WHCC Float Wraps
UPDATE: My original version of this review took place on 01/30/2010. I updated the review on 08/05/2010 after making another order of float wraps.
I recently took advantage of one of White House Custom Colour‘s (WHCC) winter sales, namely: 25% of their Float Wraps. Float Wraps are similar to gallery wraps or stand outs, but have a slightly different aesthetic (i.e. they appear to be “floating” on the wall). Additionally, they can be anywhere from slightly to significantly less expensive then gallery wrapped canvas. For example, the 20×24 Float Wrap that I purchased from WHCC cost $76.25 while a 20×24 gallery wrap canvas from Artist Photo Canvas (APC) runs $125 (WHCC charges $117 for a 20×24 gallery wrap canvas, but that’s the one photo product I get from somewhere else, namely, APC). If I had my photo printed on fine art canvas, instead of as a lustre print, before it was made into a float wrap, the prices would be much closer. Also, if you’re having your order shipped to your home “studio” (whether this is your home or an actual studio) then UPS ground shipping is included with the purchase price (WHCC normally does some type of free shipping to the home studio with all of their orders).
I prepared my original submissions the same way I’d prepare a gallery wrap; by using onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals and its gallery wrap feature. Before my wraps were printed, however, I received a all from WHCC, explaining that, because float wraps aren’t pulled as tightly as a standard gallery wrap, my float wraps might end up not looking as I intended. Their customer service representative then spent some time going over tips on how to prepare the images to best work in the float wrap format. After I prepared the images based on their tips, I called WHCC again and they reviewed the images on the phone with me and made sure that things would look right before even starting production. It was a thoroughly impressive customer service process.
To summarize their recommendations for making a float wrap: Essentially you want one inch of extra space around your entire image. For example, if you’re making an 8×12 float wrap, you want to submit a 10×14 image. Ideally, you want this extra inch to just be part of the photo that’s not important so it’s okay if it happens to get wrapped. You do not want to “mirror” this extra inch like you might on a gallery wrap, since the wrap actually only hides about 1/2 an inch of that extension. If you are concerned about your preparation, I recommend putting a note in your order that says you’re unsure about whether or not you’ve prepared the images correctly and you’d like to have them reviewed before processing. This should put your order on hold when its uploaded and allow you to contact a customer service representative for a review. I’ve done this for all of my orders and found it very helpful.
Float wraps arrives in the quality, protective, packaging that all WHCC shipments arrive in. In fact, it can be almost a hassle to get it out of the padding, cardboard, and plastic it comes in. The individual wraps themselves have a thick block of gatorboard sticking out of the back that has 2 to 4 holes in it (at least those are the numbers I’ve seen on the sizes I’ve ordered. The float wraps with 4 holes allow you to select which 2 holes you want to use for mounting, so you can select the proper orientation for your photo.). To mount the float wrap on the wall, I’ve found the best method is to simply put 2 nails or 2 screws in the wall at a distance matching the distance between the holes in the gatorboard (level of course). That has been enough to support the 20×24 float wrap I have, as well as all of the smaller ones.
As anyone who has been to my house has realized, I’m a big fan of WHCC’s float wraps. They have provided me with an attractive way to display some of my favorite photos while not forcing me to make the cost investment required by gallery wrap canvas. Combine a really strong product with WHCC’s top level customer service, and it’s a solid option to display pictures. I currently have 8 hanging on my walls, and I imagine that number will grow before too long.