What Makes Acrylic Photo Prints Fade And How To Avoid Fading

by Alex Melen on December 12, 2022

What Makes Acrylic Photo Prints Fade And How To Avoid Fading

Whether you purchase an acrylic print or create your own by printing a photo, acrylic photo prints are a great way to display an image. Since you are looking at the picture through a layer of acrylic, the print has a ton of depth, and the colors may really stand out. But would acrylic prints deteriorate? Acrylic will gradually fade with time just like any other print medium. Although sunlight and other environmental irritants can hasten the fading process, acrylic printing is highly resistant to ultraviolet radiation and, in ideal circumstances, can endure for decades. 

What Are the Reasons for Which Acrylic Photo Prints Fade? 

A variety of things might lead to an acrylic print's fading and overall degeneration. 

  • Sunlight
  • Certain sources of light
  • Heat
  • Humidity 

Sunlight is the main factor in the fading of all prints, even acrylic prints. Matter absorbs specific light frequencies, which is why we see colors as we do. The amount of a wavelength that a dye or an ink absorbs is what gives the color that is apparent to the human eye. The light frequencies or wavelengths that inks and dyes absorb are determined by the chemical substances employed to make them. These color-absorbing substances will ultimately degrade when exposed to sunshine. Even if the effects are less severe, indirect sunlight could still induce fading. However, since the printed image is shielded by an acrylic covering, ambient light has little effect on any bleaching or fading that may occur. 

Alternate Sources of Light 

Ambient light sources are one item that we do not typically consider to be a factor in fading. However, UV light is produced by incandescent and fluorescent lights. However, in order to detect any bleaching or color fading, a bright light source would need to be used, and the printing would have to be exposed for a long time. An illustration would be the lighting seen in tanning booths. On the other hand, ultraviolet light is not produced by LED lighting. 

How to Prevent the Fading of Acrylic Photo Prints 

Start with a print that is well-made. Quality papers, inks, and materials are used by reputable and experienced print laboratories. It would even be possible to ask for ultraviolet-resistant inks. One common technique for producing acrylic prints allows for a wide range of crisp pictures with excellent color depth. An example of a face-mount printing is this. The picture is printed onto superior photographic paper, mounted to the back of the acrylic sheet, and then sealed. This indicates that you are looking at the image via an acrylic layer from the front. Additionally, it shields the picture from ultraviolet and sun exposure. The photographic paper is then sealed and shielded by a supporting substrate. 

Direct printing is the second technique. Similar to an inkjet printer, the picture is printed backwards to the back of the acrylic sheet. So, when looking at the image from the front, you are viewing it correctly. The ink can subsequently be sealed inside of a variety of substrates, each of which affects the resulting image's quality.