How to Press Comics, Funny Shirts, TMNT Toys - KaptainMyke

This is a free DIY FAQ instructional beginner's guide to teach how to press comics yourself at home. Please read "Comic Book CPR" for advanced cleaning and pressing methods. The book includes inspection forms, charts, and photos of real world examples for assistance. Use code "KMPRESS" at checkout and get 25% off cover price!

 

COMIC BOOKS
 Clean Comics
 Press Comics 
 Facebook
 Ship Comics 
 Window Prep 

 

Research
 Good Morty

 

NINJA TURTLES
 Figure Checklist
 Most Valuable

 

FOR SALE
 eBay Listings




T-Shirts
 Cafepress
 RedBubble
 Zazzle


HOW TO CLEAN and PRESS COMIC BOOKS





CGC Authorized Dealer

 

WELCOME
Learn how to clean and press comic books yourself using this free online guide. Save time and money by pressing your own comic books with a heat press machine. Most supplies can be purchased directly on Amazon or eBay to save time, money, and shipping costs. I started a personal journey trying to learn the tips and tricks of pressing comic books. I wanted to learn techniques without showing any evidence of pressing or damaging a book. There have been some bumps along the way through some trial and error. This is still a guide for beginners and the basis to get started. It is very humbling but you will damage some books along the way. Start small with some cheap dollar bin comic books or reader copies. I have provided links for easy re-ordering, and for clarification on materials required in this free visual FAQ guide.




WHAT IS COMIC BOOK PRESSING?
Comic book pressing is the process of flattening out a comic book that has been wrinkled or damaged. Comics can get bent during shipping or have creaselines from heavy reading. Good news: Comic Books can be pressed using a t-shirt heatpress machine, a book press, a stack of short boxes, or anything heavy and flat. The idea is simple: to smooth out the waves and bumps on the cover of a comic book. This makes the overall grade and eye appeal of the book increase considerably. Comic book pressing is not restoration, more like comic book conservation. The difference can sometimes mean thousands of dollars when discussing high dollar key comic books. Do NOT press a comic book with an iron.














All of these books were pressed using methods outlined in this guide and on my youtube channel. You too, can achieve similar results.

 




HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO LEARN?
Every person is different. Do you have the ability to troubleshoot? Life experiences, patience thresholds, busy schedules, attention to detail, and climate can depend on the speed of your learning process. For the average person, it will take a minimum of 2 years to fully grasp all aspects of comic book cleaning and pressing. There are varying degrees of learning the different eras, thickness of books, spine bindings, and paper quality. Experience, time, and patience all play an important factor in this experience. As with anything else in life, it all will depend on how much time you put into learning this procedure. Over time, you will continue to learn new tricks, and develop your own favorite methods and shortcuts as well.










REGIONAL CLIMATE FACTORS
Results may vary, depending on region and climate. I live in a Northwest state of the United States, so it is very humid here with lots of rain and moisture from the evergreen trees. It is also a coastal port city as well, so that adds to the climate, temperature, and elevation. If you live in the desert, you might want to increase the humidity time and use less heat at a lower temperature, for example. This is why you will see different varying opinions on the Internet for pressing books. Climate, regional, and other environmental factors weigh in on the success of pressing books where you reside. In the same vein, do not press books in your attic or garage. Dust, dirt, and humidity can also harm your books and create pebbling or divots.

 



SHOPPING CHECKLIST
For this guide, you will need basic comic book pressing equipment that can be purchased online. This includes the press machine and supplies for cleaning your comics. I have broken it down into 4 main categories. First, what type of pressing machine should you purchase?

 

 

CHOOSE THE PRESS MACHINE RIGHT FOR YOU
Everything depends on your budget and what you feel comfortable with using. I will give you full disclosure here in this section for all avenues and pricepoints so you can make your own informed decision. I prefer option 1, the 15" × 15" Clamshell press, for the digital control unit and built in alarm. Because it’s 15" × 15", it has a larger surface area for a better press.

