View Full Version : Flattening Paper Cut From Rolls?

John Layton
24-Oct-2017, 13:45
For prints larger than 16x20 - I cut my paper from rolls. But what a pain sometimes...dealing with the paper curl - especially when dry winter weather sets in!

I'm thinking that I'll purchase a cardboard mailing tube about the same width/diameter as the full paper roll - and use this to create a "reverse roller" to receive a length of paper...not the entire new roll, but perhaps a length approximating what I might be needing for a certain interval of time or particular show/portfolio.

At any rate...this "reverse roll" would then go into its own lightproof bag/box, and I'd wait for a few days (?) prior to cutting this paper into my desired sizes - by now hopefully more or less flattened for storage and use.

Just wondering if anybody has tried the above or something similar? Results? Recommended length of time the roll should remain reversed until cut? Thanks!

24-Oct-2017, 22:25
You have the right instincts, but trying to flatten before mounting will leave most of it flat, except usually a little bump in the inside or outside end that does not remain curled like the rest of the roll...

This also depends on if the paper is RC, inkjet, SW or DW fiber, rag etc...

My thing was to keep it in it's natural curl state anytime or step before mounting, and would just handle it in it's curl state to avoid denting, and secure the open end, and roll it out like a map, expose, let it roll back etc so the curl would be even and easier to flatten while on it's back (instead of it getting lumpy/bumpy)... Follow the flow of the material...

Cutting down the pieces you need for a print session seems like a good idea!!! Maybe some 3" or 4" PVC or ABS tubes with caps are cleaner than paper???

I would backroll it onto a straight 1 1/2" or 2" PVC pipe only when getting it ready for flattening/mounting (if necessary)... Most materials need at least a few days backrolled to "remember" it was flat at one time...

Steve K

John Layton
25-Oct-2017, 05:44
Just want to be clear that the curve basically goes away during processing...and the big problem exists just after cutting from the roll - especially when placing multiple cut sheets into a paper-safe without creasing them upon insertion into the safe. Furthermore...the strong paper curvature prevents my placing more than about a dozen sheets into the safe at a time. Even then, I'll typically crease at least one or two of these...which basically then relegates them to being cut into smaller sizes or even test strips. GRRR!

25-Oct-2017, 05:44
I've dealt with a lot of long (100'), wide (5'), rolls of paper -- both color and B&W -- all of it RC. The only problem I have encountered with curling is during the exposure -- i.e., keeping it flat. I leave the roll in the box and unroll the length I want. It, of course curls up. I cut it with a box cutter along the side of the box. For horizontal (usually 30x40" and smaller) exposures, I get it under the easel edges or use masking tape to hold it to the floor. For vertical (usually 30x40" and larger) exposures, I get it under the easel edges using lots of masking tape to hold it to the wall or 8' easel. That's easier with two people, but 90% of the time I have to do it myself.

For processing, the curling of the paper actually helps. I process it in 5' long "half-tubes" -- 12" PVC pipes cut down the middle and sealed on the ends. I simply roll the paper in one direction, and then reverse it.

I've never had a problem with curls when mounting it in my hot press -- other than handling large sheets and avoiding a crease.

28-Oct-2017, 06:34
Years ago I would buy rolls of paper (8", 11") from Freestyle Sales and cut it down to 8x10. The curl was a hassle but the paper was very cheap. I would cut about 40 sheets at a time and store them back to back or front to front in a paper box. After about two weeks compressed in the box the curl was greatly reduced. The curl never went away even after developing. Of course this is with 8", 11" rolls of paper which have a much tighter curl than larger rolls. The curl was especially bad as I got to the core of the roll. I miss those days of trying "mystery" paper/film from Freestyle.