View Full Version : Handcoating paper; any tips?

5-May-2009, 16:38
I recently made some brownprints (or Van Dyks), and had a bit of trouble with my results. My negatives were just fine, the contrast was such that when I printed, the blacks should have been black. However, when I printed the blacks turned out more soft than I would have liked. I am using a rather thick, but soft art/watercolor type paper.

I only coated the paper once, and used a cheapo goat-hair coating brush from Micheal's.
I wonder:rolleyes: should coat the paper twice, or what? Would it have to do with the water temperature?

any tips would be appreciated.

Richard Wall
5-May-2009, 19:15
I've not done any Van Dykes, but I have done a lot of Albumen prints and I have found that using at least two coats does wonders for the consistency of the print quality. I use a puddle pusher that I got from the photographers' formulary to coat the Albumen paper with silver nitrate solution, which I let it dry for about 30 minutes in a dark room between coatings. I have friends who do Cyanotypes and Van Dykes and they also use two coats, but they use a foam brushes to coat the paper. Make one coat from top to bottom and a second coat from side to side.

The paper that I have found that works the best for me is Canson hot press water color paper. I have found that this paper stands up to the repeated coatings of albumen (3 coats) and silver nitrate (2 coats) well. I don't have any on hand right now, so I can't tell the exact weight but it is pretty heavy weight. I have also tried Arches cold press water color paper. I like the surface of the paper, but have had issues getting even coverage with the rough surface of the paper.


5-May-2009, 20:56
This information is very helpful, thank you, Richard. I think I'll try two coats and see how that works as far as attaining the tonality I want in my prints.