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Care of Digital Prints
With proper care my artwork can remain as bright and beautiful as the day
you got it for many, many years to come! Here's more information.
- what's important about matting
- why archival matting?
- how long do these prints
what's important about matting
Framing and matting behind glass
or plastic helps protect art. Until the artwork can be properly matted and framed,
keep it between sheets of acid-free paper and avoid handling, as this could add
unwanted fingerprints. Another reason to protect the print behind glass or plastic
-- inkjet printing of any kind uses water based inks. Thus, these inks are NOT
waterproof. Basically treat it as you would treat an original watercolor.
Extremes of light and temperature can hurt any work of art on paper. Bright light
and high humidity have the worst effects on any print's longevity. Thus, definitely
avoid storing prints in places like the basement, the attic, or the garage. The
worst possible place for a print is in direct sunlight. The bright light in combination
with heat (especially heat trapped behind glass) can really fade artwork quickly.
why archival matting? how?
As with any work of fine art on paper, the matting and framing should be done
in an archival manner, using acid free mat board. Your local frame shop
will be able to help you with this... just make sure that they know what they're
I hate to say it, but some places are so accustomed to framing items without archival
concerns (like posters, family photos, and cheap lithographs), that the person
on duty that day at your frame shop might not actually understand what you're
asking for. I found all this out myself the hard way, by handing an ill-fated
print to a certain frame shop without giving adequate instructions. Your print
should definitely NOT be mounted (glued flat to a board). Also, make sure the
frame shop knows that the ink used is water soluble, to help prevent any unfortunate
how long do these prints last?
Gicleé-type (inkjet) digital printmaking has been an established artistic media
for years now. The lightfast qualities of archival quality inks and paper result
in an artwork that can last many decades before any noticeable fading occurs.
According to testing by the experts at Wilhelm Imaging Research,
this particular combination of ink and paper can last 65 to 75 years without
any noticeable fading. This is many decades more than what is expected for an
original watercolor or even for some color photographs.
Mark McCormick, a preservation scientist for photo materials at the Smithsonian
Institution, says that "Gicleé inks now are comparatively stable — more stable
than many pastels or colored pencil works and more stable than many lithographs."