I Was a Backlit Junkie

by Randy Anderson, Product Marketing Manager


As an aspiring artist, ok, more of a wannabe artist, backlit graphics have always impressed me.

As a techie, backlits intrigued me.

Getting an image to ‘match’ the lighted state with the unlit state seemed to be more of an art form rather than ‘just’ a profile. There were all kinds of issues, you had neon, fluorescent tubes and a variety of other lights that could be virtually impossible to use as a white point.

Then came LEDs.  Then came LEDs in virtually any color you wanted.  At that point, I had moved on to dye sublimation and textile applications and was wowed by backlit fabrics.

I Got a Little Help

Joe Terramagra from REXframe (http://rexframe.com) introduced me to SEG, Silicone Edge Graphics frames for fabric display and back backlighting, and I bought a backlit frame from them.

I got a hold of my friend Mike Sanders from Pacific Coast Fabrics (now Top Value Fabrics – https://www.topvaluefabrics.com) and Mike sent me a sample of dye sublimation backlight fabric.

I did a few prints and taped them up to the frame to check out my work.  Impressive as I thought it was, I still had an issue – I don’t sew.

Yes, of course, I tried just jamming the silicone strip in the slot, without sewing, but wasn’t really satisfied with that.

I thought about finding someone who sews and works with them, but my initial volumes were the one lightbox I owned and I mostly needed to play.

So I took the light box home and it sat in the garage for a time…… a long time.

I Found Great Stuff

At SGIA last year, I got introduced to Keder Tape by Rick Hatton and the people at BannerUps (https://bannerups.com/), this is an adhesive silicone strip that doesn’t require sewing.

So I got a hold of Mike again, and he sent over some Microlux Soft 8179FLBS, which is a two-sided backlit fabric for dye sublimation.  One side is a DecoTex texture and the other – a nice smooth satin, perfect for the kind of artwork I want to display.

So I dug out my REXframe light box, brought it back into work and did some text prints.

Applied the Keder Tape, ok, it took me a couple of tries to get a technique down (unlike sewing, the adhesive silicone can be removed, repositioned or applied to another piece of fabric).