Monday, September 23, 2013

Gelatin Backing Secrets Revealed!!

 Here we are going to demonstrate what a simple gelatin backing looks like. Gelatin is one of Poster Mountain's unique specialties. John innovated this technique himself, and it has proven an ideal option for many different paper situations.

Today we are working with a window card for the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's printed on a heavy card stock, typical for that period's window card format. We are going to use gelatin here because linen, since it is thinner than the poster in this case, would eventually become wavy. And ruffles are not what we're after.

Please note: the gelatin we use is not the Knox stuff you buy at the supermarket. It's called Isinglas, it comes from Sturgeon bladders, and you can't buy it without a license. I'm totally not even kidding.

Wavy BAD.

Other cases that call for gelatin:

Rock posters. Traditionally they are not linen backed. They just aren't. Collectors of this genre don't do that. But what if your rock poster is in less-than-beautiful condition? You get it backed with gelatin and what you come away with is a perfectly flat piece with an invisible stabilizing agent.

Fruit crate labels. More often than not a fruit crate label's back is already coated with a horrible calcified adhesive left over from it's original labeling function. Not only would linen-backing be overkill for such a small item, but the old adhesive resists the paste, resulting in a spontaneous demount. Bad. Not good. Bring the gelatin!

Many people just want their posters cleaned, bleached, and/or restored without linen backing. All these processes involve water, and water makes paper wavy. Our gelatin process allows the paper to air dry while keeping it perfectly, perfectly flat.


John begins by spraying down the poster with water, followed by a cleansing agent called Orvus. 

Notice how brown the paper is.
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He covers the paper with a protective sheet of mylar and squeegees out the dirty water.

Now we must test the paper's reaction to bleach. John sprays water over the paper, and then lightly mists it with a bleach solution. Sometimes a poster will have a bad reaction to bleach, and the color will fade a little. It happens very rarely, but enough so that we must always test.

The poster passed the bleach test. Notice it already looks brighter. Now he sprays more bleach onto the front and back, and lets it sit for a short while.
 Bleach requires vigilant babysitting.

Most of the brownness has left, but there are still a few areas of concern, spots inside the paper that will most likely become invisible once it's completely dry. (The white spot seen here is a reflection of the overhead lights on the mylar.)

He rinses the bleached paper very thoroughly.

Here's our gelatin. It's lumpy because it's partially set-up. We want it this way in this instance because heavy card has a wayward mind of it's own and requires a stickier, more viscous substance. If the paper was thinner we'd use a liquified gelatin to soak up into the fibers and make them stronger and to keep the piece from sticking too stubbornly to the board. 
Using our gelatin, we adhere a sheet of hollytex to the board. This will act as a barrier between board and poster, and will allow us to easily peel the piece off the board once dry.
We then apply gelatin to the back of the poster, and place it centered on the hollytex.

With the mylar still laying over the surface of the paper, the poster is squeegeed and adhesion is achieved!

The mounted poster is still wet and those problem spots are more visible here. Once the paper is dry they should go away. Except that ultimately they didn't so we redid the whole thing with another bleach. The second go was successful and the spots were eradicated. 
The poster has dried for at least twenty-four hours (another benefit of gelatin--24 hour drying time versus 48 for linen.) John pries the hollytex off the board...
He peels the hollytex off the back of the poster....
And presto. No restoration, no visible backing. The transformative powers of simple conservation!


after
before















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