View Full Version : drying fiber prints at home

Y. Takeuchi
14-Mar-2005, 19:13
I recently printed on fiber paper and didn't realize the color from the cardboard where I lay the prints to dry seeped into my fiber prints!!
After all those hours in the darkroom...it was a real shock.
I don't really have the space to use screens to dry fiber prints. Does anyone have any suggestions for drying fiber prints? After a day, I then put the prints between two flat surfaces and put heavy weights on them and leave for about 2 days. It really flattens them out.
I thought my cardboard method worked until I saw faint brown marks on the back of the prints.

I appreciate any advice.

Kind Regards,

y. takeuchi

Robert A. Zeichner
14-Mar-2005, 19:54
There are photographic blotter books available that allow you to dry prints in this way without danger of staining. The only caution is that unless your prints are absolutely washed clean (and this is more difficult to do than most people believe), traces of chemicals in the print will be absorbed into the blotters and after a time, will transfer the contamination to the next series of prints you dry. Screens are best, but if you have to, a blotter book will work and so long as you change it from time to time, you should be in good shape. Good luck to you.

MIke Sherck
14-Mar-2005, 19:57
Blotter books work well for me. These should be available at a well-stocked camera store. They are basically large books of acid-free, thick, absorbent paper with a different, thinner paper interleaving. You'll need a couple of them at least but if you're careful to completely wash your prints they'll last years.

The books I use are about 10" by 16" or so: I can lay two 8x10 prints side by side on each page. Load a book up and put something heavy on top (those ugly coffee table books which sell for $5 or so at discount book retailers work well!) and let them sit for a couple of hours, then take them out and put them in the second book with weight on top and let them sit overnight. The first book soaks up most of the water; the second book gets them very dry and very flat. Set the books upright with the pages fanned out and they'll dry out in a day or so. Of course, your mileage may vary (depending on ambient temperature and humidity, I suppose.)

Blotter paper is also available as loose sheets but my local store carries the books instead, so that's what I use. Good luck!

Christian Olivet
14-Mar-2005, 20:08
I do in a weird way. I squegee both sides of the prints on a large piece of glass and then I lay them on kitchen paper towels on a counter and even the carpeted floor sometimes when I ran out of space.

Alex Hawley
14-Mar-2005, 20:17
I use the floor method combined with screens. Get a one-size-makes-all window screen kit from the hardware store. cut the frames to the size you want. I left mine 36"x 36" and they will hold twelve 8x10s. Lay the screens on the floor or table, prop them up a few inches with some books or something.

Only problem I've had with this method is with the household pets. The dog and cat had no regard for my prints at all, so I put the screens in a spare room where they won't get trampled on.

14-Mar-2005, 21:27
I just hang wet prints from one corner with a wood clothspin. They curl up, then I put them in the dry mount press to flatten.

Mike Davis
14-Mar-2005, 23:27
Screens over the bathtub works. At times I've had the tub covered as well as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. One problem with blotter books is that a new one will sometimes leave fibers on the prints. Then you either have to CAREFULLY buff the fibers off or rewash. When I was using a communal darkroom I used the book to get prints back home. Though the darkrooms had drying racks, I always felt they were safer at home.


Pete Watkins
15-Mar-2005, 00:01
I second Brooks suggestion, I do the same and it works really well for me.

George Hart
15-Mar-2005, 00:42
Trying to get rid of paper curl once it's happened is nothing like as easy as preventing it in the first place. I use a method adopted by watercolour painters for flattening their paper after pre-soaking. Use a larger piece of paper than you otherwise need, so you have a border which can be cut off later. Rinse the print in dilute wetting solution, then lay it face up on an oversized piece of thick glass. Stick the edges down using half-inch masking tape all round. Leave for 24 hours, then remove the print and trim the border. Works like a dream.

Duane Polcou
15-Mar-2005, 00:55
After the final wash, I soak the prints in Edwal Super-Flat 1:15 for two minutes, then hang by a corner to dry. When the prints are dry to the touch, they get placed under the dry mount press for 48 hours. No curling, pops or buckles.

ronald moravec
15-Mar-2005, 01:01
Ironing will most likely not get rid of center bubbles or wavy edges. The trick is to dry the print evenly all over.
Without a Salthill or Burke and James dryer, the best way I have found is to squeegee, air dry 15 min emulsion up, place between photo blotters which are then placed between corrigated boards. Make a stack up to 18 in high. They will dry in 24 hrs. They probably will have a curl, but no compound curves. The machines mentioned are long discontinued, but they dried the prints by blowing air thru the corrigations. 24 hr turned to 3.

