If you’re in the business of printing canvas, you likely understand the importance of adding a coating to aqueous-printed canvas media. A coating stops the canvas from cracking and provides consistent results when stretching the finished piece.
Even if you’re using solvent or latex ink, a coating is not necessary, but it can be helpful to create a certain look, like a satin or glossy finish that can intensify colors in the finished print.
Watch the video above for a quick look at how to roll coatings on canvas. Here’s an overview of the steps:
1. Start with a high-density, white foam roller and a tray that is typically used for holding paints. You can buy these in the paint department of any home-improvement store. The high-density foam will help reduce bubbles. Use a larger-width roller if you plan to coat larger canvases.
2. Pour the coating into the tray and dip the roller in the coating until it is thoroughly wet, but not too wet.
3. Lay your print on a clean, dust-free board that is bigger than your print. The extra space on the surface around the print can be used to roll off excess liquid if you happen to oversaturate the roller.
4. Consider using two or three thinner coats, instead of one thicker coat.
5. Don’t try to coat the whole print at once. Start with one or two passes at the edge of the print, and go over each pass enough times for the bubbles to dissipate, but not so many times that the coating becomes tacky or bumpy.
6. If large bubbles appear, try blowing on the coating.
7. Make overlapping passes so you can maintain a wet edge and avoid lines and streaks.
8. Find the rolling pattern that works best for you. Some users prefer rolling in one direction only. They go up the print in one pass, and down the print in the second pass (like mowing a lawn).
9. Don’t press down on the roller. Maintain a light, even pressure.
10. If you are applying a second coat, allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. A thin coat should take between 10 and 30 minutes to dry. But it will take longer if you’re working in an environment with high humidity.
11. Allow the coated print to dry thoroughly before you pack it for shipping. Don’t try to speed up the drying process with a fan; allow the print to dry on its own.
12. Clean the rollers immediately after each use. Run cool water of the rollers immediately after use, and squeeze them until they run clear. Allow 10 to 15 minutes. If you keep the rollers clean, you can use them for about six months before you need to replace them.
For best results, keep these tips in mind:
- Let the print dry for 24 hours before coating.
- Once you’ve coated the canvas, wait six hours to stretch it (always coat before stretching).
- Coatings interact with different media with various results. Do a test first.