Friday, January 11, 2019

Printer ink fading experiment

On the wall beside my computer, I have a little calendar I printed out on my Epsom inkjet. It sits there all year in direct, but not harsh, sunlight.

Last year, I decided to try and experiment. Along the bottom, I printed a red bar. Then once it was on the wall, put a blob of Blu-tack on one end to shade the ink from the light.

As 2019 arrived and I print a new calendar, I remove the old one and it's protective blob.

Until I did this, I didn't think the ink had faded, but you can clearly see it has, and quite a bit. Interesting.


Unknown said...

Red is prone to fade in sunlight on most things, also PVA glue fades inkjet printer ink.

Phil Parker said...

Sorry - I should have said that that's why I picked red for the test. It does tend to show fading more than other colours.

Mark said...

Mind you blutak also does funny things to the paper it's attached to (usually leaving an oily mark) which could make the red look darker and less faded than it actually is. My guess is that the ink has faded but not by as much as the photo would initially suggest.

Spitfire2865 said...

Could part of the darker colour come from oils leeching from the bluetack to the paper? Perhaps something less tacky like a taped piece of paper wouldve made for a better test.

Christopher said...

This kind of thing is recommended for watercolour painters who might be concerned that their masterpieces could fade over time... The advice is to make a number of swatches of paint colours, cover over half of each swatch (to prevent light exposure), and then place the swatches under glass in a frame and expose them to maximum daylight in a south-facing window for up to a year. This should reveal any paints and pigments which are not fit for use: there should be no perceptible change of colour or intensity. (Reds, yellows and greens are normally the ones to look out for.)

It may be worth trying something similar for scenic materials? I have generally found Woodland Scenics to be lightfast, but I have come across instances where other products have significantly changed colour (PVA glue?) or have turned to powder. Faded or decomposing scenery doesn't look quite right!

David Youngs said...

Can you reprint the bar to compare a fresh print to the year-old covered one?

Phil Parker said...

The paper was glossy, so I'd expect less Blu-tack leeching, but I admit I hadn't thought of that. The white around the red bar didn't seem affected though and I used a big blob.

No chance of repeating the experiment as the printer dies during the year I'm afraid. I now have an HP Envy which seems to print never-drying in on glossy photo paper.

As for scenic materials, most are pretty good now but years ago our first layout was sceniced with cheap Jarvis material and went from green to ochre in a matter of months!