All 3 options are available for a very affordable price on ebay:

Option 1, 15" × 15" Clamshell press, $150-$200. https://ebay.to/2Mn81QK
Option 2, 12" × 10" Swivel mount press, $150-$200. https://ebay.to/2C8zajU
Option 3, 18" x 22" Seal dry mount press, $300-$900. https://ebay.to/2OO6Yd4

or,

Option 4, is to send your books out for pressing to a professional. This can cost $25-$50 in shipping costs and an additional $15-$30 per book to have pressed professionally.

Your budget depends on the unit you choose. Keep in mind you will be saving thousands of dollars in shipping and presser fees otherwise sent out to a professional or inhouse presser at a grading company such as CGC or CBCS.

Most professional comic book pressers recommend the Seal brand press above all. The Tivor swivel unit handle breaks off, and also requires regular adjusting of the bolts because they come loose over constant use. The Seal brand press machines range in size. They can be either 15" x 18" for the Jumbo 160 or the Jumbo 210 unit is 15" x 22" in size. Both are super heavy, so shipping cost is expensive. Buy local! This guide is written primarily using methods on a 15" x 15" Clamshell unit, but you can adjust your method accordingly depending on which unit you prefer.





 

REQUIRED PRESSING EQUIPMENT

In order to press comic books, you will need the basics to get started. Practice on dollar bin books or cheap books. Practice on lots of books. You will need a clean sterile working environment, a press machine, srp paper, and backer boards.

  1. Patience and time. Countless hours you will put into learning this technique.
  2. Gloves. Box of 100 pairs of powder free latex gloves. Bookmark that reorder button page, too!
  3. SRP Paper. Silicone Release Paper (SRP) ULINE has boxes of 1000 sheets cut to size for $85 shipped SAME DAY. (recommended)
  4. Tissue or dust cloth. Lotion free Kleenex tissues, a dust cloth, or a can of compressed air to blow away dust shavings while cleaning and prepping
  5. Sterile Workspace. Plastic Sheeting drop cloths. 4' ft x 5' ft work space area at minimum for your press and supplies in a climate controlled room. Do not press comics in your attic or garage. Purchase some drop cloth plastic sheeting to keep dust and contaminents away from your work area.
  6. Backer boards. Magazine Sized backer boards for use between your SRP paper and the book being pressed. (Required, Important). You will use lots of these. Buy in bulk to save money!
  7. Bags. Magazine Sized bags for use with magazine backer boards. Assemble a few pairs and have ready for transferring and flipping comic books over.
  8. Inkjet paper. HP premium inkjet 8.5" x 11" copy paper. (Thick premium inkjet paper). Do not get laserjet paper - it will stick to covers and pages, pulling inks.


 

Click on each button to order online:



 

 

 

 

 



MATERIALS NEEDED FOR CLEANING COMIC BOOKS

Most materials can be purchased on Amazon or Ebay. Buy your SRP paper and backer boards in bulk to save money where needed. Absorene Putty lasts a long time as long as you keep the tub sealed airtight when not in use.

