prevent fading polaroid image transfers : LUSENET : polaroid transfers : One Thread

I recently saw some Polaroid image transfers that I had sold two years ago-- and two of them appeared to have faded. They had been sprayed with some brand of protecta-coat and were archivally mounted although with regular glass. It's my understanding -- from varfious sources-- that polaroid image transfers are more stable than other color prints. What's the story? I'm interested in experience and remedies. Thanks greatly.

-- Margery B. Franklin (, September 27, 1998


I am forwarding this comment from Kathleen Carr:

"My understanding from Polaroid and from experience is that all color photographs will fade over time exposed to light. Some, like on the new Fuji paper will last approx. 70 years at museum lighting, and others, like Type C prints and Polacolor prints, last much less, although trying to get a definite time amount is difficult for transfers. It depends a lot on what kind of light the transfer is exposed to. Hung in direct sunlight or even indirect sunlight, and flourescent lighting are the worst, and fading can occur in months in strong direct sunlight on a daily basis. Polacolor is with metalized dyes, more stable than organic dyes but not as much as azo dyes (Cibachromes). Tungsten light is not nearly so damaging. I've had prints hanging for 7 years with no noticeable fading. Temperature and humidity fluctuations, environmental pollution, the surface your transfer is on (acid fee and pH neutral or slighty alkaline is by far the most stable) are also contributing factors. All this info is in my book, "Polaroid Transfers." Hope that helps.

Kathleen Carr"

-- Marek Uliasz (, October 22, 1998.

Forwarded from Cynthia, (posted originally as response in alt-photo list):

"You did not indicate whether you were interested in Polaroid image transfers or emulsion transfers. I did a personal, unscientific test this year with Polaroid Type 669 emulsion transfers onto Arches watercolor paper to determine light stability with and without McDonald's Protectacote #921 with UV inhibitor in various lighting conditions: Control (acid-free box in the dark, temp. about 68 deg. F.), direct sunlight (south facing window), ambient tungstun with sunlight mix (normal room conditions, but no direct sunlight), and florescent light (not constant, but some almost everyday). I used the same photographic images for each test and chose ones that had a good mix of colors. I used the same emulsion batch of film. I sprayed half of each print with 2 coats of McDonalds Protectacote. The transfers were up from Feb. 28 through Sept. 25. I live in Ann Arbor, MI.

This was not scientific and I was simply judging on what I could tell from simply looking at the transfers closely (magnifier). First of all, in none of the situations did the McDonalds seem to make any difference what so ever in color stability or fading. As expected, the ones in the sunlight faded the quickest and the most. After 7 months in the direct sunlight I would not want to exhibit or sell such a print. The ones in the normal room conditions (ambient tungston/sunlight mix) seemed to have faded very slightly, the florescent lighting showed practically no fading. I would want to redo this part of the study in a room where there would be at least 10-12 hours of daily florescent light in order to better test the effects.

Like all artwork, longevity will vary due to different factors such as temperature, humidity, surface of the transfer, pollutants, etc.

Also check out Kathleen Carr's book "Polaroid Transfers". She has a section on longevity of both image transfers and emulsion transfers. She also states in her book that Polaroid also puts out a booklet, "Advanced Image Transferring" (1994) which discusses the longevity issue. Good luck."

-- Marek Uliasz (, November 12, 1998.

I'm in total agreement with you: everything that I've read about image transfers says that if spray them with a UV sealant they should be protected. Where did the buyer display them? If they're exposed to sunlight, they're going to fade faster than we'd expect (even "normal" photos will). Were they framed with regular glass or behind UV absorbing plastic frame glass? Did you do the vinegar solution and then wash them in water for 5-10 minutes?

Sounds like it might be time to call Polaroid tech support (they're an 800 #) and ask them.

-- Stuart Goldstein (, September 27, 1998.

i did some experiments with emulsion tranfers on a rock. I transferred the image on to a smooth stone, sprayed the stone with protectant and then with clear enamel paint and put it outside in direct sunlight. the image was totally faded in less than a week. i too am interested in finding something to spray on my images to protect them from uv fading. I want to place my image-laden rocks outside in the elements without anything bad happening to them. any suggestion? anybody?

-- jane linders (, May 03, 2001.

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