C. FAQ – Application
Q. How do I apply inkAID?
A. The simplest and most commonly used way to apply inkAID coatings is by using a black foam brush available in most hardware stores. It will apply the coating evenly and without leaving streaks. If you use a foam brush, we generally recommend applying two coats. Apply the first layer to your substrate, brushing in a single direction. Air dry the substrate overnight and apply a second coat, brushing in a perpendicular direction. Let the substrate dry again overnight, and ensure that it’s completely flat before printing (see below for suggestions on flattening your substrate). Other ways to apply inkAID are with a stainless steel coating rod, a more costly but faster and more exact method of application, or with a spray gun. If you choose this method, an HLVP (high volume, low pressure) sprayer such as the Campbell Hausfeld HV3000 is recommended. Good results have also been obtained by using a Paasche VLS Airbrush with the No. 5 tip and 50 lbs. of pressure. The inkAID coatings can be diluted with 10% distilled water to aid in spraying. This is a very exact method of application which will yield a coating layer that isn’t visible or felt on the surface of the substrate.
Q. How should I clean up after using inkAID?
A. All inkAID™ products are water soluble and can be cleaned off of brushes and hands (before they dry) using soapy water. After the coatings have dried, inkAID™ Clear Semi-Gloss, Clear Gloss, Clear Gloss Type II, and Iridescent precoats will wash off with hot water, soap, and some elbow grease. inkAID™ White Matte and Adhesive precoats cannot be cleaned with water once they have dried, and need a solvent-based cleaner. If you spill these coatings on surfaces, clothing, or your skin, be sure to rinse off immediately.
Q. How can I go about making my own substrates?
A. Because uses for the inkAID™ products are so varied, there’s no simple answer to that question. Creating your own substrate can be as simple as coating a piece of handmade paper with inkAID™ Clear Semi-Gloss precoat, and as complicated as creating a “skin” using inkAID™ White Matte and Iridescent Blue precoats. Your own creativity will be your only limitation! For ideas, however, there are a tremendous number of resources available. Books, instructional DVD’s, workshops, websites blogs, even youtube.com spots have all been created to provide information about the various techniques utilizing inkAID™ that have been developed. Please visit the “Resources” section for a listing of these.
Q. I’ve coated a thin, porous substrate (like paper) with inkAID, and as it dried, it became warped and doesn’t lay flat. How can I fix this?
A. This is a common problem, and fortunately has a pretty simple solution. The reason that the paper (or other substrate) becomes wavy or warped as it dries has to do with the uneven absorption of inkAID. Especially in handmade paper, where fiber concentration differs throughout the sheet, the water in the inkAID coating isn’t absorbed evenly by the paper, and the result is that the paper warps as it dries. To prevent this from happening, hang the paper from a thin wire (using metal clips or clothespins) after coating, allowing gravity to pull down and keep it flat as it dries. You can also use secure metal clips to the bottom of the hanging paper to add some more weight. If the paper is still warped after it’s been coated twice and completely dried, you can press it flat underneath a heavy weight (like several large books) overnight; this should get rid of the last of the warps. It’s important that the paper lay completely flat before printing to avoid headstrikes by the ink cartridges.
Q. Can I apply inkAID on top of a painting and print on it?
A. Certainly! You can use inkAID™ over any water-based media, but be advised that it may require fixing first. We don’t recommend using inkAID™ on top of oil or other solvent based media, however, as the solvent will destroy the inkAID™.
Q. What do I need to know about post-coating images made using inkAID™?
A. Post-coating is generally recommended to protect your finished images from water damage, fading, airborne contaminants, and fingerprints; however, different coatings have different post-coating requirements. If you’ve used the inkAID™ Clear Semi-Gloss, Clear Gloss, Clear Gloss Type II, or Iridescent precoats, a water-based product might move the inks around, so you’ll need to use a solvent-based topcoat like Krylon Crystal Clear spray or Golden MSA Varnish. inkAID White Matte precoat contains calcium carbonate and can be damaged by the solvents found in products like Golden MSA Varnish. The solvents in these products can dissolve the binder in the dried precoat and cause the appearance of streaks or dust, which sometimes may not appear for months afterward. To avoid this, try using products like Golden Polymer Varnish or ClearShield Type C liquid laminate as a post-coat.