View Full Version : Drying Large Images

15-Aug-2018, 20:17
sooooooo I didn't think about this step till now. Thankfully I haven't printed anything but am still getting prepared. so the prints going to be about 58" X 72" I do have the space for really any way of drying but wondered what some other people were doing. All Ive heard is to let it dry on a screen. so I'll fully admit I'm really having questions with this one.

16-Aug-2018, 00:05
Thanks for the subject AnselAvedon.
I should also say:

so I'll fully admit I'm really having questions with this one.
Apart from logic speculations, I do not have real experience in this zone:o, my apologies.
But, how did you solve print efficient washing if the paper is fiber base?
Even RC paper need special method to handle at that size?

16-Aug-2018, 00:36
For RC, hang it up from a washing line type setup with lots of clips top & bottom (you can even use Paterson film clips if you're worried it'll pull loose. Trim off the rebate area damaged by the clips. FB; tape it to a board of suitable material (ie one that won't warp!) or a sheet of glass or thick perspex with gummed paper tape around the edges, it'll dry as tight as drum, you shouldn't need to do any further flattening & again, trim off the bits where the tape was. Some people have issues with it sticking permanently to the glass, but I suspect this may have been because they didn't squeegee the back of the print before taping it down.

Tin Can
16-Aug-2018, 02:34
Where are you getting the paper?

B&H has in stock 56X100.


Just curious!

bob carnie
16-Aug-2018, 06:54
face down on custom screens its the way I have been doing it for 30 years now with great success.. Just finished a 6 print 30 x72inch fibre project for a local Magnum photographer this way.

16-Aug-2018, 08:25
sooooooo I didn't think about this step till now. Thankfully I haven't printed anything but am still getting prepared. so the prints going to be about 58" X 72" I do have the space for really any way of drying but wondered what some other people were doing. All Ive heard is to let it dry on a screen. so I'll fully admit I'm really having questions with this one.

Well, 58" x 72" is certainly the way to get started in printing. Have you considered starting with something a bit smaller?

Drew Wiley
16-Aug-2018, 15:29
I had the good fortune of working for a company that had a significant window and door sales division, including a substantial service division. So anytime a sliding patio door was removed due to a warranty issue, any decent leftovers were stacked next to the dumpster in case anyone could use them. So I took home several big fiberglass screen sliders, all in perfectly new condition.

22-Aug-2018, 20:39
Thanks for all the advise

Except for Luis-F-S

im not scared to try a new things because they are "professional" or going to be difficult

I have made prints before. not this sized. do I understand the basics of making a print. yep Put light on paper. Put paper in chemicals. Put filters on light to adjust contrast. and the mega rule DONT ruin it with a wrinkle
as for the rest figure it out.
such as this topic of drying

I jumped from 35mm to 8X10 ten years ago. Did I make mistakes yes. Am I glad I made a massive jump. and didn't sissy foot around my dream working my way through 120 and 4x5 before I got where I wanted to originally end up. 100% I have had no regrets. I would have been held back the entire way wishing I was trying what I wanted.

SO I learned I learn best trying

I got the paper the space and Im going for what I want and guess the best part of it all...
No matter what I spend on failed film messed up paper and exhausted chemicals its forever less expensive than going to art school

23-Aug-2018, 00:39
Sure, experiment away. I hear what you say; some people learn by reading books and following the steps others have laid out, some people learn through experimentation. I fall in the latter category so I can relate to your position.

One thing that seems quite relevant in your case is to know if it's going to be RC or fiber prints. As interneg indicated above, the method of drying really depends on this. Fiber will curl right back into its original roll form it came in if you dry it lying/hanging down. I'm not sure how bob carnie is preventing this, but it sounds like a nightmare to me. Perhaps he dry mounts the finished prints; done properly, that'll straighten them out for good obviously.

For fiber, a dedicated set of plates (glass, metal, laminated wood - as long as it's rigid and gummed tape sticks to it really well) is obviously very nice. But odds are you already have a suitable surface for testing - does your place have one or more sufficiently large windows? There you go - just tape the print to a window using the gummed tape interneg described. It's the tape used by watercolor painters to stick the paper to the easel, I understand.

