Giclee Experiment

Lori Drugan

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Sep 8, 2004
Fairlawn, OH
In regard to all off the conversation lately about framing Giclees I decided to do some experimenting. Sometimes I get brave !!!
I have been working with a very talented photographer lately. In the very beginning we were both strangers to the Giclee process, and agreed we would grow together in our knowledge.

First of all, there was the "I learned the hard way in regard to water and the surface". Not to worry, he had another printed and said lets mark this up to learning. By the way, this was on high quality cotton paper, so he also said here is another on canvas to do with what you please to learn. Some people are a dream to work with.

Here is what I learned. When you have a Giclee printed on watercolor paper or cotton rag treat it as if it were any other fine quality print with archival mats.

Now here was the fun discovery. I laid the canvas on a hard surface (3X board) then I laid down a sheet of linen print gard. You have to have a vaccuum press for this process. Laid down the layer of foam that came with my press and then the release board. This was at 215 degrees for 7 minutes. Built my stretcher bars to size and proceded with a regular sretch.

Now whenever I have a customer with one of these I can tell them about all of the options avaible and what they all entail.

I love it when things work out the way you planned.

inkjet inks are known to suffer unpredictable color shift when heat is applied. Last week a photographer friend brought in two identical inkjet photos printed on the recommended paper.

We put them both in the vacuum press at the same time, with the same faom center board, drymount adhesive and linen-finished laminating film. One of them came out fine. The other one came out with distinctly different colors.

These were printed at the same time, on the same paper, with the same inks, and mounted/laminated in the same press, at the same time, with the same materials. We are both baffled.
Sounds to me, Jim, that if you were to put a matrix of thermocouples on your vacuum press, you'd find that the temperature is not quite as uniform as you might like. There might be a pressure gradient at work as well, but the first place I'd look is at the temperature. You seem to have done a pretty good job of keeping various other potential variables constant.
There are so many ink/paper combinations available that no one method is a sure thing for all. I have never had any trouble with true epson ultrachrome inks in my epson 7600.
I have never had any trouble with color shifting from putting any of my prints from my Epson 9600 with the Ultrachrome inks into my heat table. It doesn't matter what substrate paper or canvas, it comes out just like it went in.
I agree, you might have a problem with your heat table.
I just attended a nice discussion on Giclees and digital printing in general. It was very informative, I learned a lot about pigmented inks, dye based inks, coated and non coated giclees. Some are waterproof, some are not. Some are heat safe and some are not. As we take in these giclees to frame unless they are accompanied by info from manufacturer there is no way to determine which is which. So, if I do not have a definitive answer I would not apply heat or let it near moisture. Can't be too careful.
What about glazing them? Since we are unsure of everything about them in general, UV glass should help keep them somewhat stable.
The Doctah has a great point. When considering Time, Temperature, Pressure and Moisture during any mounting process...when all else fails, examine each one for flaws. Temperature could very well be the answer to this question.

All thermal inkjet printer technolgies are heat sensitive, this including HP printers. Since Epson are piezo technology they are not heat sensitive. Dry down is another huge issue. Though manufacturers state immediate dry, it does take a good two weeks to better insure dryness from inks. Therefore the difference could also be the instability from inks having been subjected to mounting stresses too soon after printing. BTW, some inks take up to six months to set.