What Is a Metal Print?

What Are Metal Prints? (What Do They Look Like)

In a nutshell, metal prints are lightweight, high-definition, contemporary-looking photos printed on a smooth metal sheet.

The metal sheet is typically made with aluminum (which is why they’re not magnetic) and is normally around 1/16 inches thick.

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

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

Metal Prints by Society6

Click here to see TRENDING METAL PRINTS on Society6 – updated daily!

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

  • Brush Metal Prints: These are sometimes called silver metal prints. This type of print shows the metal 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 metal print is best used for artwork. I wouldn’t choose this for portraits.
  • Classic Metal Prints: This is the most popular type of metal 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: Similar to the classic metal prints, this high-gloss metal print is best if you’re looking to showcase a lot of rich, vibrant, high-contrast colors. However, this type of metal 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.

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

How Long Do Metal Prints Last?

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

Whether or not metal prints are 100% waterproof is debatable (maybe I wouldn’t submerge my metal 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 metal sheet, so the dye is infused and becomes part of the metal. This makes the metal prints extra durable and scratch-resistant.

Do Metal Prints Fade?

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

Are Metal Prints Worth It?


Metal 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 a metallic print.

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

Cheapest Place To Buy Top-Quality Metal Prints?

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

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

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

And, last but not least, if I’m looking to buy metal prints as an investment (or to impress), I keep going to Artfinder and Saatchi Art! These metal 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 metal prints from the sites mentioned above.

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