When taping with gummed tape, make sure to:
* not overwet the tape, as it won't stick to the paper well enough before the print starts to contract
* with prints the size you're going to be making, you may need as much as an inch of tape on both the support sheet and the paper, so a total of 2" width, I reckon. You'd be surprised how much force contracting paper exerts, and it's a shear force at that.
* after sticking the tape to the paper and the support, you can run something down the surface of the tape that is on the print to squeeze out excess water; it'll help achieve good contact between the paper and the tape.
* the margin where the tape is on the paper is a loss; you can cut it off or matt on top of it when/if mounting the print.
Even when dried this way, if you lay the flat print down without anything on top, it'll start to curl at some point due to changes in relative humidity. So you'll have to store them under a weight or dry mounted to a rigid support to make sure they remain flat.

Good luck with your project; I'd love to see your huge prints. Be sure to post a snapshot when you've made some!

23-Aug-2018, 07:44
I wonder if painters tape or gaffers tape wouldn’t work as well...

24-Aug-2018, 00:55
Many kinds of tape don't stick well to moist surfaces. But then again, some will - just try it out! I found the gum tape easy to find and quite cheap, so I didn't bother looking for an alternative. But a friend of mine uses an equally cheap painter's tape that is labeled "for sensitive surfaces" which a cording to him can be removed from the dry print without damage to the paper. So there seems to be room for optimization.

24-Aug-2018, 04:43
AnselAvedon, I consider your enthusiasm, continue your experimentation, and if possible please share it with us.
But, still wondering, how do you achieve efficient print wash if it's FB paper?
As for using adhesive tape, my logic speculations mentioned above, I tried using a clear plastic adhesive tap(not for archival work) on a laminated non-water absorbent white aluminum board, fixing all 4 borders.
You have to leave 1" each side outside photo area, cut it later remaining half inch for each side.
The adhesive tape will not stick on wet print, squeegee back then board then front then board again. Wait short time to let the print clear from any visible water to accept the adhesive tape, then start applying the tape.
Two points that make this just a logic speculation:
1. My experience is limited below 30"X24" not optimally washed FB print. Which is not near to 72"X58" !
2. After 12 hours or so leaving the print to dry indoors, this method produced a reasonably(not optimally) flat print. Simply, not comparable to the flatness of equivalent RC print. The curl was NOT confined to the edges.
I concluded that will not reppeat until I find a better way for flattening paper and effective washing, plus more essentially, a bigger dustless area than my darkroom.
The true speculation below is open for any discussion, and thanks.
Since later flattening is necessary regardless of drying method, I think using something like door mesh screen with aluminum frame, tailored bigger than the largest print you may do, maybe better than adhesive tape for drying, could be better for print surfaces safety/integrity after archival wash, and the curl is expected to be confined to the edges leaving the main surface of the print to retract on ease. Make 3 or 4 or as needed, put them in racks order with sufficient space for air circulation, if you print more than one. Mesh itself, can be plastic rather than the usually used metal.
For flattening later, you need some sort of board(glass, plexiglass, aluminum, etc...) just bigger than your print(say: 80"X66" to leave 4" each side). You will need archival papers or really big single piece of mat, to separate your print from contact with any surface.
Of course, you may use these big boards with adhesive tape, and for flattening later, both. Easier, but the print should breath air from all sides for appropriate drying.
All that may be done easier than speculated.
But, believe me, after seeing the real prints made by masters that involve team work standing behind the production of that sort of prints, even much smaller than 72"X58", seeing how super optimally clean and how nicely delicate every centimeter and how perfectly flat to the last millimeter, I realize that photographer should have all facilities, workspace and equipments, ahead before at its optimal for the job as possible, for a giant print. Let alone possession of efficient not just sufficient hand craft.
In short and concise, being efficient printer with lots of enthusiasm, is not enough for super clean fine art giant print. If the work place and methods for example, are not optimal, the job will pass through a problem solving in each step and accepting compromises, more than enjoying the craft of doing a fine art print.
Whatever way you go, be sure that all of people around are interested to see and share.
Hope this help.

Tin Can
24-Aug-2018, 05:22
OP have you studied Clyde Butcher?

Here is a start.