Drying sensitive paper - what do you do?

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by m1tch, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    I will be doing some cyanotype prints in the next couple of weeks, I have just got some watercolour paper and will be getting the chemicals in the next week or so, its a pretty easy process to get the paper coated but im not sure how it is best to dry the paper once coated before its used. Is it just a case of drying them in a cupboard and then pressing them flat? I don't have a print dryer or indeed any equipment so I just need to know what the easiest way to do it at home.
     
  2. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I've been coating watercolor paper with Liquid Light, and use paper safes, and empty 50 sheet paper boxes for drying. The paper has a tendency to rise while drying, and stick to the box top, so I use Sticky-Tack, or Blu-Tack under the central portions of the paper, and painters blue tape on the edges. The Blu-Tack is easily removed after the paper dries, and can be reused. I tape/tack the paper in the light, prior to coating. I've never done cyanotypes, so I'm not sure if this applies, but it's working for Liquid Light.
     
  3. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I coat the paper for cyanotype, pt/pd and gum under tungsten light (don't use fluorescent light - it can fog the paper) and hang to dry in the darkroom - on a clothesline, with clothes pegs. If I'm doing any kind of a production line, the first ones are dry before I'm done and I move on to printing. Those are never in the dark while drying. If I have dry sheets I'm not using right away, they are stored in a dark drawer and used as soon as possible. I've never had to press the paper flat before using, but I have ironed fabric impregnated with cyanotype chemicals before using.

    I wanted more room for my recent batch of cyanotype Xmas cards, and set up in the kitchen for 2 days; working in daylight, then tungsten as the light faded. The weather forecast was for rain all day, but the sun did come out in the afternoon. My kitchen is bright, windows on 3 sides, and there were beams of light right across my just coated paper. They were fine.

    Relax and have fun.

    In case it's significant - I use traditional formula, not the Ware formula.
     
  4. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Thanks for the tips guys, I will be using the original formula - why mess with something like that :smile: I might set up a shelf or something or indeed a spare cupboard with some string to hang some up, I will probably go with a few sheets to start with, I don't want to make too much of it up as I don't want to waste it after spending the cash on the chemicals.

    How much is normal for each sheet btw? I have seen just a few drips does a sheet which looks rather economical as it just needs to be an fairly thin even coating, its also good that you can do it under normal bulbs so you can actually see what you are doing :smile:
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I use a hair dryer on the low setting (moving it around) to dry. Any moving air will dry it, I'm just not that patient and live in a humid area. If it's not good and dry, moisture may come out of the paper and stick it to the negative as you expose it in the sun/UV lamp.
     
  6. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    How long would they normally take before they are dry enough to use if they are air dried? I don't really want to add any heat into it - will try out some exposures before changing to a different application method etc.
     
  7. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I don't measure x drops per sheet for cyanotypes. (I do for platinum - can't afford to waste any of those chemicals!) I measure the A&B solutions into a yogurt tub, dip my brush in and coat. I usually double coat, as it gives deeper shadows. I was doing 4 4x5's, double coated, with 6 ml of solution. Different papers have different absorbency, so you'll have to tweak for your paper and brush technique.

    It doesn't take very long to dry - half-hourish, though the humidity, fans, heaters, etc will make it vary. Don't use a hot hair dryer to speed things up. If it looks dry, but I'm not sure, I touch my forearm gently to the paper. (I'm usually wearing nitrile gloves all day, so my fingers don't turn blue!)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2012
  8. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    I will make up a small amount of chemical solution then, most of the recipies make up 100mls of solution, I am thinking this might be a bit too much to start with lol I am going with Cyanotype as silver nitrate based or indeed platinum prints were rather expensive to do which would make you nervous to try anything new and I like the fact it will develop in water lol :D
     
  9. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    The separate solutions keep fairly well, thought the ferric ammonium citrate can grow mould if you try to keep it for months. Once you mix them, it should be used on the paper that day. I discard any left-overs.
     
  10. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Yeah I understand that one of them can grow mould, I might make up half a batch say 50ml of each, keep the other half as raw chemicals and then only mix what I need for each sheet - btw what paper do you use? I have some watercolour paper, 200GSM cold press, would that suffice?
     
  11. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    I've mostly used Stonehenge and Lanaquarelle hot press lately. I don't know your paper. The most important factor is the pH of the paper. If it starts to turn blue while it is drying, it is way too alkaline. If you get muddy unsatisfying results, the paper is a possible culprit. Some folks do an acid presoak before using. I use vinegar in my wash water, because my well water is alkaline.

    Have you seen the site Alternative Photography? There are articles there that I found quite useful when I got started with alt printing.
     
  12. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Ah ok, I will see if this cold pressed paper is ok then, I have checked out the site for the formula needed for the solution, the paper is also PH neutral, I will coat a piece and see if it changes, if not its good, if it does then I will think about an acid presoak.
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I hang the paper by a corner from a clothesline in the darkroom. Unsatisfactory. The paper curls a lot. The art paper I use for alternative processes is a lot lighter than regular photo paper. Using a hair dryer seems to help, as does proper sizing.
     
  14. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    To dry paper sensitized for kallitype printing, I use a hair dryer set at cool. Dried in about a few minutes. I mainly used Rising Stonehenge. I always give the paper an acid pre-soak. Really kicks up the Dmax.
     
  15. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hmm perhaps I should use a flat plate or some sort and rubber band it down to it to stop it curling, I will do a test with the first one without holding it down and see if my paper curls much - I guess I could simply flatten it under a book or something once its dry though?
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I buy cheap paper, and gelatine size it with a glass coating rod, one side, hang, then size the back side too once the front is dry. Done as a big unglamorous session when I am feeling uninspired by want to preop for some future alt process work. Usually once every few years. I have never had a problem with the sized paper goping mungy in my cool dry basement darkroom, stored in an old paper box.

    The when you sensitise the paper stays flat, and is ready to go.

    I coat with either traditional or Ware, using a coating rod,and also cormer hang them using modified 'reversed' wooden clothes pegs hung from a line by openned up paper clips though the centre of the srping, so all the papers hang to take up less space on my drying line.

    I find they are ready to go in under an hour if I leave the general self contianed air filtration unit I use for sucking random lint and dust up prior to printing running while they dry, and keep the coated pages at least 2" apart on the line.