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Preparing glass for carbon printing
For my carbon printing I am printing on opal glass. The two main challenges in the process have been:-
(a) finding information on how to prepare the glass for carbon printing and
(b) in sourcing the recommended materials here in Australia.
Why is it so important to prepare the glass for the carbon print?
As the archival qualities of carbon prints far exceed all other forms of printing it is crucial that the substrate to which it is applied supports this archival strength. By meticulously cleaning the glass I will hopefully prevent impurities adhering to the glass and causing damage to the print at a later stage. Secondly, and of equal importance, I must ensure that the image bonds with the glass successfully and permanently.
What the research suggests
In my research I came across the writing of A.M. Marton who in 1905 documented the process of preparing the glass for receiving a carbon image. His recommendation was to apply a warm mixture of gelatine & chrome alum. Unfortunately he did not document exact quantities for the process although I do not believe that this would be too much of a challenge to overcome. What he was quite clear about was that gelatine sticks to glass but carbon does not. As carbon sticks to gelatine the glass needs to be sized with a gelatine surface first. I am yet to try this particular method.
Preparing glass for carbon printing in the 21st century
Being more than a century on from the writing of A.M. Marton other products are now available to us. I am using amino silane as a bonding agent. Amino silane is used in the glass industry. It is also recommended by Bostick & Sullivan. Unfortunately it is considered a hazardous material and is therefore very expensive to have shipped from the USA. After months of research I did manage to find amino silane here in Australia and had it posted to me. Although it is still classified as hazardous it did not prevent delivery or incur any additional cost.
The bulk of the other products required for the preparation are readily available.
Preparing glass for carbon printing : Putting it into practice
General household detergent
Isopropyl alcohol (from the pharmacy)
Whiting/chalk powder (from an art supply store)
Lint free cloth
Clean glass thoroughly with general household detergent. Rinse.
Soak for 10 minutes in a mixture of 1:1 laundry bleach/water. 10 Mi
Rinse with hot water and dry with a lint free cloth
Make a pad out of paper towel and dampen with isopropyl alcohol. Polish the glass with the alcohol dampened paper towel and some whiting.
Leave to dry - 1 hour.
Dust off any powder or wipe with a lint free cloth.
Spritz the glass with amino silane and foam brush a thin layer over the glass.