If you own a high quality art print and you intend to have it professionally framed, you don’t need to do anything else. Delivering your “to-be-framed” print to the framer in its original shipping tube is the safest way to go.
And if the flattening instructions below seem overly complex, the professional services of a framer would also be best employed to flatten your print.
Things to avoid:
- Never use an iron, no matter how many “protective” layers you put between it and the print. Argh! The heat, the bruising, the insult! Argh again!
- Never use steam or moisture. You are really asking for trouble if you do. The print’s longevity will certainly be compromised, plus you then predispose the print to athletes foot, or at least a print’s equivalent affliction…mold, mildew, and galloping print rot.
- Never scrape the back of a print over the edge of a table. Yikes! It’s an art print for goodness sake, not a piece of leather! Love, care, and all the rest, remember?
The flattening method:
- Simply put, you can gently de-curl the print by rolling it in the opposite direction to which it is curled.
- You will need a heavy duty cardboard tube with an inside diameter of about 3 inches/7.5 centimeters.
- Prepare a flat, smooth, hard surface for working. Clean it of any grit and particles that might bruise your print.
- Clean your hands. Skin oils are not good for a print. Only handle the print by its edges and never touch the printed image area.
- Place a piece of heavy-ish smooth paper on the working surface. The paper should be the same size or slightly larger than the print, never smaller.
- With care, place the print image-side down on the smooth paper.
- For the next step, be careful when rolling or unrolling the print so you don’t accidentally tear, bend, or crease it during the process.
- Rolling: Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the smooth paper/print combination in the opposite direction to the print curl. Don’t roll things too tightly or you run the risk of bruising the print.
- Slide the rolled smooth paper/print combination fully into the shipping tube.
- Let it sit that way for a time. The exact amount of time required will always be a guesstimate, and it can range from anything between 20 minutes to 8 hours. Current humidity and temperature has a great bearing on the time needed .
- Remove the print from the tube and unroll it. Lay it out, image side up, on a flat surface.
- With a sheet of smooth paper still covering the print’s image, place a few, smooth, flat, heavy objects (such as books) on the ends and middle of the print. Let it sit for a couple more hours.
- Remove the heavy objects from the print.
- If your print still isn’t flat, let it sit with heavy objects holding it down for a few more hours.