As we get ready for our second city of the Datacolor Camera to Output photo workshop with David Saffir, we had a chance to go through the steps in preparing , stretching and finishing one of David’s prints “Horseshoe Bend ” for the Phoenix Workshop.
There are many important steps to the process of stretching a wide format ink jet print on canvas to make sure every aspect will yield a good finished product that will last for many years. Any short cuts in this process, will cause quality issues that will haunt you for a variety of reasons down the road. Not to mention, you might have un-happy clients!
If you are not comfortable in doing your own stretching and finishing, be sure to contact a professional framer or art reproduction provider to perform these services. As they do this all the time, most likely they are the best at producing quality results. It is important to ask and know about how all this is to be done properly.
Let’s chat about the wide format ink jet print that is done on quality canvas. Whether you are printing this yourself on printers like the Epson Pro Graphics, Canon or HP, you want to start with a good quality ink jet canvas that is properly coated with an ink jet receptive coating that is proven to last. There are many canvas products out there that are less expensive, but the money you save in cheap ink jet canvas peels or fails down the road.
Once the print is made on quality canvas, inspect the entire canvas for any print related issues and be sure to protect it during the entire finishing process.
We suggest that if you are going to stretch any canvas to finish the print with at least 3 coatings of a quality, aqueous based coating to allow for handling, stretching and protective sealing of the image for life. We recently attended the SGIA in Orlando and saw the newly introduced Drytac Giclee 44″ aqueous based roller coater and it tested out pretty nicely! You can brush, roll-on, spray or use an auto coater to apply these finishes.
Starting with good wood stretcher bars or frames is a must! Don’t scrimp here, as this is the backbone of the final piece. Good miter corners, glue and nailing will secure these corners and make for a strong stretcher frame. One trick that we use to keep the canvas from “cracking” on the edge is to finish route the edge with a 1/8″ radius and sand the entire edge to remove any rough spots.
Layout on the canvas is important as you will want to allow a little extra on each side for wrap and stretch. This canvas did not need a full wrap, as it was due to be framed. A very popular method these days is to do a “full wrap” and use the edges as the finished result.
In our case, we used a little trick to back light the canvas and mark the corners from the back side of the canvas, as this is how we line it up for the first step of stapling the middle of all four sides with a gentle stretch.
One of the pictures below shows the “Tools of the Trade” and has 3 different types of staplers (heavy duty hand, new style hand and electric) shown. They all work quite well, it is just a matter of what works best for you. They all use the popular T-50 3/8″ staples that are available at most hardware stores. The kit contains needle nose players, a slotted screwdriver, small pry bar, knife cutters, scissors and a host of little goodies to get the job done. Most importantly, you will love having the Canvas Stretcher Pliers- they save your Fingers!
During our “Print Finishing Classes” we cover a lot of these details and more during our 1 day, 2 day and 3 day workshops that are taught by pros that know the techniques.
Coming down the final stretch, you will start in the middle of each of the 4 sides and work to the corners gradually stretching and stapling. The corners are where attention to detail is a must! Once all the corners are done, you can trim the excess with a knife. The canvas should have a smooth, tight finish with no ripples and have a nice ” bounce ” to it on the entire canvas. Again, saving your fingers, use the special pliers to stretch!
As we finished this piece, it looked great and we had a chance to inspect the quality of work and take pride in a job well done! Now, it was on to the packing of the box, get the show posters ready, load the van and head down the road to Phoenix!
First stop was to visit our friends Steve Zeifman of Rush Creek Editions and the Artisan store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This traditional art store has grasped the concept of the Fine Art Reproduction services and offers a complete service to the many artists and photographers of Santa Fe. They print on Epson Pro Graphics large format ink jet printers with the archival inks, use the Signature Worthy, Exhibition Fine Art canvas and media on all the prints. The Artisan will be hosting our Print Finishing Workshop in the future, so stay tuned for details.
We always list our seminars and classes on our web site or you can call us at 303-934-2777 for assistance on any of your ink jet printing and finishing needs. Look over our blogs for all the details.
As we travelled down the road, our van carried all of the Epson Gallery of Images from David Saffir and others to the Art Intersection in Gilbert, AZ for the November 9th photo workshop.
Be sure to sign up on our site for the Saturday, November 9th photo workshop with David Saffir & the Camera to Output program at the Art Intersection in Gilbert, AZ as this will be our last stop before the holidays. Be sure to check in with Tempe Camera and Repair, Art Intersection or our site for all the details. Our 2014 workshop and seminar schedule is due to be announced on our www.digital2you.cc Happy Holidays!