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Final Protection Of Your Finished Work

Protecting Your Finished Work

Like all printmaking and photographic processes, digital media remain vulnerable to water sensitivity, fading caused by UV exposure and airborne pollutants, surface abrasion, and dirt. The use of pigment based inkjet inks is recommended as these inks are much more lightfast (fade resistant) than dye based inkjet inks. Unless planning to frame and mount the piece behind glass, some form of final protection is strongly recommended. Without it, the print can be easily damaged and its longevity greatly shortened.

A Note About Water Sensitivity And Applying Additional Colors Or Mediums

All of the inkAID inkjet receptive coatings except the inkAID White Matte and inkAID Translucent Gloss coatings are water sensitive (not water resistant) and can be easily be re-wetted with moisture. Therefore, prior to working on top of the water sensitive coatings with any water-based media, including any acrylic colors or mediums, we recommend sealing or fixing the print with Golden Archival Varnish (Gloss). Failure to do so can cause the inks to run or the image to blur. The inkAID White Matte and Translucent Gloss coatings, however, provide excellent water resistance and should not present a problem once fully dry. As always, though, test for your application.

Final Protection – Top-Coats And Varnishes

There are several Golden Artist Colors products which we would recommend for protecting your inkjet prints:

GOLDEN Gel Topcoats w/ UVLS: Whether used as part of a final layer in a piece, or applied solely for protection at the end, the Gel Topcoats w/UVLS will provide substantial UV protection while lowering the risk of water and chemical sensitivity as well as direct exposure to environmental elements. However, because they are water-based, care must be taken when applying them over any water-sensitive materials or substrates, including those coated with inkAID inkjet receptive coatings that are water sensitive. Always test the application and if any blurring or lifting of color occurs then take steps to initially seal the surface with either GOLDEN Archival Spray Varnish or MSA Varnish. Also, please note that pieces coated with the Gel Topcoat w/UVLS will remain susceptible to dirt collection over time, not to mention surface damage from handling or shipping. For best practice and to address longer-term concerns of cleaning and conservation, we would still recommend applying one of Golden’s removable varnishes as a final layer. Contact Golden Artist Colors Technical Support for more information about this.

Please note: while GOLDEN Gel Topcoats w/UVLS, if kept undiluted, can often be applied directly on top of thoroughly dried prints done with the inkAID water sensitive inkjet receptive coatings, a lot of variables can impact this process: drying time, ink system, thickness of the ground and gel coatings, and degree of surface agitation, etc. Because of that, it is essential to always check one application using a test print before applying these topcoats directly to anything of importance.

GOLDEN MSA Varnish, GOLDEN Archival Spray Varnish or GOLDEN Polymer Varnish: All of GOLDEN"s varnishes will provide UV protection and lower water sensitivity, along with the advantage of being removable for cleaning and conservation purposes. As mentioned above, they can be used in conjunction with the Gel Topcoats w/UVLS to provide additional protection. If used in place of the Topcoats, however, it is best to first apply a non-removable isolation coat whenever possible. If applying a varnish directly to the print, we recommend starting with a “gloss” varnish to seal the surface then switching to whatever sheen one desires. Contact Golden Artist Colors Technical Support for more information about this.