How to protect prints after they've been printed?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by nick_ventura, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. I am able to print for free at school if I buy the paper and I recently bought some Hahnemuhle matte paper and I was wondering whats the best way to store/protect the prints right after I make them. Also whats the best way to protect/ship these prints? Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. If you are using pigment-based inks, the prints should keep fine in the original box in a reasonably cool dry atmosphere - if there is high humidity, put the prints in transparent sleeves with sachets of silica gel. If displaying the prints, frame them under glass and avoid direct sunlight.
    Shipping - assume your package will be handled by gorillas! It is not excessive to use a sheet of plywood a couple of inches bigger each way than your print, put the prints in a sleeve (such as the original inner packaging) and place a sheet of mounting board on top - make sure the front face of your package is robust enough to withstand enthusiastic use of metal stamps by postal service employees.
  3. Prints don't dry instantly. Even though they may be dry to the touch, they are damp underneath, and the surface remains easily damaged and they may warp if enclosed. You should not stack them for an hour or so, depending on the humidity. Alternately, you can stack them loosely overnight, or in a drying frame spaced with blotting paper and weighted. Matte surfaced prints are the most fragile. Oddly enough, glossy or semi-gloss papers are the most resistant to handling.
    If you display them under glass, always mat the print to keep it from contact with the glass, and seal the back of the frame with brown, acid free paper against dust. It's best to mount the prints on foam core board, preferably ising a commercial vacuum press. That keeps them flat and protected on the edges. Most frame shops will do that for a nominal charge ($20-$30). It's a hot process, but well controlled. I've had dozens of inkjet prints mounted without damage.
  4. Which size are you printing?
    If I used letter sized paper with a seam and would do half a dozen per day - I guess inkjets are sluggish? - I'd try to get a sturdy cardboard file and would prepare plywood plates to fit into it , be bigger han the print have some additional spacers towards the next one and pin my prints onto these. - the result should stand roughest imaginable backpacking.
    For bigger prints you could maybe prep an old suitcase to hold cardboard carriers with spacers? - I would even invest in decent clamps to hold the prints on them.
    Whatever you are cobbling together: make sure nothing can touch the prints' surfaces.
    Drying can take ages. - A few days or a lengthy week makes a difference with some offset prints.
  5. Drying can take ages ...
    I have found this is very variable. Any prints which I sell I make with an Epson 3880 and OEM inks and paper. These emerge from the printer touch-dry and smudge-free - I have never had a problem allowing prints to stack on the printer and sending them out after an hour or so. From time to time I have tried proofing on a little HP Deskjet printer - the colors are nice but with gloss paper the ink doesn't really dry for days (there's HP Advanced paper which I mean to try, according to HP it's less fade-resistant but dries much faster).
  6. Your pigment inks should be completely dry in 24 hrs if your area has average humidity. No further care is necessary for the next 60+ years in an average living room and your prints don't ever get direct sunlight. If you want to be doubly sure, spray with a UV protecting varnish or cover with UV protecting glass.

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