What is the best way to remove wrinkles from onion skin paper without damaging the paper?
Q. Dear Donia,
A. Dear Gladys,
The term onion skin paper covers a lot of different translucent papers used for tracing and carrying carbon papers for typewriters. The production varies so fibers and fillers will be different for each paper which means the way the paper will react will be different so it is difficult to describe the best way to remove wrinkles without actually seeing the paper. I would avoid heat as well as excessive moisture. You can try a gentle humidification and flattening process—work very slowly and be vigilant as onion skin papers can react very strangely when humidified.
- A large, long, shallow bin with a tight fitting lid (for example, an under-the-bed storage bin)
- Nylon window screening (easily found at your local hardware store)
- Spun polyester—Hollytex is very smooth and will not imprint on the emulsion. Hollytex can be purchased by the yard from Talas—product number 3249 would be the best choice.
Begin the humidification process early in the day. It may take several hours, and objects should never be left in the chamber overnight.
- Line the bottom of the bin with a damp towel (use cold water). Any excess water should be removed from the towel by wringing it out.
- Place 4-5 layers of nylon window screening on top of the damp towel.
- Place a piece of spun polyester on top of the screening.
- Place the rolled or folded items on top of the polyester.
- Fasten the lid.
- Wait. Check the items after about an hour. If they are not completely relaxed, replace lid, wait another hour, and check again. Repeat until the items have relaxed.
- Sheets of clean blotting paper—10 point blotter paper can be purchased by the sheet from Talas
- Spun polyester
- Stiff, smooth material like Plexiglas or Masonite the same size or larger than the blotters
- Weights such as bricks
- Plexi/Masonite board
- Level, smooth table top