Woot! I just got my first sale in my art shop LiPeony and it's the lovely little piece up there in a 5" x 7". As a bonus I also added a free choice of another 5"x7" print or my origami in Meekiyua. I think is a lovely freebie. I looked up on making good art prints and I really wanted to do it at home. One of the best professional printing online would be iprintfromhome and their prices are very good along with the quality and I went all over NYC and online to try to find more bang for my buck. That place is good not only for the price and quality but that it's more convenient since they just send you the images by mail and their customer service is very nice. Most of the archival printing places are very out of the way even with the fantastic NYC subway.
I wanted at home printing and I found a great etsy post about it HERE. Most if not all the recommended printers that have archival inks which are special inks that last for like 200 years or something and you also need really good paper. I brought some photo paper nothing really special just some Epson Matte and printed it on my old trusty Canon bubble jet. You know what it came out very very nice. I was actually surprised. The colors are as soft as I imagined them to be and also the image was true to what I did. I didn't want to give anyone some faulty print that would just fade away.
SO... I did some sleuthing and jumped upon this SITE (erfs I will have to find it tomorrow). It listed all the research done by an independent company on fading and lifetime of inks and papers. The old Canon printer I had was estimated to not fade after at least 25 years and would last long if the picture is taken care of. Epson was first with 30 years, Hp was 20-25 years and Lexmark was a sad last. As for paper the photo paper I brought is guaranteed to hold onto the ink for 70+ years. The problem with the super duper archival inks that's proven not to fade after 86-200 years is that well no one is really going to be around to fade and complain about it.
I taped two prints to my bookcase that always gets the morning and afternoon full blown sunshine on it and is always in the light. It's been about a month and it looks the same. I'll be sticking to my trusty printer and it's 25 years. If it starts to fade before 25 years I will the first one to tell you.
Another important part is the paper. There really isn't any "archival" ink jet paper easily accessible like at staples though I heard of a Kodak paper that's suppose to be akin to a everlasting gobstopper. It just keep trucking. One thing I've learned is that if you want good lasting paper it usually has the tags "archival" "museum grade" and "acid-free." There's also about weight of paper. Yeps... paper weight is how much 500 sheets would weigh. The higher the weight the thicker it is. To give a perspective most computer/copy office paper is 20lbs and its fairly thin. I really don't like flimsy paper for a print so I went heavy duty and got new paper that was 47lbs. It's as thick as card stock and I loved how the prints came out. Colors true. Paper sturdy. Image perfect!
The more professional art prints require special paper and inks, methods, time and research and one day I'll be able to get those really awesome printers with like 10 different archival inks and special textured archival paper. For now this poor college student is happy with her old Canon bubble ink jet and 47lb paper that supposedly doesn't fade for at least 25 years.
Until next time... I am Art and Art is me. =D