How to print to acrylic, glass, wood, metal and textiles?

This blog explains how to print directly onto acrylic, glass, wood, metal and textiles using a flatbed UV printer. 

What is direct to substrate UV printing?

Direct to substrate UV printing is a process that applies image, text and colour directly to the substrate surface

In printing terms a substrate surface is the base material that the ink will be printed onto such as wood, acrylic, glass, paper, canvas or other textile products. 

Direct to substrate printing is achieved using a specialised printer, known as a large flatbed UV substrate printer.

With the addition of white ink to the standard CMYK inks on a standard digital printer, these printers are capable of printing white text, imagery and 2nd surface layers for backlit displays.

What is a flatbed printer?

A flatbed printer is a large format printer that has an additional integrated vacuum table that holds media stationary while printing, allowing multiple pre-manufactured panels to be printed onto.

What is UV printing?

UV printing is a form of digital printing that uses ultra-violet light to dry and cure ink as it is printed. As the printer distributes ink onto the surface of the substrate, specially designed UV lights follow close behind, drying  the ink instantly.

What can I print onto?

Direct to substrate UV printing is used for a multitude of flat media including; acrylic, glass, wood, metal and textiles to a very high quality.

Rigid materials are positioned onto the flatbed vacuum table whilst flexible media can be printed from a roll.


Can I print onto glass?

UV printing onto glass

Yes you can print directly onto glass when using a direct to substrate UV printer. Here are examples of white and silver ink printed direct to clear glass.

Artwork & images credits: Standard8


Can I print onto wood?

UV substrate print direct to plywood

Direct UV printing onto wood can offer many aesthetic outcomes. Here are examples of various coloured inks used for flat colour floor plans, 3D textured text, photographic imagery and illustration.

Artwork & images credits: Standard8


Can I print onto Acrylic?

UV substrate print direct to acrylic

UV Printing onto acrylic can achieve high quality fine text. Here are examples of text and fine line illustration onto transparent and opaque acrylic panels.

Artwork & images credits:Inkmill Vinyl & Standard8


Can I print onto Metal?

UV substrate print direct to metal

Printing directly to metal is an excellent way to achieve internal and external signage. Here are examples of UV printing direct to pre-painted folded metal.

Artwork & images credits: Standard8

What scale can I print up to?

The Oce Arizona 350GT flatbed printer is a large format printer with the capacity to print onto rigid media up to 120cm wide x 240cm long up to the thickness of 5cm. Flexible media on a roll such as paper and canvas can go up to a width of 220cm.

What can direct to substrate UV printing be used for?

Project possibilities are vast when using a large format UV substrate flatbed printer including exterior and indoor interior displays, fine art and photographic reproduction, architectural and directional signage, event signage, hoardings and point-of-purchase signage and banners.
Besides large scale formats a flatbed printer is also designed to print onto pre-manufactured panels and products in great detail otherwise not achievable in any other format.



Inkmill Vinyl print graphics and imagery using a OCE Arizona UV Flatbed Printer for a multitude of clients from independent business signage to large scale exhibitions.

If you have a project you’d like to discuss we are always happy to here from you, please get in touch


T + 44 (0)1273 417605       


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