So I just had a neat thought of doing darkroom-printed Christmas cards. I figured I'd cut 8.5x11 paper in half for 2x 4.25x5.75 cards per sheet (or maybe just half 8x10 since I'd have to buy 8.5x11), print a picture on one half and fold it over. If I was feeling particularly adventurous, I'd print out a sheet of a copyright with my name and the year, take a picture of that, then print that onto the other half of the card, soup each, dry, fold, and stuff into envelopes.
Does anyone have any experience with this? Maybe I'm being a bit too adventurous? I've never actually tried to fold over photo paper like this or write on the back side-does anyone think it'll work? Or maybe there's a specific kind of paper I might want to use for this?
Thanks all-this is my first post here-I'm fairly active over at RFF and GetDPI, but I figured this was the best place for a question on darkroom printing. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks again!
Hi Ryan. Welcome to APUG. Good to have you here...
Have you considered using Ilford's ready-made Portfolio Postcard papers? It's not exactly as you describe, but pretty cool nevertheless. The link is to their Pearl finish version, but they also make a Glossy version. (Word has it the Pearl is better able to survive the postal sorting machines.)
There is also an active postcard exchange group here on APUG. Lots of experience there as well.
Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 11-25-2011 at 03:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Added second link...
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
I think you'll find the backside of standard paper is too difficult to write on. I stick 4x6 photos onto thin coloured cardboard from the local stationer. I cut and fold the card just a bit larger than 4x6 and then stick a folded piece of plain photocopy paper inside to write on. You can get creative mounting the photo - tear around the edges, double mount, inked borders etc. For the backs you can just make some sticky labels with your details on. Nice thing to do on a rainy day.
My wife and I buy the Christmas cards that are designed to have photographs inserted into them (typically family portraits) but instead we put in prints from some of my photography.
Last year I used a hand done darkroom print of a snow scene I shot on B & W film. This year it will be a lab done colour print from a frost scene I shot on colour film.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
I've been doing this every year for the last 15 years. RC paper is much easier than FB, but if you use FB fold backwards first. Use a Sharpie to write your greeting and you are all set.
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I have also been doing this for years. The best snow [sticks to tree branches etc., thick and fluffy] hereabouts falls in late February, so that's when I take pics for the year's cards.
Folded 8x10 gives a hard to fill 8x5" form factor so I use halved 11x14 for large 5x7'ish cards or halved 8x10 for 4x5 cards.
I lightly score the paper along the edge of the image with a slightly dull curved knife and a rule and then fold the card over over. I trim the card square after I have folded it.
I use FB paper, which makes it easier to write inside the card. Flattening the card is a real PITA, as one would expect. A long spell in a clamped drymount press helps: I treat the prints with Pakosol [a fancy version of glycerin - see sticky thread at top], lightly dampen the back/inside of the cards, re-fold them, place them in a hottish press between mounting boards, turn the press off and remove the cards the next day.
Here's a bit from the past. I picked them up on ebay a while ago. This is a small sample, all different sizes and graphics.
Might be an idea to try.
Thanks all for the advice. I think I'm going to try it. Don't have any easy way to press them/get them flat, but I might just try pressing them between the pages of a thick old book and putting them in the oven at warm for a couple hours and seeing if that essentially 'irons' them. I do RC prints only, so hopefully that'll make it easier-will try scoring the (emulsion-side, I presume) prints, too, to help them set.
George-those greeting card masks are awesome-I presume they're for contact prints? And if you're not using them this year I don't suppose you'd be willing to send me one or two to print with? I'll be happy to cover shipping and some extra escrow to make sure you get them back-they look like they'd be perfect!
I do this, but I recommend you use FB instead of RC. RC requires a sharpie to write on, which can bleed. The back side of FB paper is just paper so the inside of the card is quite nice to write on.
My wife and I have been making an annual Christmas card for the past 15 years; this year's card will be our 16th.
We started by making an exposure on the right side of a sheet of B&W paper, the half with the image, with the left side masked. The paper then went into a second easel, under a second enlarger, with the left side exposed to a lith negative, with the copyright information on it. We then dry-mounted the paper onto a sheet of card and folded it, with the personal greetings written inside. These cards were bulky and somewhat hard to fold.
Our next iteration was to print the copyright info on one side of a piece of card stock, using a computer's printer, with the personal greeting printed on a sheet of paper, also with a computer's printer. They were trimmed and assembled, with our image of choice attached to the face of the card, sometimes with home-made corners (the scrap from the trimming process), sometimes using a glue stick. Some years we assembled in excess of 100 cards, and I can tell you from personal experience that that can be--is!!--an awful lot of work.
We now buy blank, pre-folded cards, with matching envelopes, from a local craft store. They are passed twice through a printer, once for the copyright info on the back and once for the greeting inside. Sorry, we don't (yet) own a printer with duplex capabilities. The image is attached to the front, and the envelopes are printed with the delivery and return addresses. Some of our cards, about half, we hand deliver, on Christmas Eve.
The images have been all kinds: conventional black and white, produced in a darkroom, colour images, also produced in a darkroom, but more recently digital. One year my wife and I made a series of shadowgrams on B&W paper, and the ones we chose for final use were photographed on B&W negative film and printed. Some years we have used two images, so the cards are displayed so that they both show; last year's image was one like that, two images designed to be a metaphor and to complement each other.
Believe me, it's worth the effort; you will ultimately get out of this endeavour what you put into it. We have one friend who displays all of our cards, every year, and actually has her neighbours call to see our latest effort!