  1. Gloves. Box of 100 pairs of powder free latex gloves. Bookmark that reorder button page, too!
  2. Dental Tools. Dental tools, specifically a dental pick and scraper.
  3. Absorene Putty. Absorene Book Cleaner putty 15 oz tub should be reordered over time and throw away each piece after each use. Cannot be reused to be effective. Do not use on Modern Age glossy covers.
  4. Absorene Eraser Pad. Absorene Dirt Eraser Pad should be reordered over time and thrown away after it has become too dirty to be effective. Cannot be cleaned.
  5. Gum Eraser . Gum kneaded eraser.
  6. Magic Erasers. Mr Clean Magic Erasers, no scent or fragrance-free. Cut your own 1″ cubes to size. Throw away after 1 use. Cannot be reused.
  7. Backer Boards. Lots of non glossy cardboard comic book backer boards of various sizes and thickness.
  8. Dust Cloth. Lotion free Kleenex tissues, a dust cloth, or a can of compressed air to blow away dust shavings while cleaning and prepping
  9. Sterile Workspace. Plastic Sheeting drop cloths. 4' ft x 5' ft work space area at minimum for your press and supplies in a climate controlled room. Do not press comics in your attic or garage. Purchase some drop cloth plastic sheeting to keep dust and contaminents away from your work area.
  10. SRP Paper. Silicone Release Paper (SRP) ULINE has boxes of 1000 sheets cut to size for $85 shipped SAME DAY. (recommended)
  11. Magazine Backer Boards. Magazine Sized backer boards for use between your SRP paper and the book being pressed. (Required, Important). You will use lots of these. Buy in bulk to save money!
  12. Pencils. Number 2 (No. 2) pencils, unsharpened.
  13. Eraser Caps . White polymer pencil eraser caps. (Do not get the pink ones.)
  14. Small Screwdriver . Flathead screwdriver (staples, positioning, pushing down flat)
  15. Plastic Knife. Putty or paint knife (staples, positioning, pushing down flat)
  16. Cotton Rounds. Cotton Rounds from the beauty department of any local store like Target or Walmart. Use these first to remove loose dirt and grime from any comic book.
  17. Swiffer Dry Mop Refill Sheets. Swiffer Sheets from the cleaning department of any local store like Target or Walmart. Use these above all to remove loose dirt and grime from any comic book. This is an amazing product right here, folks.
  18. Bags. Magazine Sized bags for use with magazine backer boards. Assemble a few pairs and have ready for transferring and flipping comic books over.
  19. Bone Folder. Bone Folder tool for pushing down staples on squarebounds, working out spine blunts and making new centerfold folds.

 

 

Click on each button to order online:

 












MAKE YOUR OWN HUMIDITY CHAMBER TANK

Most materials can be purchased in the kitchen department of your local Walmart or Target. All you need is an airtight storage bin with a tray containing your comic book placed on top of some plastic spacers hovering over a 1" water line of distilled water. The humidification begins to take place over a period of 1 hour to 24 hours, depending on severity of creasing and wrinkles on book. This is explained in great detail with photos further down the guide.

  1. 40 QT Storage Bin. Plastic Flat Storage Bins with Lids, any one will do as long as there is a lid that can be closed tight. You can use a larger tub as well.
  2. Cooking Grille. Weber Grilling Pan any stainless steel grilling grate or pan.
  3. Plastic Spacers . 4" PVC couplings or anything plastic and 4" high can keep comics away from water line.
  4. Screen Material. You can use t-shirts, terrycloth, nylon window screen, anything to keep water condensation beads away from your books inside chamber.
  5. Distilled Water. 1 gallon of distilled water. Use only distilled water inside your humidity chamber to prevent water spots, condensation spots, or any other minerals in the water.
  6. Heavy Object. Use anything heavy, such as the gallon of distilled water, to place on top of the lid when humidity tank chamber is closed and sealed for duration of humidification process.

 

 

 

 

Click on each button to order online:




 

 







RECOMMENDED PRESSING EQUIPMENT (ADVANCED)

In addition to the required pressing equipment, this is the next step as you progress. This section is recommended for when you've mastered the basics of cleaning and pressing. For optimal results use steel plates and 65 lb cardstock on most of your books being pressed. There are always exceptions to the rule but that is the magic formula that works best for me personally.

