View Full Version : flattening FB prints - any reason not to use an iron?

katie cooke
4-Nov-2007, 12:48
I was getting fairly flat prints at 8x10", but now I'm printing bigger, they are wildly uneven. I'm squeegeeing them pretty thoroughly, and air-drying them face down on screens, and leaving them 24 hours at the darkroom where I go to print. By the time I collect them, they are rippled and decidedly un-flat. Shoving them under books for a couple of days still isn't doing the trick.

What does the trick with flattening? Is it heat, or pressure, or the combination of the two? I don't have access to a dry-mounting press, so is there any reason not to use a normal household iron on the back of them? (With, I would assume, the steam off.)

matthew blais
4-Nov-2007, 13:18
Some/many have posted here on that. A quick search on this forum should get you answers, which I believe will say...Sure, use an iron...(but check for proper methodology.)

Rob Champagne
4-Nov-2007, 13:27
An iron works fine. Set it on its coolest setting and place emulsion side down on a piece of very clean mat board. The slightest bit of mat board fluff or any other bits on the matbord or print surface will leave a very visible indent on your image which can't be removed.
Best to iron flat before the print is 100% dry on back as this allows print fibres to be realigned. If the print is 100% dry you should moisten the back with a fine spray or use the steam of the iron to dampen it and then turn steam off and go over it again a few times.
I use an Iron for dry mounting and it works really well once you get the knack of it.

4-Nov-2007, 14:47
But keep that iron moving! One stationary moment, even while changing directions, can put a visible crease in your print -- at least it did for me before I got a press. Get your technique down on botched prints before moving on to the good stuff.

Alan Davenport
4-Nov-2007, 16:14
Print only glossies. Ferrotype 'em. Problem solved!

katie cooke
4-Nov-2007, 16:24
thanks for the tips! I'll give that a go.
(and read up on ferrotyping.)

4-Nov-2007, 19:00
Katie I had a mounting press that I used to flatten prints. A little heat and solid pressure between archival matts.

kev curry
8-Dec-2007, 03:44
Hi Katie
I'm not terribly adept at Ironing shirts but I though I might manage to stretch my skills to a FB print! I don't have a press and wondered how you got on with the Iron? Just about to try some 12x16 FB but fear i'll end up with expensive corrugated cardboard! I've read about drying prints by pegging two up together back to back and then weighting them down whilst still wet. Apparently they try to cancel each others curl out!
Any tips would be good.


katie cooke
8-Dec-2007, 06:30
The ironing seems to do the trick. Not perfectly flat, but, a lot better than before they were ironed.

Frank Petronio
8-Dec-2007, 06:48
Frame suppliers sell large flat plates made of steel (Light Impressions in the USA) for cold flattening. Back in the day I thought that was a more archival method - pile the books onto the plate (or concrete blocks).

kev curry
8-Dec-2007, 07:09
Thanks Katie I'll have a wee go!

Frank the metal plate sounds low tech, cheap and easy! Will bear it in mind. Thanks.

Thought this sounded efficient in a previous thread by - George Hart......
''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.''