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How We Make Perforated Images From Old Photos

Archibald Bondi Junction image Grafton Lane

Is it possible to use old, black and white photos when you’re choosing a picture for a custom perforated panel?

Yes, it is! Take a look at our Archibald Residences project in Bondi Junction, where we made bespoke perforated images of Sydney’s trams using historic photographs.

We can use black and white photos of any age to make custom perforated images. They’re the best kind to use and here’s why: Our specialised tooling machinery software that turns your photo into a CAD drawing recognises tones, not individual colours. This means choosing a picture that’s originally black and white – or one that looks good when it’s turned into black and white – is a great starting point for your perforated images.

Archibald Bondi Junction image Adelaide Street

Why use old photos for perforated images 

You may not think to use old photographs for a modern building project, but these types of custom perforated images are an easy way to integrate local history into a new development.

At the Archibald Residences, for example, the perforated images that hide the building’s machinery offer a glimpse of a bygone era, when trams trundled down Oxford Street where the Archibald now stands. The panels are so detailed, you can see the passengers’ expressions and the folds of their clothing, thanks to the punching technology and CAD techniques that we use for photo replication.

By choosing historic perforated images instead of standard ventilation screening solutions, Archibald’s architects are bringing Bondi Junction’s past back to life. Plus, it’s a very cool way to get airflow to the building equipment!

Our expert tips for choosing photos for your perforated images 

When selecting photos to turn into perforated images, it’s important to consider:

The contrast of the image

There needs to be good contrast between light and dark areas. This is because our software translates tonal changes in your image into different diameter holes, to produce all the fine details.

We can always adjust this before CAD drawing stage, by lightening or darkening areas of your photograph to make it suitable for perforation. Although modern images are easier to work with, the age of your image does not matter – it is the contrast that counts!

Archibald Residences Bondi Junctions

Image size

The larger your image is on the finished panel, the better the details. We may advise focusing on a specific area of a photograph, to get the best result.


If you want the perforated image to have a coloured finish, we can apply any colour or shade, from bright and bold hues to metallic effects. Colour helps with visual impact – such as these illustrated red screens that we manufactured for Blacktown Tennis Centre or the flower panels (see below). 


What will be behind the installed perforated images – is there light flow or a solid background? This dictates the type of perforation technique that we will use to create the details in your panels.


Do you need your finished perforated images to perform a functional purpose like at the Archibald Residences, to provide light or ventilation, for instance? If so, we have the expertise to adjust your image, creating multiple iterations of your panels until all the visual and technical goals are achieved.

Create custom architectural perforated images with Arrow Metal 

Whatever style of photo you choose for your perforated images, our team will work closely with you to understand your project as a whole and the result you’re looking for, advising any limitations and adjustments, and the solution that best meets your project budget and timescales.

Contact our team on (02) 9748 2200 to get started with your custom perforated images or send us an online enquiry here.

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Como Train Station

Posted: March 17, 2022

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