Take the time to read these instructions on how to unpack and flatten your new print. A little bit of effort now will give you a print that lasts a life-time. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your print is a poster! These are fine art items made on museum grade archival paper; the same stuff that is used for official documents on display in museums, fine art galleries and in private art collections. They must be treated well as they can be damaged much easier than traditional posts and photo paper.
• Never try to roll your print backwards to try and straighten it out – you will ruin it!
• Touch your print as little as possible, as the high quality paper will react to grease, sweat, slight dirt, etc.
• Install your print into a frame or print hanger soon after you flatten it out as this will protect it from getting damaged.
WHAT'S THIS ABOUT MUSEUM GRADE ARCHIVAL PAPER?
Your print has been created on a beautiful 310 gsm museum grade archival paper called Ilford Galerie Textured 100% Cotton Rag. When we say'museum grade', this is the standard that museums use for creating super high quality documents intended to last up to 100 years, and sometimes much longer! It's also popular with artists due to its ability to convey an exact replica of the original work.
HOW TO UNROLL & FLATTEN YOUR PRINT
Unpack your print with care! I recommend that you actually take it to a framer, unrolled, who will be able to install it in a frame or print hanger for you. However, you can also do this at home yourself if you really need to. The flattening process can take a day or two to complete. You will need the following items;
• a hard flat surface that is clean and completely dry
• a few sheets of plain white paper or clean thin sheet
• some heavy books or something similar.
STEP 1: Prepare a flat and clean surface
Once you receive your mailing tube don’t open it straight away! First, identify a hard, flat surface and remove any dust or other dirt (if you use something wet to clean the surface make super sure it is completely dry before proceeding). A table is perfect for this. Next, put down a few layers of paper large enough to exceed the size of your print (you can use the tissue paper that came with the print if you want) or get a very clean cotton sheet and lay it on the surface. Your flattening area is now ready!
STEP 2: Wash your hands
Wash your hands before opening the print! The paper will absorb grease from your hands, dirt and other things that will mark it. When I am packing and handle them I actually wear gloves to avoid any potential marks – that is the level of care you want to aim for here.
STEP 3: Remove packaging and protection
Once your hands are clean and dry, gently cut away or peel the tape from one end of the tube (it does not matter which end). Pry out the lid and remove any bubble wrap. Gently slide out your print (if it is a bit snug tease it out by pulling on the tissue paper at the top of the roll – try not to touch the paper itself at this point).
STEP 4: Unwrapping your print
If your print is an A3 or A2, untuck the tissue paper at either end of the tube so it is no longer folded back within the inner roll. If you have an A1 simply slide the top and bottom issues paper ‘hats’ off the roll. Now is the important part! Tear away the tissue paper to create enough space to slide your print out (don’t try and peel the sticker label off as you may damage the print directly underneath it with your finger nail. Instead just tear around the sticker label).
STEP 5: Flattening out your print
Try to avoid touching the inked areas of your print with your bare hands as much as possible; instead handle it by the edges. Do not under any circumstances try to roll your print in the opposite direction that it has curled in! This will ruin it.
Instead, take it to your flattening area and gently unroll the print on the surface of your table/ surface area until it is flat. Use one hand to gently pin the print in place with the tips of your fingers to keep it flat (having someone help you here can be useful) and put additional sheets of plain paper or another clean sheet on top of the print. Still keeping the print flat through the top layer of protective paper or sheet, place several heavy books evening over its entire surface.
Take a deep breath! You are done. Give it a day or 2 to completely flatten out, but even in a couple hours you will see a large reduction in the curl. Remember to put it in a frame or print hanger as soon as possible.