Smooth or Uncurl Rolled Poster Prints, but how?

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Gerollte Poster glätten oder entrollen, aber wie?

You bought your favorite motif at a convention or in a comic shop or online and what now?

I have dealt with the question and of course also researched how others approach the topic. In this article I would like to suggest 3 solutions: one I tested myself, one is from a colleague and one is very experimental;)

How long does it take to "unroll" a poster?
When you work with paper you are dealing with physical laws, there is a little rule of thumb that you can use to help yourself: The smaller the format and the heavier the paper, the longer it will take for the poster to be smooth again. The larger and thinner, the shorter this duration - at least in theory. In practice there are unfortunately two exceptions; namely the factor diameter and the duration.

Theoretically, the size makes up for it, but it still takes longer due to the narrow radius. In the following video, I would like to briefly demonstrate how much the radius actually makes up here. There you will see 3 of the same posters that were rolled from about 7:00 p.m. until the next day at 12:00 a.m. A typical convention scenario;)

Grammage 190g and the format is Din A3.

The first is rolled up to about 4cm, the other two about 7.5 - 8cm. As you can see, it takes a long time to unroll the first poster, while the second and third are almost 2/3 flat. The video is played 4 times faster.

Solution Nr. #1

OK, now you have your favorite motif in front of you and you don't dare to open it, what is the best practice for smoothing a poster?

Well, there is no "gold standard", I think all methods that can be found on the subject on the net work. With my "sandwich method" I only describe what I have learned from my many years of experience in dealing with paper and since I am very pragmatic, I try to do this with the means that are actually available in every household.

This material will be needed:
  1. A clean surface, that can be a smooth floor or table
  2. 1x cardboard or similar (large calendar or shipping boxes) it must be larger than the poster 
  3. Heavy objects e.g. Books or weights, dumbbells, a crate of beer, etc.

In practice it can look like this:

The larger box is needed so that the edges of the books do not leave any marks on the posters.

Find the heaviest books on your shelf! The duration of the smoothing depends on the format of the poster and the grammage.

After 2 hours

How long does it take?

So, in my test I rolled 3 posters for about 17 hours.

With the sandwich method it took 2 hours to get them smooth again.

Depending on the thickness and size of the paper or the radius and the duration, it can sometimes take a few days. So don't despair. Patience is required here.
Solution Nr. #2

Since I like to see what my colleagues do, here is an entertaining video by Ryan McArthur from Design Different (I love his blog and his designs) with two interesting methods of unrolling posters - "How to uncurl a poster".

The first "option" in the video is a good alternative, especially if you don't have a large box or heavy objects on hand, but e.g. ordered a poster from Ars Fantasio and got the nice cardboard tube;) And, yes, it has to do with the article header, but I didn't want to steal the idea and couldn't have described it better, hence; Honor to whom honor is due!

Solution Nr. #3

In extreme cases, such as very long storage, extreme measures may be necessary. Then you can (at your own risk!) E.g. tackle the problem with an iron - without steam(!). If wrapped in foil; be sure to remove the film beforehand and the poster must not have gotten damp!

The poster should be covered by a smooth fabric that is best stretched tight, e.g. with drawing board pens on a wooden board or clamps. But be careful when ironing; a fold and the poster is over. Please only try it if nothing else helps! I hope the tips helped you a little. Do you have any questions or other tips? Then feel free to use it in a comment!

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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook


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