  1. UV Black Light. UV Black Light inspection flashlight for detecting pinholes and tears with sheet of copy paper under cover. UV lights are not reliable for detecting all restoration.
  2. Distilled Water. For use in your humidity chamber. Distilled water only.
  3. Phone or tablet. Take photos of your process.
  4. Tack Iron. Hangar 9 Sealing Tack Iron for dimples, divots, and stubborn spine dents.
  5. Steel Ball Bearing. 1.5" Steel Ball bearings for rolling across covers in conjunction with using a tack iron.
  6. Steel Plates. 2 (two) 9" x 12" steel plates 1/8" thick or try 12" x 12" steel plates 3/16" thick once you have mastered the basics. They are a major component to this working even more successfully like an industrial dry mount book press. These plates tend to sell out quick due to this guide, so try to get a set if you can from a local metal fabricator if you cannot find them on amazon or elsewhere. (Optional, Advanced)
  7. Plastic putty or paint knife. For staples, positioning, pushing down flat.
  8. 100lb Cardstock Paper. 100lb bright white cardstock paper for digital code inserts. (50 sheets) Use steel plates and cardstock paper for maximum professional pressing results.
  9. 65lb Cardstock Paper. 65lb bright white cardstock paper for use under covers for pushing out stubborn spine dents and bunched corners. (75 sheets) Use steel plates and cardstock paper for maximum professional pressing results.
  10. Digital Calipers. Digital calipers for measuring thickness of books. Control the required gap for your press machine.
  11. Digital IR Thermometer. IR Thermometer for temperature validation on metal platen of your press machine. This is a must have so you can verify your temperatures are accurate when pressing comic books. This will prevent flaring and burned books.
  12. Marble Ball . Marble Massage Balls from the health and fitness department of Amazon. This is an optional alternative used in conjunction with a Tack Iron (opposed to using a 1.5" ball bearing) for smoothing out divots and pebbling.
  13. Bone Folder. Bone Folder tool for pushing down staples on squarebounds, working out spine blunts and making new centerfold folds.
  14. Comic Book CPR. Read my book for advanced cleaning and pressing methods. Includes inspection forms, charts, and photos of real world examples to help you get started.

 

 

Click on each button to order online:

 




 

 







DRY CLEAN FIRST, HUMIDIFICATION SECOND, PRESS LAST
It is important to remember that any dirt on the surface of the paper may become muddy during humidification and will set further into the paper fibers. This will make the paper difficult if not impossible to clean in the future. The surface of the paper should at least be swept with a soft, natural fiber brush before humidification. If the papers are heavily soiled, consult a paper conservator about surface cleaning before proceeding.




PRACTICE ON PRESSING 7 TYPES OF BOOKS
You will need to practice first on 7 basic types of comic books to learn the process slowly. Practice on your own books first. Practice treating each book as if it were priceless.

  1. Golden Age Books are brittle, require steam or humidity, and require extra care when handling.
  2. Silver Age Books can also be quite brittle, and have edgewear like crazy. Watch for rusty staples.
  3. Bronze Age Books have a different type of paper, semigloss and with inserts.
  4. Modern Age Books with Glossy Magazine Paper books can have pages stick together if too hot! Under 150F and under 5-7 minutes at a time. (5 minutes on each side) The pages will stick together otherwise and you will create a razor blade comic book. It is not necessary to place one sheet of Silicone Release Paper (SRP) between each page of the entire book before pressing to avoid pages sticking together so long as you do not go any higher than 150 degrees.
  5. Foil books (Convention exclusives) are more intimidating if anything. Watch your fingerprints! Always wear gloves. Same rules apply as if it were a glossy modern with glossy pages. Too hot and too long will ruin the book! Keep a backer board at the centerfold for foil books.
  6. Digital Code Inserts Marvel and DC both now have online digital code inserts found at the last 4-6 pages. You will need to use cardstock paper to prevent the 1″ or 2" square digital code from imprinting on last 4-5 pages and back cover.
  7. Gimmick Books are books that have die cut, embossed, glow-in-the-dark, hologram, or lenticular covers. Embossed covers will need to be cushioned with cardstock paper. Gimmick books can be safely pressed using less pressure under low heat (150-155 degrees) for 5-7 minutes and left overnight in a cold press machine. Heating up glow-in-the-dark comic book covers actually re-activate the glow powder crystals in the paint, which effectively make the glow effect appear brighter with bolder colors. Cardstock covers are tough and resiliant so they should be pressed with cardstock paper or backer board underneath cover.




