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How can I flatten a print? 
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:05 pm
Posts: 33
Post How can I flatten a print?
I bought one very reasonably on E-bay and when it arrived the lady had sent it in a tube mailer!   All rolled up!

I unrolled it on the table top and stuck a flat weight on top, but it doesn't seem to be making much headway toward flattening out.   I am hesitant to moisten it, never having had experience with this problem before.   Would you simply reverse the roll and hope it cancels out the rolled up effect?   I don't want to damage the print.   Any ideas?

Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:24 pm
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Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:30 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Post Re: How can I flatten a print?
If we're talking about a normal Japanese woodblock print, then this is an easy job. Get some sheets of newspaper and dampen them (quite damp) with a clean brush. Slip them into a large garbage bag, and leave them for a couple of hours. When you check them they will be all wrinkled; smooth out the wrinkles, and slip your print inbetween them. Say a half-dozen sheets of newsprint on top, and the same below. Put the pack back into the garbage bag. A wide board with a light weight on top is OK.

Leave the pack overnight. (It's not a bad idea to check it after a half-hour or so, because as the print absorbs moisture, it too may ripple up as it tries to widen out. Lift it up and relay it, to allow it to stretch a bit, if necessary). Come morning, the print should be very soft and supple. Be very careful how you handle it in this condition. It will crease and possibly tear quite easily. Leave it sitting out in the open for anywhere from one minute to about five minutes (this totally depends on your humidity there.). The idea is for most of the loose moisture to fly away before the next step. Don't let it dry so much it starts to wrinkle up. Then, just before it starts to curl up, slip it between two clean sheets of something like illustration board (nothing with ripples like cardboard). Put some big books on top, and
leave it for a while.

Should come out smooth and flat. If you're not used to this procedure, try it first with a junk print, so you get the hang of how much water to use ...

Important note: Here in Japan the newsprint never 'transfers' ink over to the print, but I have no idea about how your local paper will work. Test first. If in doubt, use blank newsprint paper from the art shop, or something similar, instead of printed stuff ...

Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:26 pm
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