Silk, satin or any other fine material can be used to make photographic prints, but the most attractive results for the amateur are obtained on silk, the best color for this purpose being either cream or white, says Photography. The chemicals required are only four in number, and a comparatively small amount of each will suffice, so that the process can be tried without any very great outlay.
A dram of dextrine is mixed with 2 oz. of water and allowed to dissolve. It is then made up to 4 oz. with boiling water, and, when cold, a solution of 1 dr. of ammonium chloride in 2 oz. of water is added. As this mixture does not keep well, it should be used as soon as possible after being made up.
The silk is soaked in the liquid until it is thoroughly saturated, which should take about four or five minutes, and it is then hung up to dry, suspending it, tightly stretched, from its two top corners. The fabric when "salted," as this operation is termed, will keep indefinitely. All these operations can be done in daylight.
The next stage is the application of the sensitizer, for which purpose the two following solutions must be made up and then mixed:
Silver nitrate 120 gr. Water 1 oz.
Citric acid 50 gr.
The mixture is spread evenly over the silk with a soft camel's-hair brush. There must be no metal in the mounting of the brush that is used.
Particular care must be taken to see that no particle of the surface of the silk is left uncovered. The best way to insure this is to brush the liquid over the silk, first in one direction and then crosswise. The process of sensitizing must be done in a weak artificial light, such as at night by ordinary gas or lamp light, or in the very feeblest daylight.
The silk is then again fastened up and allowed to dry, but it is now sensitive to the light and the drying must therefore be done in the dark. It is ready for printing as soon as it is dry, and as it does not keep well in the sensitive condition, it should be used up within a few days at the most.
The printing, which is done in daylight, is carried on in the same way as for printing-out papers, except that the silk should be printed a little darker than usual. It will be found convenient to gum the edges slightly, and then to fix the silk on a stiff piece of paper before putting it into the printing frame. If this precaution is not adopted there is a tendency for the silk to slip or crease when it is being examined. The silk must be handled carefully while in the printing frame for this reason, but apart from that, there is no particular difficulty. The paper can be taken off when the printing is finished.
Prints on silk are toned, fixed and washed in the same way as ordinary silver prints. The washing should be thorough, and before the prints are quite dry, they should be ironed to remove all creases.