Photography / Hands-on Review

Aluminyze Aluminum Print Ordering Kit

Want a durable, yet beautiful print that you can show off to your friends? Aluminyze is the way to go. This service will print your images on a sheet of aluminum, giving you all of the advantages that go along with it. Besides the “cool” factor associated with having your photos printed on aluminum, there are huge benefits to the Aluminyze process. The most significant of these advantages is the durability. The dye-sublimation process infuses with a special coating on the aluminum to give it a long-lasting finish.

Having had photos printed by numerous methods, not having to worry about touching or handling my print, is a nice change. With aluminum prints, I can take an average household cleaner and paper towel to wipe it down. Additionally, you don't have to worry about the metal fading or potential UV light damage from which traditional paper prints suffer.

I was able to see a physical 8 x 10” ordering kit, which offers the added benefit of a physical 4 x 3” sample print. This gave me my first impressions of the process, and it looked great; the colors were vibrant and the metal felt quite substantial. If you prefer, electronic delivery of the ordering kit is also available.

After handling a few larger samples, there were easy comparisons to standard paper prints. The first thing you notice is the thickness. This is to be expected of course, but it is a good feeling just picking up a print and not having it droop in your hands. It was like moving from consumer to professional-grade paper, except this adds another level, transitioning from paper to metal.

Another easy comparison is to mounted photographs. While there are a variety of different ways to mount an image, be it framed, face-mounted, or others, aluminum easily holds the trophy for most durable. It also fits right in with simple, modern design, sliding right onto your wall and eliminating a potentially distracting border.

It is worth noting the edges are rounded, so you won’t be cut or injured if you graze the metal edge. I know this is a small thing, but I have cut fingers in the past while framing traditional prints.

Placing an order is a smooth process. Aluminyze gives you a step-by-step set of selections that will guide you through your choices. It was here that I first realized the versatility of aluminum; it can be made into a huge number of shapes and sizes. Right now, they offer snowflakes, panoramas, and smartphone cases, among others. This makes it a perfect choice for holiday gifts or decorations.

Once you make your decision, you will be guided to an upload screen. It will advise you on the minimum resolution and the optimal resolution of your submissions. For an 8 x 10” print, it was 800 x 1000 (100 dpi) minimum, or 2400 x 3000 (300 dpi) recommended. The basic formula is to add two zeros to your dimensions. So 8” equals 800 pixels on that side. And then you would triple this for the recommended resolution, so 2400 x 3000 for the 8 x 10” print.

After you get past this step, it gets even easier. You quickly crop and rotate your photo to your taste and move on, where you can pick the mount for your print. The options are few, but very different. There is an acrylic pedestal, an easel mount like the ones you would find on a frame, a wall float, or magnets. Each of the available options depends on the size of your image, of course. A 20 x 30” print on an easel will not be sturdy. You can also choose no mount as an option if you have other plans for the image.

Just to double-check, they do allow you to fix rotation once more here. And then you have the final, but perhaps most important decision: the type of backing, either white or silver, and then your choice of matte or glossy surface types.

Don’t worry—each option has a detailed description and recommendations. To give a summary however, silver will shine through your highlights and give a foil-like appearance, while white will allow your images to maintain their original color. The other option is either matte, which will dull reflections, or a brighter glossy finish.

The silver option brings a whole new element to the equation. It gives a more textured, 3-dimensional look and feel to the photograph. Definitely worth it if you feel like experimenting. But, while very intriguing, silver is not recommended for images of people or those with many highlights; it is best suited to photos like black-and-white landscapes.

If you want to stay safe, stick with the white backing and you will see your colors pop, just like they do on your computer screen. Matte and glossy will come down to personal preference, but glossy is a very good choice for most photographs.

Congratulations! You are now ready to place your order. They will ship out your image within 2-5 days of purchase and all you need to do is sit and wait.

And when it arrives, just hang it or set it up. You now have a sleek aluminum print that fits perfectly alongside your household décor, so make sure to show it off to your guests.

For the entire range of print sizes available, click here to access the complete Aluminyze Aluminum Print Ordering Kit catalog.

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However, I question your claim that it is not susceptible to UV radiation. I am aware of no other man-made colored surfaces that, in the long term, can demonstrate immunity to the deteriorating effects of UV.

Perhaps you meant to say that it deteriorates more slowly than paper prints do?

What's the best way to hang the end product? Perhaps the stick-on hook (e.g. - 'Command')?

Are those prints as stable and the colors as vivid as the Cibachrome prints are/were?

I would like info or site on how to make my own prints please advise.