RECOMMENDED TEMPERATURE DURATIONS
Determine what age the book is. Then determine what type of cover and paperstock the interior pages are made from. I would not press a book under high heat for longer than 30 minutes per session. Too much heat can cause flaring and damage a book as well. If your press machine does not have a built in digital timer, you should get one or set your phone timer.



 



Age
Year
Cover
Interior
Fahrenheit
Minutes
           
Modern
2019
Glossy
Stan Lee Tribute
140
5
           
Various
1986-2019
Glossy
Prestige / Glued
125
30
           
Modern
2017-Present
Glossy
Gloss Coated
145
10
           
Modern
2010-2016
Glossy
Glossy
150
10
           
Modern
2000-2010
Glossy
Glossy
155
10
           
Modern
2000-2010
Glossy
Flat
150
10
           
Modern
1996-2000
Semi-gloss
Flat
155
10
           
Modern
2015-Present
Foil
Glossy
155
15
           
Dark
1991-1996
Glossy
Flat
160
10
           
Copper
1984-1991
Glossy
Flat
160
15
           
Bronze
1970-1984
Glossy
Flat
160
10
           
Comic Foreign
1970-1984
Ricepaper
Ricepaper
150
15
           
Magazine Foreign
1970-1984
Newspaper
Newspaper
155
15
           
Silver
1956-1970
Flat
Flat
160
15
           

If you are using metal steel plates in your press, you will not flip the book.


After the heat press stage is complete, you will shut off the press. Leave the book in the press with the temperature shut off and cool down for several hours. 12 hours is minimum time before removing from press. Probably ideal to leave the book in the press for 24 hours or more.





REVERSION AFTER PRESSING
While rare, reversion can happen. Check back and verify your book retained a good press after several weeks. I recommend this step especially if you are pressing a book for a client, friend, or a grading company! It is entirely possible to come back several months later only to find your hard work performed on the book reverted back to it’s previous state. If this happens, you are definitely going to have to press the book for a week or longer to keep it’s shape and press. Some books can be stubborn. Don't doubt your pressing abilities, just accept the fact some books will need to be pressed several times to behave.






PEBBLING
Be sure to use magazine backer boards as a buffer between your book and the press machine. Silicone Release Paper (SRP) on your books and documents inside press. “Pebbling” can cause divots on the surface of a book if the press plate or pressure pad isn’t clean.



Make sure the silicone mat and pressure plate are clean and free of debris. Make sure the pressure plate and silicone release paper being used against the book is clean and free of dirt. “Pebbling” can cause divots on the surface of a book if not the press plate or pressure pad isn’t clean. This is caused by anything from a speck of dust, dirt, or cleaning shavings from using Absorene or Magic Eraser.





HOW TO PRESS COMIC BOOKS
65 lb. cardstock paper works signficantly better than copy paper when used as a buffer. 1 sheet of cardstock paper does the job of 3-4 sheets of copy paper. You will get maximum results from spine damaged books using cardstock and steel plates in your press machine. Cardstock paper is not recommended for damp or wet books. There is a risk of ripping the cover or causing spine splits. Here are the 65 lb cardstock sandwich recipes with steel plates for making your press-stack:

























1. To prep, once you have ordered your 2 steel plates you will need to use gloves and sandpaper to completely smooth over the surfaces of the plates to remove burrs and scratches or other imperfections in the steel. I used 120 grit and 180 grit sandpaper with a block of wood. If there are deep scratches or burrs close your eyes and glide your fingertips across the surface. If you can feel the indents and scratches, you will need to use the other side of plate, or replace it entirely.

Leave the press machine OFF and COLD during this procedure. Look at the thickness of 2 steel plates on top of one another. Now use the adjustment knob of your press machine and counter clockwise turn that knob until there is a gap when the press is closed. Make sure this gap is bigger than the thickness of your comic book, and the 2 steel plates. This is crucial.






2. Set 1 steel plate measuring at least 9" x 12" or larger on your clean silicone mat of press. I still use the mat as a tiny bit of cusion when clamping press down. Keep your plate sideways so the book spine is in the inside of press where the most pressure is at clamp of press.





