How to Work with Giclée Prints

Handling Giclée Canvas Prints

A Giclée print on canvas is produced by spraying ink onto usually a coated canvas surface. This coating is susceptible to mechancial damage and moisture. To avoid scratching your print, Giclée prints should never be wiped with a cloth or sprayed with any kind of cleaner. You should never touch the surface of a Giclée print with your fingers or anything else.


All properly stretched canvas prints should be on keyed stretcher frames. Over time canvas absorbs moisture resulting in sag and wrinkles, which may cause damage to the print surface. Keys, the hard wood wedges in the back corners of the frame, can be tapped to retighten the canvas, preserving the look of the image and protecting your investment in the art piece.

Protecting Your Giclée Canvas Print

Canvas prints, because they typically are not put under glass, should be protected with a suitable coating that provides protection from moisture and mechanical damage. Only sprayed on coatings should be used on Giclée canvas prints. Brushed on coatings could result in damage to the print surface. Since different Giclée printmakers use different type of inks, please ask your printmaker to coat the print for you or to recommend a make and type of laquer, varnish or latex coating to use with their prints. The back side of a Giclée canvas print should never be sprayed with any kind of coating.
It would be best to hang up or lay out your prints and spray coat them first, before stretching. This will ensure maximum protection of the print layer during the stretching process.

Frame Choice

Your choice of stretcher depends on the weight of the canvas being stretched. Lightweight canvas may be stretched on lighter frames with widely spaced cross bracing. Heavier canvas should be stretched on heavier frames with more frequent crossbracing. Your Giclée printmaker can advise you on this choice.

Stretching Giclée Canvas Prints

Giclée prints because of their quality deserve good bare bones support as much as any painting on canvas does. Because Giclée canvas prints are produced with ink deposited on a coated surface, great care should be taken not to overstretch a Giclée canvas. The canvas should be tensioned to the point where wrinkles are removed from the canvas surface. Over-stretching a Giclée canvas could cause the print to crack around the edges of the print.

Cleaning a Giclée Canvas

Ideally, the surface of a Giclée canvas print should never be touched, even when coated. Dust should be blown off the surface. If necessary, a light feather duster should be used to remove dust build up and only if the canvas has been properly coated. Fluids should never be used to clean a Giclée canvas print. If you have a heavily soiled print, it should be taken to a professional for cleaning.

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