Caring for your Giclee Art Print

Your Giclee Art Print is delicate and vulnerable to damage so please handle with care.  I’m passing along some tips I’ve learned over the years that will help you keep your print in pristine condition.

 

Handling

Natural oils from your hands or other contaminants (food, beverages) can be easily transferred to your print.  It’s best to handle prints wearing lint free cotton gloves, but since that’s not always possible, I suggest cleaning your hands first and then handle the print only by the edges.

The pigmented ink is on the surface layer of the bamboo paper and is unprotected till framed,  so avoid rubbing or scratching the print with any sharp objects, including your fingernails.

 

Exposure

Hanging your print in direct sunlight will damage it.  The inks used in the Giclee process are pigmented and unlike regular dye based inks, will resist fading over time.  However, even the best materials are no guarantee against prolonged exposure to the sun.  Even indirect sunlight can cause fading or a colour shift over time. 

Extreme humidity can cause mold to grow on the paper’s surface.  I would never recommend hanging your print in a damp basement or a bathroom.

Try to avoid hanging your print near a heating source (above a radiator) as overheating will dry out the print and make the paper very brittle.

 

Framing

Your print measures 8x10 inches and there is a wide selection of readymade frames available.  Inexpensive frames from big retailers often use mat boards that are highly acidic...that acid will migrate to your print and can lead to the paper becoming brittle and yellow over time.  Think of what old newspaper looks like.

The best option is having your print professionally framed.  Make sure to request the use of archival quality materials, sometimes referred to as museum or conservation quality.  Some stores may even have the option of glass that can block out UV light.

If you’re going to be buying a frame and doing it yourself, look for frames that use acid free materials for the window mat and backing board.  You’ll need to secure the print to the underside of the window mat with some form of tape.  I don’t recommend using any spray adhesives, wet pastes, glues or permanent mounting tapes.  A low tack clear tape will work, but if you want to go one step further you can purchase archival paper hinging tape from art supply stores like Currys and Deserres.  Archival tape is removable and won’t damage your print with any adhesive residues.  Instructions are on the packaging and it’s simple to apply.  Link to Archival tape

Here’s how to attach your print with archival tape in 4 simple steps.

1. On a clean surface put your window mat facedown and adjust your print until the window evenly overlaps along the edges.  Secure position with low tack masking tape.

2.  Moisten 2 small strips of archival tape and apply 1/4 inch to the back of the print.  Press down and hold for 10 seconds.

3.  Remove masking tape.

4.  You’re done!  If you need to remove the archival tape from the print, just moisten and wait a few seconds for the water to be absorbed and release the adhesive.

Lastly, try to avoid frames where the print comes into direct contact with the glass.  These types of frames work fine with resin coated photo paper or glossy postcards, but could be a problem with your Giclee print.  Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation to form on the inside of the glass which may lead to the paper partially sticking to the glass.