One person here says he uses a flat bed and releases the canvas every few minutes to facilitate even drying. I never could get it to work.

The only other method was a 3 foot diameter drum dryer fed by a canvas apron. The darkroom at college in the 1960`s had one and it worked. They were available both electric and gas

Irons, blotter books, small drum driers, hanging by one edge , screens, are all YUCK.

The above was an answer I put up on Photo.Net yesterday.

Just like to add add, I once did the glass plate but with the variation of a boxwood mechanical drawing board. Other than the tape residue which I cut off, the results were perfect.

tim atherton
15-Mar-2005, 07:44
"After the final wash, I soak the prints in Edwal Super-Flat 1:15 for two
minutes, then hang by a corner to dry. When the prints are dry to the
touch, they get placed under the dry mount press for 48 hours. No curling,
pops or buckles."

It really depends where you are - I could never do this. It's so dry here (especially in winter) that if I hung a print up like that to dry, by the time it was dry it would have curled almost into a tube and be virtually impossible to flatten in a moutning press without cracking in the process... Even drying on racks they curl up pretty good

One thing I've found works fairly well is hanging the prints and drying two back to back using small plastic clips on the corners to hold the two sheets together - that way the curl on one fights the curl on the other as they dry

J. P. Mose
15-Mar-2005, 08:50
Print dryers are selling cheap on Ebay. I know that a lot of folks here are not crazy about dryers but I use one and have not had any problems. I don't bother with ferrotyping (although I like this look) as I can never get an even gloss. I have a Premier twin print dryer that will handle up to 16x20 prints. The thermostat is adjustable. I think I paid around $80 for one in mint condition...shipping can get high however.

15-Mar-2005, 09:49
Fo uncurling prints to be sent into the (hot) dry mount press, I slowly uncurl them on a hot piece of mat board that lives in the drymount press. I then flip the print and hold it down on he board for 30 seconds or so and the print flattens out enough to press another piece of board over the top of the print and slide it into the press. I have never damaged a print if handled with a bit of care. If I am doing this in the winter here in Minnesota, it is so dry the prints are curled up like tubes. There are many ways to skin a cat, this is just one. Apoligies to Mr Pickle and the Baby Eel for the cat skinning comment.

Sharon S.
15-Mar-2005, 10:38
You should switch to archival mat board instead of cardboard. I usually let my prints dry almost to completion on a clean surface (countertop, laundry area), then put the mostly dry prints between 2 pieces of archival mat board, weight it down, and let it dry.

austin granger
15-Mar-2005, 15:02
Well, there are alot of good suggestions here. One that I didn't see is a variation on the screen method that might work if you don't have alot of space. Basically, it involves making a sort of screen "hammock" by attaching a length of screen to two wooden dowels (you can staple it on), which you can then hang up overhead with rope. Then, when not in use, you can roll it up and out of the way. Difficult to describe, but I think you'll understand what I mean.

tim atherton
15-Mar-2005, 15:11
you mean like Bruce Wehman's?


(I love some of Bruces home made gizmos:


check out the 8x10 daylight processing tank...


or the "corner pull neg carrier"


J.L. Kennedy
16-Mar-2005, 08:05
I have the same problem as Alex with the family pets. In fact, even after I have the prints up off the floor, dried, mounted, framed and on the wall, the dog and cat still have no regard for them. I've totally given up on the cat but the dog tries to show interest when I lecture him on the beauty of a fine black and white print. Unfortunately his attention span is less than five minutes so its hard to really get much information into him.

23-Mar-2005, 09:00
I also squeegee them (both sides, on plexi) and hang by a clip from the corner.

This has the disadvantage of leaving a faint clip mark in the corner, but I'm ok with that ... it's always covered by the window mat.

I like this better than using drying screens, which take up lots of space and which are a potential source of contamination.

Only other disadvantage is that prints can curl more, depending on humidity and the paper you use.