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  • Printing onto frosted, fitting outdoors, Laminating

    Posted by Martyn Heath on March 28, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    Hi folks.

    I received some artwork today for a shop that I am doing. I’m yet to speak to the designer but the main windows have a fade to them without a background at the top so printing onto standard vinyl is out of the question. I’m putting my bets on it being frosted (as other shops have a plain frosted band at the bottom) which brings me to a few questions I’m hoping you can help with:

    * Ive never fitted printed frosted outside before, what is the best lam to use? Matte, I assume.

    * Should it be optically clear or does it not matter

    Also, the artwork has white in it which is a huge problem as I can’t print it so the only way around this I see is laying the white in vinyl over the top which A is a pain and B I don’t know how it would look.


    Martyn Heath replied 1 year, 2 months ago 5 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • John Hughes

    March 28, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Hi Martyn.
    Print on to polymeric etch as normal but create contour cut lines around the white sections….. they look quite basic?
    So print & cut. Cut these white sections from white vinyl and lay them into your printed etch so all flat. Laminate all in polymeric matt..

    This way a smooth finish.
    Sub out to a printer that can print white

  • RobertLambie

    March 29, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Hi Martyn

    This is purely guesswork because I can only do this from your photo of the windows, mate.

    Am I correct, that you are saying these graphics should be fitted “outside” onto the glass?
    If so, I would use Gloss laminate, because the window surface is gloss. If you do not, then the top section that has no graphics will be shiny glass, but the lower section with the prints will be matt. If that make sense? I would keep it all consistent.

    I also “think” the windows might NOT be glass etch vinyl.
    They look like they could be entirely printed in green blending out to an almost white mint finish, which is printed onto clear vinyl and laminated. as I say, “I am guessing” but This would also allow for those white sections to be done in the same print pass.
    Furthermore, the colours Green, black and white, look pretty strong. when printing to glass etch vinyl, the colours normally look more washed out and semi-transparent.

    Again, if the lower section is all a print, fitted outside. then the actual white “logo” could easily be fitted on top in cut white vinyl, after the prints are applied.
    I am completely guessing from the photos though mate.

  • Martyn Heath

    March 29, 2023 at 5:47 am

    Thanks for your feedback guys.

    She sent over this internal picture of one that has been done. She said that the shops are all done slightly different altho they should all be the same.

    So lower part is either printed frosted or clear lam and im not sure about the top part.

    My feeling would be to do the the lower windows one way and the top and solid covering side windows in normal printed vinyl as there is no fade but this would obviously give a very different look.

    Rob those 2 examples you posted look like frosted? not clear?

    Im guessing frosted or clear could both work. What way would you go with it?

  • Pane Talev

    March 29, 2023 at 7:24 am

    Your last photo looks print on clear. Colours look washed.

    The vans are showing up.

    I will guess gloss laminate, because matt will make a frost / matt-ish finish and the vehicle will not be showing as much.

    Judging from your first photo. If you can, offer frost from the inside the shop. Rest from the outside. Stronger colours. Simplicity for the client. Frost is privacy. And they can change the outside without touching the frost.

    Original designer mock up is very different from final product.

    • Martyn Heath

      March 29, 2023 at 7:54 am

      Thanks pane. Yes the colours are also an issue. Their green is vibrant and looks perfect printed on normal vinyl. When you shift to clear or frosted it looks fine from inside shop but much darker outside. I just done test prints to figure this all out.

      I think my suggestion is going to be frosted on the lower windows but then normal vinyl on all other windows so that their brand colours are actually met.


  • Martyn Heath

    March 29, 2023 at 7:56 am

    This is another example of a shop they have had done.

    Frosted at the bottom and normal at top. Huge difference in colour

  • David Hammond

    March 29, 2023 at 8:54 am

    Designers getting involved… that usually the problem 😂

    You can print onto frost, and I’d use a matt laminate, as most frost films are matt anyway.

    If it was going on the inside, I’d reverse print onto clear, then back up with the frost.

    Regardless, the majority of the light will be entering the shop, so will look great from inside, and ouside it’ll be rather subdued, and dark, without backing it up with white.

    As said, the photo looks to be printed on a clear rather than frost but the same problems will occur.

    Looking at the previous photo’s though, I would imagine they’re not overly concerned about this, but at a very least would be ensuring the end client is aware so there’s no comebacks on you.

  • RobertLambie

    March 29, 2023 at 11:03 am


    Yes, mate. Those are frosted print examples i have posted, not clear.
    My point is the frosted colours are washed out. the ones in your windows, are not, which indicates it is clear vinyl printed with a combination of white ink. which will give the colours more strength.

    Your updated photos confirm they are indeed using clear, because the prints are transparent, frosted is not. but in the New window photo, it is NOT white printed. without the white ink, the prints will be even more washed out, “near invisible printed images”. which I personally wouldn’t advise on. However, there are still areas of white graphics showing. so I’m still a little confused on how this was done. could simply be a combination of prints and cut vinyl.

  • Martyn Heath

    March 29, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    Yes a lot of conflicting shops going on with this job. Well i feel that i have a better understanding of the options now and i have put an email together noting the different techniques with different shops and the good and bad just to cover my arse. Going to follow this up with a call to the head office in the big city tomorrow and get them to make the decisions.

    As usual, thanks for the help guys much appreciated

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