For last month’s fundraiser art auction hosted by the Hell’s Bells Car Club at 941 Geary in San Francisco, I was lucky enough to test out the services of BumbleJax in Seattle, WA. BumbleJax is a digital printing company that mounts finished photographs on either 1/2″ gatorboard, 1/8″ acrylic (with dibond aluminum composite backing), 1/8″ aluminum, or 3/4″ bamboo. Their quality is absolutely top notch and completed work shows up ready to hang immediately out of the box. All mounting hardware is included and attached to the back.
A Few Important Facts:
- Finished pieces are flush mounted for a frameless display. So this is great alternative to traditional matting and framing. BumbleJax does the grunt work of cleanly bonding (2) 1′ x 2″ Douglas-fir slats to float the work away from the wall. Hanging wire is attached and drywall hooks are included.
- Images are printed on Ilford 10mil professional satin photobase paper (acid free) on a HP 6100 large format printer with HP Vivera pigment inks that are rated to last an excess of 100 years without fading if kept out of direct sunlight. Metallic paper is also available.
- Bumblejax has a return policy and satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.
- After choosing an image, I uploaded it to the BumbleJax website, selected my size, and substrate material. The online interface is simple and the FAQ is laid out well for finding answers to any questions. Shipping time was as predicted according to BumbleJax’s website. As with most online printing companies, they support color spaces sRGB, Adobe RGB 1998, and accept JPEG files only. Not at all a problem if you embed either color space into your files and save at a JPEG quality level of 10 before uploading.
Interview with Corey Dwinnell of Bumblejax about the process.
JW: How do the adhesives used to mount the prints effect the archival quality of the prints?
Corey: The adhesive is PH neutral so they will not compromise the print at all.
JW: Do the laminates protect against UV rays?
Corey: Yes, they have built in UV inhibitors (but keep out of direct sunlight)
JW: How does the satin finish (for prints mounted to aluminum, bamboo, gatorboard) and acrylic laminates effect archival properties?
Corey: The satin laminate and the adhesive used during the face-mounting process both have UV inhibitors to further protect the print from UV damage. Technically, when a print is pressure mounted to a substrate it is no longer truly archival. However, these prints will last decades without fading as long as they are kept out of direct sunlight and high humidity. It is also recommended that all artwork, no matter how it is framed or displayed, be rotated every other year so that it is not in the same light environment year after year.
JW: I assume the acrylic laminate is more clear and less noticeable than the satin finish. True?
Corey: Yes, the acrylic mounting is a completely different process. It is called face-mounting. Here is a link explaining this process further: http://blog.bumblejax.com/printing/what-is-face-mounting/
So What Do I Think Of BumbleJax?
I choose to mount a photograph on 15″x20″ aluminum which includes a satin finish. The printing, mounting, finishing, and construction quality it terrific. For frameless mounting of a photo I would be hard pressed to find better materials or a more convenient service. I was blown away at the results. This type of presentation will take your work to a completely different level. The photos above do not give the final product justice. It looks much more high-end in real life. The perfectly flat 1/8″ aluminum feels solid and definitive. It’s weight alone makes you feel like you are holding something important and of substance. The satin finish is a great protective surface that does not catch reflections from interior lights. The only downfall is that whites in the image are less reflective and will appear closer to 5% gray.
Conclusion: I’ll be using them again, and I can’t wait! Thanks to BumbleJax and Corey Dwinnell for providing a great service. Check out BumbleJax for more info on prices and services.
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Mounting and Hanging Photos Without A Frame: