by ʇolɐǝz ǝɥʇ qoq

Submit your Photo
Hall of Fame

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I today found a photograph in my loft, approx. 12" by 20" in size, which was stored in a tube, but unfortunately rolled very tightly to a diameter of less than one inch. It appears to have been stored like this for the best part of fourteen years.

It was quite difficult to unroll it without creasing it anywhere, due to it's tendency to stay in this closely rolled shape. I would like to frame it, but there's no way to do that the way it behaves right now.

What can I do to re-flatten it properly? Time is not an issue to me, I don't mind if it takes a long time, but it would be really nice to get rid of that spring effect it currently has.

share|improve this question
What material is the photograph on? – dpollitt May 20 '12 at 15:37
@dpollitt The back has a printing saying "Kodak Professional Endura Paper". It's not a glossy photo but has a matt finish (I hope that's the right term for it, I'm not a native speaker). – takrl May 20 '12 at 16:27
Scan it then print it out in a convenient size on flat paper? That might allow you to fix white and black levels, contrast, blemishes, etc, in the process. – Olin Lathrop May 20 '12 at 22:52
@Olin Thanks, but that's not an option in my case. The photograph contains signatures by quite a few people, so this is not just about the image, I really need the original ... – takrl May 21 '12 at 8:19
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try this. Get a sheet of flat wrapping paper bigger than the photo, a broom handle or dowel, and some sticky tape. Partially unroll the photo and place the unrolled part, photo side up (assuming it was rolled up with the photo on the outside), at one corner of the paper, at a 45º angle (so the corner of the wrapping paper and the edge of the photo form a triangle).

Place the dowel along the edge of the photo, then carefully roll it back on itself, along with the wrapping paper, around the dowel - you are essentially using the dowel to help you roll the photo back on itself. Make sure you are not damaging the photo paper as you roll. You may need to help the rolled part of the photo unroll.

Keep rolling until the entire photo is rolled back and the wrapping paper is completely wrapped around it, then tape the wrap in place.

The wrapping paper will keep the whole width of the photo in place; if you used, say, an elastic band, the corners would be constantly trying to roll back. Leave the wrapped photo for a couple of weeks to give it plenty of time to 'settle'. It will probably not make the photo completely flat, but it should be flat enough to frame.

share|improve this answer
+1 Thanks, this sounds like a self-built version of the De-Roller that @Itai suggested. Is there any particular reason for the 45° angle in your description? If the right thing to do is just storing it rolled up the other way around for a month or so, I can't see why the 45° angle would be of significance ... – takrl May 21 '12 at 8:51
The angle just makes it a little easier to handle the wrapping paper. Rather than having to make sure it's rolling up correctly along the whole length, you just have to get it started at the corner and it takes care of itself. – ElendilTheTall May 21 '12 at 9:20
Ok, that clarifies it, thanks. I'll give it a try ... – takrl May 21 '12 at 9:26

Try a Beifand De-Roller. See the convincing demo here.

Consider how long a paper-roll stays rolled and seeing how this one works so easily, it should work for pretty much any rolled print. You may find other option by searching for De-Roller or De-Curler.

share|improve this answer
+1 Thanks, I've never seen this apparatus before. But since it's a one-off thing for me (I hope), I'm probably going to go for the manual approach ... – takrl May 21 '12 at 8:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.