What Is an Aluminum Print?

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What Is an Aluminum Print?

In a nutshell, aluminum prints (also commonly called metal prints) are lightweight, high-definition, contemporary-looking photos printed on a smooth aluminum sheet that’s normally around 1/16 inches thick.

High-quality aluminum prints are a great choice if you want to show off artwork or a photo that has a lot of details and rich colors.

Please Note: Not all metal prints are made of aluminum sheets.

Take a look at the video below, to see what a typical aluminum print looks like.

Metal Prints by Society6

Click here to see the #1 TRENDING METAL PRINT on Society6 – updated daily!

There are a lot of different varieties of aluminum prints. But usually, they come the options are as follow:

  • Brush Aluminum/Metal Prints: These are sometimes called silver metal prints. This type of print shows the aluminum sheet wherever there are highlights (white areas) in the photo or artwork. So, the white areas of the photo look like metal. This type of aluminum print is best used for artwork. I wouldn’t choose this for portraits.
  • Classic Aluminum/Metal Prints: This is the most popular type of aluminum print. The aluminum sheet is precoated with a white base layer, so the highlights in the photos will actually be white instead of silver. This is the best choice for most people because it usually has a satin finish, so it’ll have a little sheen but won’t have a lot of glare.
  • Glossy Aluminum/Metal Prints: Similar to the classic aluminum prints, this high-gloss aluminum print is best if you’re looking to showcase a lot of rich, vibrant, high-contrast colors. However, this type of aluminum print is not a good choice if you’ll be hanging it in a room with a lot of overhead lighting or where the sun will be shining directly on it. Because of its glossy finish, it will reflect just like glass would, and it might make the image hard to see.

The most popular way to hang aluminum prints is float mount hanging. This type of hanging has a back mount fixture so the art seems to float about a 1/2 inch in front of the wall.

Please Note: Some cheap printing companies leave the corners of their aluminum prints very sharp. This is why I prefer to pay a little extra for my aluminum prints (usually from Society6 and Redbubble) because I want the prints to have rounded corners.

How Long Do Aluminum Prints Last?

Because of its durable material, high-quality aluminum prints can easily last 100+ years. So you don’t have to worry about longevity.

Whether or not aluminum prints are 100% waterproof is debatable (maybe I wouldn’t submerge my aluminum prints under continuous water), but they’re absolutely water-resistant! So, you can definitely hang them in your bathroom. And, they can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.

Lately, a printing technique called dye-sublimation printing is becoming more popular as well. This technique uses heat to transfer dye into the aluminum sheet, so the dye is infused and becomes part of the metal. This makes the aluminum prints extra durable and scratch-resistant.

Do Aluminum Prints Fade?

If an aluminum print is done right, they’ll use archival inks which will guarantee color permanence (no fading over time).

Are Aluminum Prints Worth It?


Aluminum prints are especially worth it if you want to showcase a super high-contrast HDR style photograph. They make the details and colors of a photograph stand out like you’ve never seen before.

And, they’re really not that expensive. If you’re going to have an art print matted and framed, it will probably cost you the same amount (or even more) than an aluminum print.

However, please keep in mind that aluminum prints have a bold and contemporary look. This means they will look out of place in a more traditionally styled home or office.

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Cheapest Place To Buy Top-Quality Aluminum Prints?

Here are my favorite places to get the cheapest, high-quality aluminum prints.

My top-3 favorite places to get aluminum prints are Society6 and Redbubble. These companies are all known to be high-quality producers of aluminum prints that do not look cheap at all.

If you’re willing to dig a little, you can also find inexpensive aluminum prints on Etsy and Amazon Handmade.

And, last but not least, if I’m looking to buy aluminum prints as an investment (or to impress), I keep going to Artfinder and Saatchi Art! These aluminum prints are usually limited editions, they’re curated by a team of professionals, and are usually more valuable (but a little more expensive) than the aluminum prints from the sites mentioned above.

So, go ahead and buy aluminum prints, support independent artists, and HAVE FUN shopping!