Print Finishing Options Print E-mail

Most prints that leave our studio in Dublin, Ireland, do so without any special finishing.  They are usually destined to be framed behind a mount and glass, so no special finishing is required.  However, some of our prints receive up to three coats of protective spray or giclée varnish.

Protective Spray

We recommend that prints are sprayed in two situations: when they are not going to be protected by glass, or when they are printed on a paper with a lustre finish.

We use Hahnemühle FineArt Protective Spray.  Why?  Because we know that Hahnemühle have tested it with their papers and with the pigment inks that we use.  The spray has the following effects. 

Matt papers: This spray has no visual effect on matt papers but it improves the performance of these papers when subjected to rough handling.  However, scuffing of the prints cannot be eliminated, because the surface of most fine art papers receives little or no calendaring.  As a result, the surface texture of the papers is soft and delicate.  Like an original artwork, they should be handled with care. 

On the plus side, the soft surface texture of Hahnemühle FineArt matt papers gives prints a depth, richness and ‘sense of reality’ that modern calendared papers cannot achieve.  Hahnemühle calls this a ‘third dimension’. 

Lustre papers:  Hahnemühle FineArt Protective Spray does alter the appearance of lustre papers.  The overall effect is positive, and is especially noticeable on B&W prints. 

Use of the spray increases apparent dynamic range, i.e. it gives the appearance of deepening the blacks whilst retaining shadow detail.  This makes the print appear to have more contrast.

It also gives a uniform surface reflectance (sometimes called ‘surface differential’) to inked and un-inked parts of the print.  Finally, for those who are still using first or second generation inks, it removes a surface effect known as ‘bronzing’.

UV Protection: Hahnemühle FineArt Protective Spray provides protection against the harmful effects of ultra violet light.  UV light is present in direct sun light and is a major cause of colour fading.  Note: Hahnemühle FineArt papers perform exceptionally well when tested for colour stability.  Standard testing is done without protective spray, but behind glass (which itself provides some protection from UV light).

Giclée Varnish

Canvas prints are frequently hung stretched but unframed.  Plastic laminants are often used to protect canvas prints from knocks and scrapes, and to facilitate cleaning with a damp cloth.  We prefer the natural, traditional look that a varnish gives compared to the modern look of a laminated canvas.  We recommend and use DCP Giclée Varnish and apply up to three coats, by hand, to all of our canvas prints.  It comes in matt, satin or gloss finishes.