B&W printing – how to dry prints flat

Everyone wants flat prints, to keep in a box or to hang on the wall in a frame, life is just so much better when your prints lie nice and flat. I used to hang my prints using two clips and two weights in the hope the print would dry with out curling. I’m talking about fibre based prints, resin prints dry flat whatever you do. I’ve also tried drying racks and lying damp prints between blotting paper. With all these methods I got wrinkly prints which needed hot-pressing to iron flat.

Then one day I read on the internet the most simple solution… simply hang the print from one corner using a big plastic peg. Leave until completely dry, it will gently curl but all I need to do is to place the prints overnight under a weight and they come out completely flat. I use a nice piece of heavy glass and I uncurl quite a few prints in one go, you don’t need to use blotter but I am happier interleaving with blotter just incase moisture is drawn out of the fibre based making two sheets stick together. It is so clean and simple and has never let me down. The biggest size I print is 16×12″, but I don’t see why really big pictures would dry any different.

Always lift the print completely wet from the wash tray and straight onto the peg allowing the water to run uninterrupted straight down the paper.. don’t turn the print round as any change in water flow direction can cause a drying mark particularly visible on flat black areas. This applies to resin coated prints too. There is no need to squeegee or wipe or add wetting agent, just let the water freely run off. I work in a hard water area and have had no drying marks with this method (apart from a very occasional chalky mark which rubs off with a soft cloth). If you water is really bad you can give the print a final soak in softened or bottled water.

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