Many kids entertainers loved Stephen von Spiegelhauer’s Instagram frame idea. (Are you one of them?) And to help those who want to make their own frame, we’ve asked magician and professional prop maker Billy Diamond to share his ideas on the project. Below are Billy’s extremely useful suggestions.
I was asked if the Instagram frame is something that I can print since branded props and products are something that I do every single day for performers across the globe. The short answer is yes.
The biggest obstacle I see though is in the dimensions ( 1040mm x 1450mm / 41 x 57 inches ) and in the rigid foam core board used (or so I think). An alternative could be as simple as a ¼ inch-thick Coroplast to print it on as the material is rigid and holds up very well.
However, any way you look at it, the Instagram frame would take up space and would not be easily shipped.
So here are my suggestions. I am not trying to rip Stephen’s idea apart—it’s a great one!—but just lending my expertise.
Suggestions on Material
Print your Instagram frame on a semi-rigid polystyrene substrate material called Komatex (that’s the brand name).
I suggest a thickness of about 0.20mm. This has spring to it and would allow the material to be rolled up easily like a poster and unrolled just as easily when you let it loose. Given the size, the tube may be about 4 inches round when rolled.
Now granted it will have some curl when you roll it, but I suggest taking a piece of 1/8-inch thick flat steel like we use for our Trap Door Production and other production banners (my shameless plug of great kid props) and simply put a piece across the top and bottom. This will give some weight to help counteract the curl.
Due to the size of the Instagram frame, I’d go wider with the metal than what we do in our banners. I suggest something like 1/8-inch thick x 1-inch wide x the frame width you use. This will also give the frame some rigidity for holding.
And to make things simple, you could get a roll of white duct tape or gaff tape and simply adhere the steel strips to the Komatex sheet. By being careful to do a nice job, the outpout will look just fine. It’s not the best method but it is for the DIY guy or gal.
Suggestions on Size
Personally, I would make my Instagram frame smaller instead of bigger. This way you would create excitement and then everyone wants to be in the photo, creating opportunity for even MORE PHOTOS.
Suggestions on Printing Directions
Another thing you should know is that many sign printers do NOT do what we do and that is straight–to-the-substrate printing. In other words, they don’t print right on the Komatex but rather on a thin vinyl that they then adhere to the Komatex (kind of like you would do if you were using a laminator roller unit/sealer).
Once those pieces are together, another layer gets added which becomes the top finish. For this, you can choose between gloss or matte. I recommend matte for photos so you won’t get any glare.
With all that considered, the frame comes together like a sandwich. Because of this, the material could (and probably will) split apart either immediately or over time if you cut into it.
Suggestions When Saving Your Instagram Frame Artwork
- Render your artwork in actual 100% scale size when submitting it to the printer.
- Flatten the image if it is layered.
- Save it in CMYK and not RGB. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. That’s what printed items use in ink. RGB is what your eyes see on a PC, TV, etc. Changes in this format can turn out very differently. For example, blues can come out purple if it is not formatted properly.
- Use at least 300 dpi and not 72 dpi. Sure this is a LARGE format, but better to overkill and ensure nice resolution than to go low like 72 and end up with a blurry, pixelated, or just plain yucky output. Let the printer decide if they want to lower the resolution for the way they are printing, but ALWAYS give your best … just like you do in your show.
- A flattened, 100%-scale, CMYK, PDF format is great, but you can also save the file as TIFF, JPEG, etc. It’s just a matter of preference.
Suggestions on Hashtags and Branding
When coming up with hashtags for your Instagram frame, don’t forget that you can use these: #yourphonenumber, #youremail, and #yourwebsite. Don’t miss windows (no pun intended) of opportunity to let people know how to contact you.
Though the Instagram frame is designed to end up on Instagram, don’t forget that your market includes children and grandma or grandpa who never gets on the computer but might want to book you for their grandchild. Make it easy for them to remember who you are and how to contact you by giving them these information straightaway.
Please never forget that. BRAND yourself in every opportunity you got.
I hope this information is helpful and if you get really stuck, I can help you with graphics (I design and help others with branding every single day). My email is on my website, www.mynameisbillydiamond.com.
If you have not heard my Magician Business podcast on branding with Julian and Ken, I hope you will download or stream it. You might pick up all sorts of branding tips and tricks.