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Custom Wallcovering

Posted on: November 18, 2022 by admin

When decorating commercial-space walls, businesses can choose from thousands of premade vinyl patterns and designs currently on the market. These off-the-rack options can be found quickly with a little browsing. However, selecting the same mundane patterns used by businesses everywhere won’t help a business stand out from all the others. To develop a unique space customers will remember, businesses can create eye-catching custom wallcoverings instead. The process requires a few more steps than just picking a stock pattern, but the tailored end results that enhance the customer experience are worth it.

What Are They?

Any wallcoverings that must be specially produced are custom wallcoverings, which some people call custom wallpaper or murals. These terms – wallcovering, wallpaper, and murals – refer to the same product and can be used interchangeably. For simplicity and consistency, we call them custom wallcoverings. The process for creating custom wallcoverings is somewhat like creating a flyer that will be printed then hung on a wall – but on a much larger scale. The first step with a flyer or custom wallcoverings is designing what will be printed.

What Images Can Be Used?

Many businesses will want to use an image for their custom wallcoverings. In theory, any picture could be turned into a wallcovering. But, for legal reasons, an image’s rights must be acquired if it is to be used. The image must also be a certain quality level to print in large format. More explanation of image rights and quality are detailed below.

Image Rights

Photos found on the internet cannot just be downloaded and turned into custom wallcovering. You either need to own the image, receive written permission from the owner to use it, buy the copyright privileges from a repository such as Shutterstock, or have the custom printer’s designer create something for you. Without having the rights to use an image, potential legal problems may be in your future.

High-quality images

Custom wallcoverings are made to specifically fit the exact dimensions of a business’ wall space. The original image will need to be stretched proportionally to fit the height and width being covered. If the image being used is too small or of low quality, the wallcovering design will look distorted. To avoid this issue, the original image should be at least 300 dpi and be in one of these formats: PDF, jpeg, TIFF.

How Much Does It Cost?

The material used for custom wallcoverings is sold by the square foot. To determine square footage, the width and height of walls are needed. For example, a wall that is 8-foot wide and 10-feet tall would require 80 square feet of material. The material cost for this example space would be the material’s cost per square foot multiplied by the total amount of square feet.

Price per square is calculated on a sliding scale based on quantity. Someone needing 100 square feet would pay a higher price per square foot than a person needing 2500 square feet. Since the final cost of the materials is determined by these figures, it is very important to have accurate dimensions of the space to receive an accurate price quote.

Art Fees

There are design fees associated with custom wallcoverings that go to the surface designer, who specializes in artwork and large-format alterations. As stated previously, the original image must be stretched to perfectly fit the space being covered without altering the image quality too much. Surface designers specialize in repeating patterns like clothes, shower curtains, and wallpaper. They make sure that images being split into panels match up and fit the area. Surface designers can also adjust the design to a customer’s wishes. For example, a business might want to make a flower red instead of blue or change a line to make it squiggly instead of straight.

Sometimes the design process involves several back and forth communications over weeks, while other times it can be finished within a day. The amount of artwork time solely depends on the image supplied and what need to be done to it. The average time required for a design is usually two hours; however, it can be less or a lot more depending on how intricate the project is. It’s best to assume at least $300 will be needed for art fees.

Strike-Off Sample Cost

Samples, called strike offs in the custom printing world, must be run through printing machine and custom produced so there is a charge for each one. A sample is always produced before a full wallcovering is printed. Images often look slightly different when printed on wall covering material, making it very important to see what the design will look like before the main order goes into production. When a sample is received, adjustments can be made it if doesn’t look quite as expected. A new sample can be produced and sent to approval once the modifications are made. Approving a sample before production prevents major problems later since custom goods are non-returnable and non-refundable once printed.


Custom vinyl wallcoverings are made from heavy commercial vinyl and shipped in long bolts. The price for shipping is based on where it is being shipped with shipping for longer distances costing more. Almost all custom printers such as us are located on the east coast. This means the shipping distance increases the closer the destination is to the west coast – leading to higher shipping costs for more western locations. An estimated calculation for shipping is 45 cents per square foot for east coast locations and 60 cents per square foot for places on the web coast. Prices for destinations in between the two coasts will be somewhere between those costs.


With few exceptions, commercial custom vinyl wallcoverings are printed on Type II 20-ounce vinyl. This durable material can withstand wear and tear from heavy commercial traffic. It is also Class A Fire Rated, which is important if a fire marshal ever does an inspection. There are different textures of Type II 20-ounce vinyl, including ones that are smooth, a light-fabric texture, and a heavy basketweave/canvas texture. Additionally, each of these options can be ordered with a traditional non-pasted backing or a peel-and-stick backing. We stock the main options that most businesses want. Specifically, we have the following commercial vinyl on hand:

  1. ProTex Suede (smooth, Type II material, non-pasted)
  2. WCVCA (embossed canvas, Type II material, non-pasted and peel and stick)
  3. WC2ST (very embossed canvas, Type II material, non-pasted)

These options cover most business needs, but there are many other materials available for custom wallcovering. For businesses wanting a different material, most can be special ordered within three business days – usually without additional costs. Exceptions are custom wallcoverings printed on metallic material (called mylar) or organic textile material (such as grasscloth, cork, or real organic linen).

What Is the Process?

The steps below outline the process of ordering custom wallcoverings from us or any other custom printer. It can take a minimum of two weeks to complete these steps, or it may take as long as five weeks if a lot of design time is needed.

  1. Select Image. Ensure image is high quality and usage rights are acquired (if needed). If you have a design or idea in mind instead (or specific ideas about the selected image), write down these details.
  2. Measure Space. Write down number of walls and size of each wall (width and height) in feet.
  3. Submit Info to Us. Give us your image (and/or design ideas) and wall dimensions.
  4. Design Fees Calculated. Our surface designer evaluates the image to decide if it can be used and estimates number of art-fee hours needed to modify it to your dimensions.
  5. Design Cost Sent. We will send you a quote for the job (without material cost and shipping). If you approve the price, we send you an invoice for the initial sample and estimated art time.
  6. Design Created. We get to work on your design. We might email you a few times with questions from our surface designer. If you provided design ideas to us, there will definitely be communication from us at this stage to ensure we create what you want.
  7. Sample Sent. We print out a large one-foot sample on vinyl and ship it to you.
  8. Approve or Modify Sample. When you receive the sample, you can either approve it or request modifications. An updated sample will need to be paid for and re-sent if modifications are needed.
  9. Invoice Sent. Once you approve the sample, we will send you the final invoice with material cost and shipping included.
  10. Wallcovering Produced and Shipped. Your custom order is sent into production where it is printed and cut into panels or rolls (terms used interchangeably in the custom wallcovering world). The last step is packaging the product and shipping it to you.

Although these steps do take more time than grabbing a ready-made roll of wallpaper, the end results are worth it. With an eye-catching and one-of-a-kind wallcovering in place, it becomes a focal point for customers who visit. It will draw in customer attention, act as a conversation starter, and imprint a mental image associated with your business that will stick with customers long after they leave.