Best coatings to protect inkjet prints?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by mixe_bug, Jun 20, 2005.

  1. I'm not sure this is the best category for me to post in, but, new to
    this forum, I don't seem to be getting any closer.

    I would like to know the best type of water-based (acrylic...?)
    coating to seal inkjet art and photodigital prints from an Epson
    printer. I am printing mostly on matte art-quality substrate, and
    currently limited to the standard Epson OEM inksets. I find that
    when I attempt to apply water-based acrylic sealers or varnish that
    it picks up the ink to some degree and causes smudging in areas of
    sharp black-on-white printing such as text or line drawings.

    If indeed possible, I'd like to avoid the use of solvent-based
    varnishes on my prints. So if anyone can recommend a water-based
    product that doesn't cause smudging, I'd be more than grateful. If
    not (and I suspect this is the case), I guess I'll just have to
    resort to the fumes and mess to protect my prints.

    Incidentally, pre-spraying them with Krylon did not work. They still
    bled when the varnish was applied.

    Thanks if you can help...
  2. I haven't found any fixatives or sealants, water based or otherwise, that didn't degrade the
    appearance of inkjet prints to some degree, one way or another. I find it best to just let the
    prints dry thoroughly and then use either archival plastic sleeves, or matte/frame them under
    glass to keep them looking good as well as properly protected.

  3. Laminate them.
  4. Lyson makes a solution which may work for you. The only reason to spray your prints would be to limit the color shift due to exposure to light (even indirect). Otherwise, for storage purposes, it's not necessary if you use archival sleeves.
  5. UV protectant from an art store.
  6. Supposedly, some inks are not as prone to color-shift as others.

    I have found that my Canon inks will shift after about 4-6 mos of exposure to indirect natural light. However, the same prints stored in archival sheets have not shifted.
  7. Krylon 1311 Matte Finish works great to seal up inkjet prints. I spray both sides of the paper so that there's no tendency to curl. Wal-Mart now carries this product. We used to pay four times Wal-Mart's price at an artist's supply store.
  8. I have tried a couple of different clear sprays. I never had a problem with fading/colorshifting etc.. (I live in the California Desert). That is until I intalled a swamp cooler(evaporative Cooler) in our house. Prints the were fully exposed, faded quickly with the higher humidity in the house. Even ones that had showed no sign of deterioration for 4+ years. The prints that are under glass (in frames) have held up very well.
  9. Mixe - unless you're using one of the Epson pigment ink printers, you're printing in a water based ink, which means that any water based varnish is going to disolve some of the ink, causing smearing. That's just basic chemistry, and you can't get around it. You have two choices. Switch to pigment inks (which might entail switching printers) or switch to a solvent based varnish, because oil and water don't mix. ("oil" in the broad sense of any reasonably complex hydrocarbon).
  10. Epson now recommends Premier water-based Eco print shield, which is just becoming
    available on the market. Haven't tried it yet.
  11. Have you tried to spray the coatings a bit drier? Stand back a bit farther, move the spray faster. It might take more passes, but might help the bleed issue.
  12. I picked up a small can of matte coating at hobby lobby and it seems to work fine. No ink running nothing. I'm quite happy with the application if it is a bit stinky. Not sure what brand or what it is at the moment. Haven't totally tested it out say by dipping a shot in water after it dries but application went fine.

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