3. 65 lb cardstock paper, or the above pictured Super Bright 165 whiteness Inkjet copy paper is used as a buffer for digital codes, tattooz inserts, or other inserts inside a comic book. Do not use Laserjet copy paper. Laserjet copypaper can lift ink from glossy covers and glossy interior pages. Remember, cardstock paper works best for stubborn spine dents and Marvel digital code inserts. Some books will require copy paper vs cardstock paper, due to the cardstock paper being too thick. Thinner 65 lb cardstock paper or copypaper can get closer to the spine. Covers can split or come apart from the spine if you use the wrong method - so carefully study the spine and thickness when determining what to use.



 



4. Set a magazine backer board down on bottom steel plate. This acts as a buffer from dust, dirt, debris, rust, and moisture from your book. Make sure backer boards are flat side in, glossy side outwards away from book. Set a bottom sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your bottom metal steel plate.



 

 

5. You can buy large 16×24 inch sheets of SRP paper from ULINE and cut them into 4 smaller sheets.



 

Set your book sandwich on SRP paper resting on backer board and bottom steel plate.



6. Do not reuse copy paper, backer board, or SRP paper using this technique. It is scrap after 1 use.



 



7. Place a backer board at centerfold. Place the board up against the staples. Do not place the backer board under the staple prongs. The backer board is acting as the same height of the staples, so as to not imprint staples into the interior pages of the book. If you place it underneath the staple prongs, you will have indents from both staples on the opposite side of staple. Trust me. If you have spine ticks, place 2 sheets of copy paper under front cover and back cover. Depending on how deep the spine ticks are, you may need to place copy paper at page 2 and page 3 of front and back of covers. Make certain your copy paper and boards are snug up against the spine as close as possible. Set your book "sandwich" carefully placed in the middle on bottom SRP paper and bottom steel plate.



7b. If you have a digital code in your book, see recipe above for the stacking of paper and boards. If the book is thin with fewer pages, you can use a magazine backer board or sheets of copy paper on the following page of digital code insert. Thicker books require cardstock paper or copy paper. Do not reuse your cardstock or copy paper. It is now scrap paper after 1 use. FYI 65lb cardstock paper works best instead of copy paper.





Or an older Marvel comic with the larger 2" square digital code insert like this:

Avenging Spider-man #9 has a large 2" digital code insert on last page. Use 3 sheets of copy paper as a buffer for the back cover. Use 2 sheets of paper as a buffer on the page before the last page. You will press using light pressure.



Older digital code inserts in Marvel Modern Age books were on the last page, and very large, up to 2" in size. The Modern Age Marvel books now from 2017-Present are 1" square inserts found usually on the 4th or 5th to the last page of book. New DC Comics from 2018-Present feature a blue 1" digital code insert on last page. These are very thick and require 110 lb cardstock. This can easily imprint onto the back cover and surrounding pages.



Place a top sheet of SRP Paper on your book sandwich.

 



8. Set a top sheet of cut SRP (Silicone release paper) on your comic book. Set another top magazine backer board on top of top SRP Paper and comic book being pressed. This acts as a buffer from dust, dirt, debris, rust, and moisture from your book.





9. Set your top steel plate carefully and calmly on your stack of boards, comic, and srp paper that is set on heat press machine surface. Make certain the book is inside all outside edges of top and bottom stacks of backer boards. If your book is outside the outer layer of boards, you will imprint vertical lines down your covers.





10. Remember that crucial "gap" I mentioned above in step 1? Make sure your gap is as large as the thickness of both plates, backer boards, and your book being pressed.



Most steel plate book sandwiches will be around 0.35-0.40 inches thick.





11. You want the press to clamp down very lightly on the plates. Gently and meaningful but not forced or aggressive. Make sure the press machine is OFF.





