Flattening Prints on Japanese Paper

Let the freshly printed images dry on a drying rack or on a clean table. Wait until the ink is dry. Relief printed images on Japanese paper dry more quickly than intaglio prints.
After the ink has dried, I either re-dampen the printed image by placing the cockled print on dampened paper or brushing the back of the print with spring water using a Japanese water brush.

Flattening on dampened paper:

I dampen blotting paper or clean newsprint with a water mister of spring water or Japanese brush with spring water. The paper should be damp but not shiny and wet. I place the prints onto the dampened paper, allow them to soften and flatten, and then layer them between tissue paper and thick boards.

Check that the prints are flat and not creased, best to check each layer. Then I let them flatten for 30 minutes and then place in a book press with light pressure. Once they are flat I take out the damp paper, layer between new dry boards and place back in the book press for a day or two, depending upon the thickness of the paper, and the weather. If it’s wet and humid the prints take longer to dry, if it’s sunny and your studio is warm then the prints take less time to dry.

Cockled prints, relief print from a photopolymer plate onto gampi paper.
Dampen newsprint or blotting paper with a Japanese water brush or spray mister and spring water and stack damp papers on top of each other until they are evenly damp and flat.


Layer the damp paper onto thick cardboard or strawboard, acid free if possible.
Your layer is the cardboard, damp paper, prints, tissue paper, acid free if possible, the start the next layer.


Your pile of boards, damp paper, prints, tissue layered.
Once the prints have flattened you can take them out of the dampened paper, place them again between the boards, and let dry for a couple of days.


The nipping/book press used to add very light pressure to the layered prints, papers and boards.


If you would like further information on this process you can email me on

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Tip 1: Flattening Prints on Japanese Paper
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