Note: HANDELING PRINTS: Cibachrome prints are extremely fragile. Use cotton gloves always. Pick up prints slowly to avoid bending print and making a ding.

Cibachrome prints can be adhesive mounted or hinged to the backing. 

may be the best solution for some situations such as traveling exhibitions or when maximum flatness is desired. Mounting with cold-press adhesives should be done by a lab familiar with mounting Ilfochromes. The best material for adhesive mounting is aluminum composite material such as Dibond.

LOOSE HINGING is best for archival preservation. Some advantages are:

1)The print may be removed from the backing and reframed.
2)The back of the print can be viewed to see the title and signature.
3)There is no question as to the lasting qualities of a mounting adhesive. 

The backing should be an acid free material such as 100% acid free rag board, aluminum, or acrylic sheet.

The backing material that I prefer for loose hinging is 1/8 inch acrylic sheet (Plexiglas). Acrylic sheet holds the print flat by static electrical attraction. It also has the "clear" advantage that the back of the print can be viewed even in the frame. Because different brands of acrylic may have different electrostatic properties, the same brand or batch of acrylic sheet should be used for the backing as well as the glazing to make sure that the print is not attracted to the glazing more than the backing.

The Hinging Technique must allow for differential expansion and contraction of the print and the backing when there are changes in temperature or humidity. If a print is attached to the backing at two different points, and the backing contracts more than the print, then the print will surely show wrinkling between these two points. The solution is to fasten the print in only one place: the Top Center Hinge. This will allow the print and the backing to move independently of each other in all directions from the top center.

Making the Top Center Hinge: The best tape  for hinging is Filmoplast P-90. This an archival self-adhesive paper tape that is 3/4 inch wide, easy to use, and can be removed from the print without water.

To make the hinge, use two 2 to 3 inch pieces of tape (6 inches for a 30x40 print). Place one piece of tape glue side up and the other glue side down, overlapping by 1/4 inch the long way, to become one piece as in the diagram. 

Attach the hinge to the top center back of the print with the print edge in the middle of the overlapping portion of the hinge. It will be necessary to lightly burnish the Filmoplast to make a good bond.


Two Corner pieces are used to keep the print from "rocking" on the hinge. The print is held in position by only two corner pieces that touch only the top edge of the print. Use only these two top corner pieces. Do not tape the print anywhere else, as this will interfere with the free movement of the print. I have seen many prints wrinkled because a framer followed these instructions exactly, then, to be "extra safe" they added extra tape to the sides or the bottom of the print to hold it in position.  

Each of the two corners is made from a piece of acid-free bond paper that is folded and taped to the backing with Filmoplast P-90 as follows:

The print on the backing 

THE OVER MAT: Glossy Ilfochrome prints must be separated from the glazing. An over mat serves to separate the print from the glazing as well as to hold the edges of the print down. The over mat should cover the outer edges of the print by a minimum of 1/4 inch. The over mat should be four-ply 100% rag board or eight-ply over mat for 24x30 and larger prints. It is possible to frame a print without an over mat, but some other method must be used to separate the print from the glazing, and to also allow free movement of the print on the backing.

CLEANING: The surface of Cibachrome prints is extremely fragile, and even cotton will scratch it with too much pressure. Dust may be removed using dry compressed air and a soft brush. Do not blow on the prints by mouth, or allow people viewing them to talk looking down on the prints, as droplets of saliva will cause surface marks, and may cause the colors to change permanently. An artist's chamois or PecPads with a few drops of Pec-12  will remove oil from finger prints without scratching the print.

STORAGE: Prints may be stored flat in mats or in boxes. Glossy prints may also be stored safely in boxes that are standing up. Prints should always have their surface covered with a soft, chemical free material such as Reemay spun polyester sheets. Materials such as  clear acetate, Mylar, glassine, some commercially available interleaving tissues, or the backs of other Ilfochrome prints are much too hard, and will scratch the surface of the prints.

Ideal storage conditions are 20 to 30 percent relative humidity and cool (less than 68F / 20C).

You may freely distribute these instructions only in their entirety and without modification. Copyright 1980, and 2011 by Michael Wilder

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