12. Use the pressure adjustment screw. Turn it clockwise to increase pressure. Counter-clockwise decreases pressure. The idea is to turn the knob to increase firm pressure at first before clamping down on book. When you are ready for the initial clamp of press, turn the knob counter clockwise and back it off slowly as you clamp down press. There should be firm but slight little resistance. Do not press too hard. The adjustment screw will help you with this. Think of it as driving a stickshift vehicle and you are learning the clutch and gas pedal. Using too much pressure will damage your book. This will pop staples, cause vertical lines or seams to travel down the length of the spine, or worse. Make certain to use firm but light pressure.





13. Turn the press ON. Let the plate temperature heat up to match the book at the same time.





14. Once the press machine has reached desired temperature and time duration, you do not need to flip the book or remove anything. Since steel is a great conductor for heat, both surfaces of the book are flashed with instant heat from both sides.

The book and plates will cool back down to a very cool, cold temperature once 24 hours have passed. After 24-48 hours, you are now ready to remove the book from press machine:



Remove top magazine backer board. Use a large golden age or magazine sized back and board to slide under your book sandwich inside the press to slide it out safely. This works if you are tight on space or have another press next to it.

Slide bag/board under bottom srp paper or backer board carefully and slowly.

Slide bag/board under bottom srp paper very carefully and very slowly.

Now you can carefully lift the stack by the flap and place your fingers underneath both sides of bag/board supporting the weight and flatness of the book.

You can now safely walk the book over to another table for photographing or evaluation prior to bag and board.

You can now safely slide out the bottom supporting bag and board to carefully disassemble your press stack.

15. After 24-48 hours is up, carefully and slowly lift clamp on press. Remove top plate very slowly and carefully. Try to lift the plate straight up and not at an angle. Set your book sandwich stack down carefully and on a flat, clean, level surface. I would not reuse copy paper, backing boards, or SRP paper using this method.

16. Remove boards and SRP paper by slowly sliding each one out one at a time in the process. Latex gloves help grip the book from the spine as you slide each sheet away from book.

27. Photograph your results, or place inside a bag and board. You are done.

If you are pressing a squarebound giant sized book, the steps are the same. Only deviation from this is for prestige format books with no staples, make a stack of backer boards the same height as book before setting top metal steel plate on top of book with stack of backer boards pressed up against alongside spine.



After 3 weeks at CGC, this book has been graded a 9.6 Near Mint condition comic book.

After 3 weeks at CGC, this book has been graded a 9.8 Near Mint condition comic book.







WHAT IS A "COLD PRESS"?
A "cold press" is just that, a "cold press machine". Simply shutting off the press machine when the timer beeps (or your phone alarm) and leaving the comic book inside the press machine, left alone and un-touched for a minimum of 12 hours. The recommended time for leaving a comic book in the coldpress is at 24 hours for maximum benefit. This prevents any sort of reversion or flaring that could take place.





THE HUMIDIFICATION PROCESS (ADVANCED)
Paper records such as maps, newspapers, and documents that have been rolled or folded for long periods of time often may be safely flattened using carefully controlled humidification.

Not all books require moisture. Most modern comics should not be introduced to humidity or steam. However, some older books would benefit from humidity. Brittle pages, Golden Age books, Silver Age books, frustrating blunted corners without color breaks, blunted spines, spine rolls, and rolled up or folded in half comic books. But why would you use moisture on books? The reason for this is the fibers of the paper must be relaxed for the process of pressing to actually take hold and remain. You can do this with a simple humidifier or clothes fabric steamer. Use the steamer for a few seconds to only make the pages curl. As soon as paper movement is seen, move to a different area or stop using steam. When creating new centerfolds, fixing spine denting, and working with golden age books – you are required to use steam. This is a very delicate process and should be used with moderation.







KNOW WHEN TO USE HUMIDITY
I cannot stress this enough: not all books require moisture. Do not place a new modern age glossy cover, glossy interior pages comic book inside a humidity chamber. Chances are it will ruin the book. The modern age books produced now are very forgiving with press machines under flash heat without moisture. It is not recommended to leave a comic book inside humidity chamber over 24 hours. You will start to wash out colors. Most in the community agree that 10-12 hours with a bowl of room temperature distilled water is the average recommended time for controlled gradual humidity. The water level is what is the most crucial element to your tank working effectively.

