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Tom Grassi, owner of Image-Tec in Methuen, Mass., brought soothing street scenes to a rehabilitation hospital using repositionable Photo Tex PSA Fabric. What the installation shows is the versatility of wall murals utilizing the Photo Tex material – from full wall wraps to life-size sports art that can be cut out and applied to make an effective artistic or advertising impression.
Grassi printed a total of six 3x12 ft. panels per wall, for a total of 12 panels, which were then applied by a three-person team. The team started the first panel at the top, took about 24 inches of the adhesive back off, squared it up, and pasted that section down. One person pulled the adhesive off at the leading edge as the material was applied, another person was stationed at the end keeping it taut, and Grassi kept it going and aligned from his perch on a ladder.
“We didn’t peel the backing off the whole thing at one time; that way you get into trouble, because if the material sticks to itself, it’s a bear,” says Grassi. “But the material is very forgiving nonetheless, because you can pull it back, apply it, and pull it back off if you need to. It’s repositionable and you don’t need any special tools to install it.”
Grassi printed the panels on his Epson 9800. Since Grassi does not have a RIP, and was printing through the Epson driver, he took the master photo file and divided it up into the 3 ft. x 12 ft. panels.
“I laid the panels out on the studio floor to make sure they lined up nicely. I rolled up each panel, marked its position on the wall, and did the install with a couple of ladders and butterflies in my stomach since it was the first time we had done something like this, and the open house for the rehabilitation center was the same day as our installation of the second wall,” recalls Grassi. “We also ran it borderless because I didn’t want to have to do any trimming; I wanted all the panels ready to go for installation. I liked the way the Photo Tex imaged; it has a nice matte finish, so no matter what the environment is you won’t get a big glare off the material. “
Grassi’s other big challenge was getting the relatively low-resolution of the original files up to a printable resolution. “I sized up the originals, and ran them in 44 x 15 inch strips so I could see how they looked, and they looked pretty good considering their size. But I knew they’d look even better if I applied the Genuine Fractals filter to them and then printed them on Photo Tex,” says Grassi.
But it wasn’t as easy as it appeared at first blush as Grassi soon found that Genuine Fractals doesn’t work well with files that are over 2 GB.
“I found a workaround where if I brought the file up in thirds and kept the dpi at 150 it worked pretty well,” he says. “Once I got everything to print, and put some test strips and stuck them on the wall, they looked marvelous with the Genuine Fractals filter applied.”
Though the car sitting in the room appears to be out of place, it’s actually an integral part of the rehabilitation center’s program. Patients practice getting into and out of the car and loading groceries. A hand rail will also be reinstalled around the room on top of the mural. To prepare for the installation, Grassi had the center remove the rail and the thermostat.