The low-tech way to flat FB prints

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Kvistgaard, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Kvistgaard

    Kvistgaard Member

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    Hi there,
    wanted to share a small enhancement I've figured out to the well-known process for flat FB prints, whereby you tape the wet print onto a glass surface using watercolour tape.

    I was a bit tired of handling fragile glass plates in my already crammed darkroom, and with having to spend time scraping tape bits off the glass after use. Not to mention the times when the dry prints refused to come off the glass.

    So, I cut pieces of 3mm perspex to size, and started taping the prints onto them. In one corner of each sheet I have drilled a hole and put a loop of string through, and the perspex sheets can now be hung up to dry - literally - everywhere there is room for them.

    When the prints are dry, I bend the perspex sheets a bit, and the prints (and the tape) will come off easily, leaving nothing on the perspex.

    I've been using this method for a while, and it works like a charm. Really handy, really inexpensive way to get perfect flat PB prints.

    WRT size, my perspex pieces are 30x40 cm, which leaves a good margin for the tape, given my largest paper size is 24x30.
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Sounds like an excellent idea that works. Thanks for sharing

    pentaxuser
     
  3. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I'll give it a try. My previous method was to cover with a bath towel, wait a few days and it would be dry.
     
  4. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    where can one buy perspex?
     
  5. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    What is "watercolor tape"?
     
  6. Keith Taylor

    Keith Taylor Member

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    In the US it's Plexiglass. Any hardware store.
     
  7. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I believe it's the same stuff that we call plexiglas in the United States, so a glass supplier would be the logical place to look for it.
     
  8. wolztri

    wolztri Member

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    Very good idea, I didn't even think about it. Thank you, I'll try it
     
  9. CBG

    CBG Member

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    It's an adhesive tape used to stretch watercolor paper as it dries to a flat surface shape. Solution to same problem as with photographic paper, that is, keeping it as flat as possible when dry.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So an art supply house.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Perspex and Plexiglass are trade names for cast acrylic sheet. Also available is a similar product by Repsol and Lexan made by the General Electric Company (not the same company as GEC in Britain).


    Steve.
     
  12. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    I was wondering if the tape comes off the prints with no residue. I haven't tried with watercolor tape but had difficulties with other tape.
     
  13. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Jason, I have used plain brown craft tape, like that used for cardboard shipping boxes. Even the grocery store has it. Anything that has the word 'artist' in it is double the price.
     
  14. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Kevin,

    I think most people cut the print from the tape to release it. So your final paper size is smaller by say 1/2 inch on each edge.

    Someone correct me if i am wrong.
     
  15. pesphoto

    pesphoto Member

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    What about drilling tiny holes in the plexiglass and put a couple very thin pieces of wire or string in which the corners of the print slide under.(top and bottom of print). No tape needed. Not sure if it would work
     
  16. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    The idea sort of depends on having all edges held stationary while the middle shrinks to make the paper taut like a drum. Holding just the corners wouldn't work, me thinks. The same method is used to stretch an artist oil canvas on a wooden frame using staples along all sides.

    I did see something in a video over at WetCanvas.com where a girl had something that looked like clamps to hold the edges down.
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I was just thinking that something like a frame larger than the print with Bulldog clips attached with springs (or rubber bands) could be used to pull with equal pressure on all four sides.

    We use something similar at work to stretch the mesh for screen printing frames. Except the springs are replaced by air cylinders for accurate pressure control.

    Something like this: http://sct-print.en.alibaba.com/product/51491359-50332018/Screen_Stretching_Machine.html



    Steve.
     
  18. tim_bessell

    tim_bessell Member

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    Hmm... that's interesting Steve.
    I stretched a 4 x 8 foot canvas on a frame in school once. After it's stretched you sprinkle a little water on to make it shrink. Opps, to tight! The frame twisted like a noodle.

    The point: When wet the paper is in an expanded state. Upon drying it shrinks. To much shrink and something will fail. I have seen an 8x10 sheet of FB paper shrink 1/4 on its long side.

    Your frame idea looks like it would be workable, yet simple enough to be used daily.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009