How do I create borders around my print? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

I'm tired of the plain,boring white borders around my prints. I would like to create black or even more creative borders around my prints, but don't know how... My enlarger only takes 35mm negs so I can't combine to negs together. What can I do? Place a mask over the paper on the baseboard? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

-- JJ Gildenhuys (, May 05, 2000


Sounds like the old filed out negative carrier is your solution. Just take a file and carefully file all four sides of your carrier so the clear area of the negative is visible. Use a throwaway negative to measure and see how far to go. Try to make it as even as possible, since when it's enlarged you'll have plenty of variance. A glass negative carrier (if available for your enlarger) will give you the perfectly straight black borders. I also thought about the baseboard trick, but haven't tried it. Has anyone? It seems possible that you would be able to cover most of the print (after the exposure) and then flip on the overhead light for a few seconds. Haven't tried it however. - Bill Noll

-- billnoll (, May 05, 2000.

Actually, the easiest way to prepare accurate borders is find a product made by Pace called "Natural Black Border Printing Kit". If you can't, e-mail me and I'll try to explain how it works.

-- Alec (, May 05, 2000.

Does anyone have additional information on this natural border printing kit? It sounds interesting. BTW,I've tried the filed negative carrier trick,it works great if you don't plan on cropping the image.

-- Robert Orofino (, May 06, 2000.

Alec & everyone else...I Would KILL to get a Pace Border Kit...anyone know where to get one?

-- Jim W Vanson (, May 06, 2000.

Jim, in the interest of protecting you friends and coworkers, I'm going to take a stab (sorry) at what the Pace kit does and how to duplicate the effect. And yes, the filed out negative carrier (also known as a full frame print), is out of the question for cropped images. Suppose you're printing an image, say 10 inches by 10 inches, and you want a quarter inch black border. Cut a piece of mat board exactly 9.5 inches square, with the angled blade. After exposing the paper, carefully place the mat board over the imagee, making sure the edges are extremely even. For an even edge, the slightly larger side should be face down. Take a small flashlight and carefully expose the edge, very close to the paper, to prevent spilling over beyond your easel borders. For a softer inside edge, you might want to try flipping the mat board, so the light trails off into the paper a bit. Seems like it wouldn't be hard to rough up the edge a bit with sandpaper, if this technique actually works. I'll try this next time I print and post the results. Good luck.

-- bill noll (, May 08, 2000.

For more suggestion, go to the page that shows all the post in this forum, and search for 'borders'.

-- Alan Gibson (, May 08, 2000.

Bill Noll almost got it right. There is a better technique, however. True, the insert is cut just slightly smaller than the mat cutout. However, to use it, after the basic exposure has been made onto the paper throught the mat cutout, take the negative carrier out and, using brief white light exposures, do the following: first place the insert into one corner [for our purposes here, make that the upper left corner as you look at the cutout]. Make a brief exposure sufficient to print a full black image. Then move the cutout to the lower right corner, and make the second exposure for the border line. The combination of these two exposures will make a uniform [if the insert was cut accurately] line around the print image. For B&W, the border line will be black. For color, it will be white! The reason the Pace kit was so versitile was it used a mat made out of a material, sorta like rubber, which was magnetic - once placed on a metal easel, it stuck there. Thus, when the cutout was moved around, the mat stayed put. I'm sure there are some still out there. Good luck!

-- Alec (, May 10, 2000.

Alec, that's a great idea as it ensures an even border (assuming, like you mention, the mat is cut correctly). My only concern is, for reasons of dust, focus, etc., I don't like to remove the negative carrier until all the prints are made (my darkroom conditions, as you may guess, are less than ideal!). Is there any problem with simply turning on the overhead light for a second or two to make the exposure? Or does the light have to be directional (from above) for even, accurate borders?

Again, thanks for the suggest

-- bill noll (, May 18, 2000.

Bill, all you want is an exposure sufficient to achieve a black line image. A "flash" would be fine! Or even an overexposure. The flash would seem to be quicker. Just see the insert is pressed down securely so the light won't leak underneath. Good luck.

-- Alec (, May 20, 2000.

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