View Full Version : Coatings for Inkjet Prints

David Luttmann
20-May-2005, 11:08
I print with an Epson 7600 on Hahnemuhle photorag for my B&W work. I've played with various coatings and sprays over the years to protect, enhance, and preserve these prints.

I'm just curious as to what all your experiences are with various coatings. I've seen some comments as to acrylic and spirit based lacquers as well as sprays that on are the market (which is what I've been using the most).

What have you found success with?

Steven Barall
20-May-2005, 16:06
I spoke to an art conservator who happens to also be a sort of well know artist in his own right about this same exact subject. He told me that the question is whether the coating will yellow over time. He says that there are coatings that advertise to be non-yellowing but his more than twenty years experience in this area have taught him that in real life they all yellow over time.

I have also recently spoken to a printer who printed a very large and well known show of photos here in NYC and I asked him about coatings as well. Those prints were all 40" by 60" Epson Ultra Chrome prints framed under UV absorbing plexiglass and the final selling price of the prints was about $18,000 per pair. He said that he would never think of using a coating mainly because he expects that the collectors are going to have the photos framed properly or stored properly, that is, out of UV and out of the weather.

If people are going to be handling the prints, like in a portfolio or as part of a display of some sort like in a trade show the coating will help you keep them clean. I have a portlofio of many loose prints that people can pass around and they are coated for that reason.

David Luttmann
20-May-2005, 16:14
Thanks Steven. I agree....the prints I'm referring to are ones that I have unmounted, and not behind glass. I'm just curious as to what other people are using. Maybe I'll find something I haven't thought of....like boat wax ;-)

Clayton Tume
20-May-2005, 18:30

excuse my ignorance but why do they need, quote "to protect, enhance, and preserve these prints."

My understanding although limited is the prints have at least a 200 year rating. Are you trying to push that out further?


David A. Goldfarb
20-May-2005, 18:44
I've seen these prints shipped, and they are really fragile, even when properly sleeved and packed. I think if they are going to be stored in flat files and viewed in the way that prints often are in galleries or shipped multiple times, as they are likely to be if they are really expected to last 200 years, they ought to be treated like pastels, and some sort of coating might not hurt. The ink may not fade in 200 years, but will it stay where it was originally sprayed with even normal careful handling?

21-May-2005, 14:49
I have also spoken with an art conservator. In discussion about the archival qualities of my platinum work I asked about the archival quality of inkjets that many artist are now working in. His answer was, " I refuse to use the term archival and inkjet in the same sentence." He went on to say, " Lay an inkjet and a platinum print side by side in the sun for a couple of weeks. Then do a comparison." He added, " Even under the best presenting conditions the work is still subject to UV light and the elements." I think you can ask five different experts about this and get five different opinions.

David Luttmann
21-May-2005, 18:16

How exactly do your response relate to my question?

Steve J Murray
22-May-2005, 09:37
Dan, if you haven't seen Livick's site yet, take a look. He covers the subject of coatings for inkjet prints extensively and does fade testing of various printers/papers/coatings.


David Luttmann
22-May-2005, 14:34
Thanks Steve. I missed his site in previous searches. Most of my printing is done on Photorag & coated. I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with 100+ years ;-)

Clayton Tume
22-May-2005, 16:14

that's a very interesting site, if you look here


he talks of Ultrachrome prints fading after 25 years.

Makes me wonder where the often quoted "200 years" came from?

Steve J Murray
23-May-2005, 08:01
I think some of the estimates of "200 years" come from Wilhelm's site. I believe he tests with low level floursecent and Livick tests with sunlight, and maintains that using sunlight is more realistic because many prints hang in mixed lighting. Coatings seem to double the fade resistance in some paper/ink combinations, though.