Archival: Displaying Inkjet Prints for Longest Practical Life

Acme Quality Paint photo by Jay Snively

This information is for you if you’ve received one of my photo prints and you’d like to take advantage of its archival qualities and keep it looking good as long as practical.

The bullet points below are a quick summary to follow when framing a print. See below the bullet points for more information.

  • (do this at the very least) Acid-free mount and mat board
  • Metal frame – natural wood frames contain acid and cannot be made acid-free (although steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of the acid)
  • UV-filtering glazing (glass or acrylic) – UV light is found in both natural and man-made light and can quickly fade prints
  • Acid-free adhesives and tapes (and any other materials that are part of the frame package)

The  term “archival” doesn’t have a clear definition when it comes to storing and displaying inkjet prints. One expert describes the term archival as “made with a good faith effort to be durable and long lasting.”

A major part of making something archival is that the materials are acid-free. When it comes to inkjet printing, archival also means using pigment inks. Less expensive inkjet printers use dye-based inks and the dye inks don’t last as long as pigment inks.

UV light is found in both natural and man-made light and can quickly fade prints, so UV glazing (glass or acrylic) is highly recommended.

Airborne pollutants can damage prints so it’s a good idea to seal the frame package. The prints also should not be displayed or stored in high humidity in high temperature environments.

Free art in your mailbox a couple times a year? (click for details)…