Print Drying : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I have been making a few 11x14 prints recently. I have a rather primitive (but functional) darkroom. When it comes to drying the prints, I simply hang them from a corner (after squeegying (sp?)).

They dry in a few hours, but they end up all puckered around the edges. When I go to mat these prints, the puckering is quite a distraction.

My question is how, without the advantage of a print dryer and dry mount device, do folks dry their prints and get them into a flat enough condition for over-matting?


-- Robert Ruderman (, January 17, 2002


Two things come to mind. One, try making some drying screens to dry your prints on, posibly with a second layer of screen directly on top of the prints so as to help keep them flat while drying. Also, the relative humidity of the drying environment can affect how wrinkly prints get. In the spring when things are humid, my prints usually dry flatter than in the winter when it's really dry, so maybe some sort of humidity-control in the drying area might help.

-- David Munson (, January 18, 2002.

I made my own drying screens and WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT!! Well worth the effort - although I cheated and used artists canvas stretchers for the frame.

-- paul owen (, January 18, 2002.

Drying screens are something you really should have, so the effort making them will be time well spent. The other thing you need is a drymount press. They are quite expensive, but if you vigilantly watch ebay, you can find a good one for +/- $250-300. It's a very useful investment.

-- Ted Kaufman (, January 18, 2002.

Robert, Get a nice big dictionary or other large book slightly bigger than the print. After drying or if you can catch them damp, place the print face to face with another print or on a piece of wax paper and put the book on them over night while you are sleeping. It will look like they were dried in a press when you check them. If they are completely dry use a damp sponge to dampen the print on the back side only. Good luck, Doug

-- Doug Theall (, January 18, 2002.

I use both drying screens and a dry mount press. I also tried the book method in the distant past. I've never found a satisfactory way of eliminating the "puckering" at the edges that you're talking about except by use of a dry mount press. The screens dry the prints fine and overall curling is minimized if you place the prints face down and put a second screen on top, but a drying screen won't keep the edges from "puckering" (at least mine don't, nor did any book I've ever used. I personally wouldn't bother with trying to make my own screens. Just go to Home Depot or any hardware store and buy some. They cost verythey

-- Brian Ellis (, January 18, 2002.

Would one of those electric dryers (the ones with the twin chrome surfaces -- you can dry on either side of the device; prints are held against a warmed platten by a cloth) be of any value in getting rid of the puckering? Or are these devices to be avoided?

Thanks, Robert

-- Robert Ruderman (, January 18, 2002.

Robert, cutting the edges really helps, so try printing a size larger than the one you would intend to and cut off the eccessive paper, this releases fiber tention, print dryers for fiber based paper are very good but you should check the fact that no fixer should remain in the print if you don't want to pollute your subsequent print. I have a Buscher and it works like anything! I am very happy, a mounting press arises a few question such as on the quality of the glue and if this in future would ruin the print.

-- andrea milano (, January 18, 2002.

I have 2 solutions for this problem which I use separately or combined... 1.- I use the drying screens and weight the prints down with something flat and heavy after they are completly dry...2. I use the screens for few hours then transfer the prints (while they are still a bit humid) to a drying book and weigth them down...also you can fix old prints by soaking them in water and re-dry them using suggested methods...good luck

-- dan n. (, January 18, 2002.

Try something radical! Make a FB print with one inch borders. process and wash as normal. Remove any surface water from both sides of the print and place the print, image up, on a sheet of glass. Tape the perimeter of the print to the glass with gum tape (one inch wide brown tape with water activated adhesive). The tape should cover half the print margin and half the glass ie a minimum of half inch onto the border. Leave somewhere cool overnight. In the morning, run a razor blade around the print edge. There will be a sharp crack as the tension is released. The print will be as flat as the original unprocessed paper and will have a beautiful textured finish. Trim any excess tape from the margins. Not exactly novel! artists have been stretching watercolour paper like this for years! I've used this method for years.

-- tony mclean (, January 18, 2002.

Calumet sells nice drying screens for about $8 a piece. At that price why build them yourself, unless you are really into it. I bought a used seal press for cheap and found that the Seal company still makes replacement foam platens. It didn't work satisfactorily until I had gotten rid of the old crumbly one.

-- Andrew Held (, January 19, 2002.

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