FAQ’s regarding storing media, packaging, and handling. Packaging prints for shipping and 4 other tips.

I’ve received a lot of questions ranging from storing rolls, to packaging prints, and unpacking prints. Let’s go over the basics…

Storing Media

Every roll you receive from Breathing Color comes in a sturdy box with plastic cores and clear plastic wrapping. While some users prefer storing canvas and fine art paper “loose”, it’s important to hold onto the packaging for storage.

If you want to maximize the quality and life of your media, store each roll exactly as you receive it! Using the clear plastic wrapping will protect the roll from changes in temperature, humidity, dust, debris, and any contaminants.

Keeping each roll in the original box it came in will protect the edges of the roll since the roll is held by the plastic cores. The optimal storing conditions are 70 degrees at 50% humidity. A controlled environment is ideal but not required. Keeping your rolls in the original packaging when not in use will also extend the shelf life of the product.

Handling Media

The best way to handle canvas and fine art paper is with white cotton gloves. The cotton gloves will prevent any oils from your hands to transfer onto the inkjet receptive coating of the media.

It’s important to avoid touching the coated surface of the media as any oils that are present will affect the reception of pigment ink.

In other words, a fingerprint will be visible when you print on the part of the roll that has been handled with bare hands.

If you do not have white cotton gloves, handle the roll by grabbing the paper media band that is taped around the roll in the center. When loading the roll into your printer, be sure to feed the media by grabbing the outer edges as you feed.

Although you may still transfer some oils onto the media, this will be on the outer edges of the roll and should not affect print quality.

If you are running border-less prints, cotton gloves may be the best way to prevent this from happening.

When you are done printing, tape the paper media band back onto the roll to hold it together and then pack it inside the plastic wrap to store in the original box.

Dry-time & Outgassing

Most production studios like to handle the prints immediately when they come off the printer to move them to another department.

While this is perfectly safe for most photo papers, fine art paper and canvas should have a little extra care.

Canvas absorbs a little more ink than a standard photo paper (where ink dries on top of the inkjet receptive coating, thus requiring less ink). Giving the prints a longer dry time will insure that the outgassing process completes.

Outgassing is when water evaporates from the aqueous ink during the drying process.

The amount of time until outgassing is complete will vary depending on your temperature and humidity, but generally 24 hours is ample time for this process to be completed.

If you are printing on fine art paper sheets, be sure to use slip sheets if you plan on stacking your prints. A slip sheet should be any type of paper or sheet that is acid free.

Packaging Prints for Shipping

If you are shipping canvas prints that have been coated, it’s best to wait 24 hours before packing them to allow the coating to cure.

If you are packing your prints in a plastic bag or sleeve, be sure to use plastic made from polypropylene. This type of plastic is flexible and strong, so it’s difficult to tear.

If it is a gallery wrap you are shipping, using cardboard corner protectors will prevent the corners of the frame from damage.

Unpacking Prints

If your customers are like most consumers, they probably want to open their prints immediately upon receipt.

When dealing with canvas prints that have been coated, you want to instruct your customers to wait before they open the package.

This is because in most cases a shipment will travel through various temperature/climate changes, going from hot to cold (or cold to hot).

When this happens, chances are high that the plastic wrapping can stick to your print/varnish.

While this will not damage the print in any way, if the package is unwrapped right away the plastic can take some of the varnish with it.

Waiting 24 hours before unpacking the prints will allow the print (and varnish) to acclimate to it’s new environment, thus preventing the plastic from sticking and peeling away varnish from the print.

If you are shipping printed sheets that are not mounted, be sure to include a slip sheet in between each print.

These are just a few basic tips for handling media and shipping prints. If you have another method for shipping your prints I’d love to hear what you do!

If you have any questions on what’s listed above let me know!

About the Author

Nick Friend, President of Breathing Color, Inc., is a principle-centered entrepreneur who has over 15+ years of experience in developing and executing innovative sales and marketing strategies as well as building, training, and leading national and international sales forces. His ability to recognize market opportunities, build successful business models, and lead organizations has been demonstrated with multiple business ventures. Mr. Friend was honored by the Orange County Business Journal's "Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards" in 2007 & 2008.

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