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Thread: Making a contact printing mask

  1. #1
    Scott Walker's Avatar
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    Making a contact printing mask

    I am trying to decide whether to use an enlarged 4x5 image or an 8x10 contact print for the print exchange. The dilemma I am having is that I really dislike the look of an 8x10 contact print on 8x10 paper with that stupid black border. The 4x5 is simple, enlarge to about 8x10 and print on 11x14 paper which gives you about a 2 inch white border, the easel blades make nice crisp edges to the image and that makes me happy. To contact print on 11x14 paper with an 8x10 negative without a mask of some sort leaves a giant black border which is even uglier than that stupid little black border on 8x10 paper.

    So I made up a masking frame using a piece of 11x14 picture frame glass and some black duct tape which crops the negative about 1/8 inch on all sides. Duct tape on top of glass, negative taped by the corners with scotch tape to the bottom of the glass. The resulting contact print on 11x14 paper is perfect and exactly the look I was trying to achieve……..as long as you view from about 10 feet away because any closer and the jagged edge of the duct tape shows up.

    I assume there is an easy way to achieve the look I am after with crisp edges but after a very long search on this site as well as on Azo Forum and a google search I came up with no results.

    Since I am still without (but hopefully have one on the way soon) an 8x10 enlarger, contact printing is my only solution for 8x10 negatives.


    This is a scan of the not so crisp edge left by the duct tape.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2

    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    Try mylar tape on the same side of the glass as the negative. You can use black tape on the other side if necessary for a complete light seal, but the mylar tape on the negative side establishes the picture edge.

  3. #3
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    Why not cut one out from a black matt board and position it on top of the paper?

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    That's not a jagged edge, it's faux deckled! sorry...

    Maybe some VCR tape or exposed and fixed film would work.

  5. #5
    Marek Warunkiewicz Marek Warunkiewicz's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    Rubylith... works for so may things, this inlcuded.

  6. #6

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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    I have some old vintage Kodak printing frames that have adjustable masks. The masks are thin sheet metal that slide on a rail on the outside of the frame to adjust. If you could find one for 8x10 they would solve your problem- but I have never seen one bigger than 4x5.

  7. #7

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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    I have not yet need to try it But the tape that I used in my
    1HR lab for taping the film to the leader card is about like
    a Rubylith with a good clean ege

    Banjo

  8. #8
    matthew blais's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    Yep...rubylith or graphic arts film, which I have many sheets of (opaque orange)

    Cut with xacto and very clean lines.
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover"
    August Rodin

    My Now old Photo Site
    500 5x8 Designed and Printed Special Postcard Deal for you!

  9. #9
    Scott Walker's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    Thanks for all the replies.

    As I was trying to solve this problem last night the first thing that came to mind was frisket which I use for airbrushing but it's not quite light proof.

    And that was it, complete mental block from that thought on.......apparently I retained absolutely nothing from the printmaking electives I took at ACAD......I used Rubylith (or a similar product, don't recall brand names) on plates.

  10. #10
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Making a contact printing mask

    electrical tape on the contact frame's glass, or just tape it to the negative itself.

    if you don't feel like doing that, why not just TRIM THE CONTACT PRINT?

    just wondering.

    who said it "has" to be 8x10in? most 8x10 paper isn't exactly 8x10 inches anyhow, especially fiber paper after dry-down

    -Dan

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