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Estimate Software- Printing software that helps you find the hidden treasure in your business.

Creating Magnet-Receptive Graphics

In this day and age, a little diversification of your business can go a long way.

By Hayden Kelley

Over the past several years the wide format printing community has been inundated with new ‘niche’ applications for large format images. From billboards to vehicle wraps, textiles to window graphics, your customers now have a wide range of options available to them. While all of the above unique applications certainly have the potential to boost your company’s bottom line, they also have something else in common…an initial capital investment that can range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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  • While there are many different opportunities for wide format printers to increase profitability, arguably the best way is to introduce new products that do not require a heavy investment in specialized equipment or rigorous employee training. There is a growing interest in finding new finishing methods, or finished products, that can have an immediate impact on the bottom line without the initial capital expenditure for new equipment and/or expertise.

    One application that has grown in popularity over the past few years is for Magnet-Receptive Graphics. What are Magnet-Receptive Graphics? They are exactly what their name suggests, graphics that your customers can affix magnets to (or graphics your customer can affix to magnets, as the case may be). These are used for a wide range of different applications including Maps, Calendars, In/Out Boards, Presentation Boards, as well as the profitable ‘Courtroom Graphics’ niche. While these markets have always existed, it is only recently that developments in finishing materials have not only allowed you to create vibrant graphics that are receptive to magnets at a reasonable cost, but also do so using lightweight materials that do not require special equipment (for ease of manufacture and shipping). If your business already offers in-house finishing services then you should offer this as a high-end (and thus more profitable) finishing option to your clients.

    What is required?
    The most important tool required is a laminator (either hot or cold). You will also require the following materials to get the job done:

    Mounting adhesive
    - either pressure-sensitive or heat-activated.

    Metallic Paper
    - Sheet metal is not recommended due to the challenges faced when cutting the material (not to mention the increased weight of your finished piece).

    ­ We recommend that you use a sturdy substrate (e.g. Gatorboard or Sintra would be appropriate).

    Laminating Film
    - for added versatility we recommend the use of a dry-erase laminating film, although virtually any film is suitable for this application.

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    The fabrication steps

    • Pre-coat your substrate with the mounting adhesive, then trim the excess adhesive from around the board. Peel back the release liner and apply the metallic paper to the face of your substrate in the very same manner that you would mount a print to a substrate.
    • The second portion of the manufacturing process can be completed in several steps (i.e. application of adhesive, application of graphic, then application of laminating film), but the most efficient is to decal your selected image ­ that is to apply an adhesive to the back side of your image while applying your chosen laminating film to the face of the image at the same time.
    • Trim the excess adhesive and laminating film, and then simply mount your print to the magnetic receptive board.
    • Your graphic is complete.

    You can now affix magnets of all kinds to this board. We recommend a magnetic sheet or tape of at least .020 (20 mils) in thickness. Also, you can use magnetic tape on items such as Matchbox Cars. Should your customer desire that you include removable graphics then we recommend applying those graphics to a magnetic sheet (these are available in several different gauges and widths up to 47” wide).

    As mentioned earlier, a dry-erase laminating film is recommended as an added benefit for your customer. However, certain scenarios may prevent you from doing so, e.g. high-traffic areas where a scuff-resistant finish may be required. Simply switch the laminating film to whatever finish your customer desires, but be sure not to exceed 5.0 mils in thickness as thicker gauge films may have an adverse effect on the magnets’ ability to stick to your substrate.

    The Magnet-Receptive Displays described above are only one of the many different options available to both your business and in turn your customers. With the present economic climate being what it is, now is the time to introduce finished products such as these to your customers. Not only will it give you the opportunity to “upsell” your customers for their graphic needs, but may also give you an opportunity to create your own niche. Most importantly, however, projects such as these will contribute to the bottom line.

    Speak to your film and media vendors. Ask them what new products they have available and whether or not they have any ideas and/or success stories to share with you, for they are often an under-utilized source of valuable information and ideas. More importantly use your imagination. Heck, speak to your staff and ask them to use their imagination. Not all “ideas” may lead to riches, but trying something new like a ‘Magnet-Receptive Display’ can lead your business to new markets; markets that can assist your business in reaching its long-term goals.

    Hayden Kelley is the General Manager of Drytac Canada headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. For comments and suggestions, he can be contacted by email at You can visit Drytac's web site at

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