Fine art prints present unique challenges to the artist when it is time to finish or store the final print. Pigment-based inks do offer better fade resistance over time than dye-based inks, but they are more susceptible to damage. A fine art print can be harmed by fingerprints, foreign substances, humidity and ozone just like an original piece of art. Fortunately, you can protect the print and extend its lifespan by following the tips below.
Original canvas art has been protected for centuries using varnish, but it’s incompatible with canvas inkjet prints. The protective coating should be waterproof, flexible and non-yellowing to provide complete protection for the canvas print. A product like PremierArt’s Eco Print Shield is water-based and offers a complete protection solution for fine art canvas prints. It comes in a variety of finishes and it can be applied with a high-density foam roller or sprayed on with an HVLP gun.
Fine art paper prints are typically displayed under glass and do not require a protective coating. Archival prints with matte black ink on cotton paper are prone to scuffing during regular handling or during the framing process, though. Damage from fingerprints, moisture, and scuffing can be avoided by spraying a coating of PremierArt’s Print Shield on the print. It can double the life of your fine art prints and allow you to display them without a glass overlay.
Fine art paper prints can be mounted on archival mount board using acid-free spray adhesive. Optionally, you can purchase premade adhesive mounting boards to save a step and some time. All dust and debris should be eliminated from the work area to prevent bumps in the finished piece. You’ll then apply the print to the adhesive surface and use a brayer to smooth it out. It’s important, regardless of the option you choose, to make sure all products are labeled acid-free.
Traditionally, artists choose to display fine art paper prints in a frame under glass. The print should be mounted on an archival quality board with matting and UV glass or UV surface protectant. You should allow at least a 1/8” of overall extra space between the finished piece and the edge of the frame. The framed fine art print should be checked at least every three years to identify and correct any potential problems.
Fine art canvas prints can be stretched on a frame using the same methods as original canvas art. The canvas print should have 4” of extra canvas on all the sides. The canvas is stapled to stretcher bars, one edge at a time while keeping the canvas under tension until it is secured on all four sides. Cross braces should be added for larger prints to prevent the canvas from sagging while it is on display.
Fine art prints should be stored in a climate-controlled environment where temperature and humidity are closely monitored. The temperature should be set between 59ºF and 68ºF with a relative humidity level of 40-60%. Archival prints can be harmed by light and may fade faster than expected when exposed to it. Avoid storage in areas with direct sunlight or use a UV protectant to prevent damage if the prints may be exposed to UV rays.
Fine art prints can be enjoyed for centuries on display with proper finishing techniques and storage. The options we presented in this guide should ensure success in the final stages of your fine art printing project. Remember to always choose archival rated products when finishing your print and make sure you store it properly to protect it.