Thursday, February 18, 2010

Digital Printing on Wood Veneer

Wood veneer, what a great surface for digital printing.  For these test examples of the wood surface, I used a bark print designed from a photo taken in Yosemite's Mariposa Grove.  The print is textural and works well with the grain of the wood veneer.    The prints are created with 6 of the inkAID precoats: semi gloss, clear matte, type ll, pearl iridescent, silver iridescent and gold iridescent.  Who would want to cover the wood with an iridescent when the wood grain may not show thru?  I would, because I want to see what effect all the precoats have on the wood and the look of the print.  You never know what you may discover.

The iridescent is interesting since it emphasizes the texture of the wood and still shows some of the grain.  You can see from the pictures, the iridescent's look white that is mostly cause by reflection of the iridescent.  Up close they look mostly iridescent, but these precoats do lighten up the wood surface.

The differences in the precoats are hard to capture on camera, but there is a difference between the semi gloss, clear matte and the type ll.  My choice for clarity and the brightest image on the wood is clear matte.  Although my advice is to try all of the coatings to see which is best for your purpose.  It is always better to try them all and make notes while you are experimenting.  The gold iridescent is beautiful on the wood.

I worked with a cherry type color of veneer and also a white birch type color.  You will need to decide what is best for your purposes.  My suggestion again is to try them and play with images and coatings to see what works for you.

Here are some hints on coating the veneer.  If you are using smaller pieces of veneer (my prints measured 17" x 76") you will want to tape the very edges of the veneer to your table.  The thinner the veneer, the more it wants to roll when wet.  If you have the veneer rolling to one side or the other, even when you flatten it, you may have a little lift on the edge.  This lift will or edge curl can catch on your print heads and that is not a good thing.  I pressed the veneer with an iron after coating and drying, and set it under my 48" x 96" mats on my tables.  There was a little edge lift or curl when I coated the back side with white matte precoat in order to print the back.  I didn't tape the veneer to the table, but probably will the next time.  No carrier sheet was used to print.

My next challenge is the art pieces that are taking shape in my mind.  It will take a bit to get that going and once I do, the results will be in a future post.

If you want more information about the wood veneer I am working with, please contact Pat Dowlen.
He is a great guy and would love to talk to you about this product.  He can tell you how to purchase the veneer and sizes etc.  You can also contact me for any questions you have about working with this surface.  I am happy to share whatever I know.

Detail pics of printed veneer:


  1. Wow what a difference the wood veneer looked like when I first sent it to you This is totally awesome . I like it.
    Here's a tip! when the paperthin veneer curls run it over the edge of
    a table and it will take alot of the curl out.

  2. Thanks for the tip on the curling, Pat. Kind of works like my beverage cans, I run them over the edge to straighten them out for printing. Awesome.

  3. These would make amazing covers for a journal. What ideas do you have in mind for them, Kathyanne?

  4. They would make outstanding covers. Last night I started working on ideas for a book. Using printed mesh and beads, I am making a book in the round, but it will be stuffed full with pages from these prints. Once I get it going enough, I will post it in process.

  5. you never cease to amaze me... what creativity! :)


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