quality is that it is relatively easy to rip, puncture or otherwise damage. I would not recommend it for any sized canvas print except perhaps a very small one. Unfortunately some print companies do use this weight as it is cheaper to buy. If you are getting a canvas print made and there is nothing on their website, or in their shop, to tell you the weight of the canvas, then it is a case of “buyer beware”.

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How to Photograph Artwork for Printing on Canvas

Tips and Tricks for the Beginner

Maybe you have a child’s artwork you want to preserve by making it into a canvas print, or you have artwork of your own you want to print on to canvas, here are some simple tips to help you take good quality photographs of that art.

Child's art work

Using the Right Camera

DSLR set up for shootYou need a good quality camera for this. Surprisingly, the camera on your smart phone may well do the trick.

The flagship phones of well known brands such as Samsung, iPhone & LG ship with high quality cameras that are superior to many point and shoot cameras and are even replacing DSLRs for some people.

Great lighting

You can photograph your art outside, however, make sure it is a cloudy or overcast day and keep out of direct sunlight.

You can also photograph inside. Diffused lighting is best rather than directly spot lighting the art. Light up the whole room if possible. This way you are less likely to have glare or shadows on the art. It’s also best to avoid using your camera’s built in flash as this will almost certainly cause glare.

Avoid light sources that will introduce unnatural colour tints to your artwork such as florescent or halogen lights. LED lighting close to daylight temperature can now be bought off the shelf at your local hardware store or supermarket and these can work well.

Many phone cameras, point and shoot cameras, as well as DSLRs have white balance settings that allow you to set and check how the colours are being reproduced as you shoot.

It also pays to avoid shooting framed artworks with glass over them which will result in reflection. It’s worth the effort to remove the art from the frame for shooting.

Composition – Parallel, Centred & Steady

Make sure the camera lens is parallel and centred to the artwork. Otherwise the art will end up distorted.

Keep it steady; use a tripod and time delay if your camera has them. This will mean there is no movement of your hand to blur or distort the picture.

Hang the Art

Attaching canvas print to wall
Hang the artwork against a blank wall. Some people believe a black wall is best and some believe a white wall is best. What they do agree on is that the wall should be blank.

Rather than hanging the art on a picture hook on the wall (which will result in the picture having a very slight lean to it), velcro it flat against the wall. Use a velcro that can be removed without damaging the wall.

Fill the Lens but leave a Boarder

Get as close as you can to the artwork, but leave a boarder around it. This will help you check that the photograph did not distort the picture shape. Crop the boarder from the final photo using a computer programme, or Eziprint can remove it for you.

With your camera phone, avoid using the zoom to compose your shot, shift the camera position to find the ideal framing.

If you’re using a DSLR with a kit zoom lens avoid either end of the zoom to minimise distortion, there is generally a sweet spot somewhere mid range – shoot some test shots and check them on your desktop computer.

Photo, Check, Photo, Check

Take 3 or 4 photos and then check them on your camera and then on a computer with a larger screen. If something is not quite right, alter the lighting or whatever the problem is and then photograph again.

Sometimes you will have a glare from a light or a shadow from something that will spoil the image but you don’t notice it until it is enlarged on a screen. Repeat until you get a photo that is as close to the original artwork as possible.

What next?

Send it to Eziprint and we will turn it into a lovely canvas print of your artwork that you can hang on your wall and enjoy for years.


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