Use humidity on books that feature:

  1. Golden Age
  2. Silver Age
  3. Subscription folds
  4. Bunched spines
  5. Deep creaselines
  6. Spine straightening
  7. Spine rolls
  8. Stubborn creasing
  9. Corner flaps
  10. Cream to Off-White Pages


Do NOT use humidity on books that feature:

  1. Brittle pages
  2. Loose pieces
  3. Spine splits greater than 1"
  4. Detached covers
  5. Detached pages
  6. Rusty staples





DISTILLED WATER
Always use distilled water. There are no minerals or dirt in distilled water. Otherwise you will get water spots and staining from the minerals if you do not use distilled water. It is recommended to empty the water chamber after several uses, or you will develop unwanted mildew. Do not use tap water. Water stains and water spots can develop on your book. Tap water also can cause off-white pages.




HUMIDITY TANK AND PAGE QUALITY
When using a humidity tank with a comic book, it is not unusual for a book to have "off-white pages" and receive "white pages" as the new page quality designation. For the same reason tap water can cause off-white pages, (by minerals absorbing into the paper fibers) clean distilled water can cause white pages. It's always a good idea to replace your water between uses and dry when empty.





USING HUMIDIFICATION
Most books will not require humidity. If a book is old, brittle, feels very dry and rigid to the touch – then you should probably use humidity. Time and patience will guide you. Always better to use not enough humidity with a slightly disappointing press with no damage to the book and do it again than to use TOO MUCH humidity and ruin the book, right?! Too much humidity and too much heat can cause edge flaring and a wavy cover. If you are using a clothes steamer, be sure to steam from a safe 1-2 foot distance so droplets of water don’t splash on the book. This can create light circle spots when dry. Also do not over steam staples or they will rust. The safest method would be to make your own hydration humidifier chamber with basic supplies at Home Depot or Walmart.





STEAM INSIDE YOUR HUMIDIFICATION CHAMBER (OPTIONAL, ADVANCED)
The recommended and average method for this technique is to use room temperature distilled water. Some applications will require a different accelerated approach. A lot of this depends on trial and error, experience, and varying conditons of books. Use a plastic mixing bowl or cereal bowl to control your water levels. If this is not effective enough, try pouring 1/4 gallon or 1/2 gallon of room temperature distilled water in the entire bottom of tank. Most of these recommended methods also depend on what type of climate or region you live in. Experiment and see what works best for you and your needs.

3 recommended safe methods for most books based on personal and user experiences:

1. While using 2 cups room temperature distilled water, you should leave the book inside the chamber for 24 hrs. Personally, I place a book in the humidity tank at 9pm and take it out the next morning at 9am. Longer durations exceeding 24 hours could start to wash out color. You will fade the cover if left in chamber for too long with too much distilled water at the bottom of tank. Control your water levels for maximum effectiveness.

2. Most average books from Golden Age to Bronze Age with light creasing can be placed in humidity tank with room temperature distilled water for 2 hours but not more than 6 hours.

3. For really stubborn books that have heavy subscription folds or creaselines: Forget the small plastic bowl. Boil 1-2 cups of distilled water on the stove top. Pour the 1-2 cups of boiling distilled water inside your chamber with 1 half gallon of room temperature distilled water inside the entire bottom of tub to provide accelerated steam evenly to the book. Do not boil more than 1-2 cups. It would introduce more than 120% humidity with temperatures too hot that will cause warping and damage to your book. When using boiled distilled water you should check on your book after 2 hours.

 



MAKE YOUR OWN HUMIDIFICATION CHAMBER (ADVANCED)
Go to Walmart and find the kitchen department. Here is a step-by-step pictoral using simple materials at Walmart for under $30:



You will need: 1 gallon of distilled water, some terry cloths from the kitchen department, a 40qt storage tub, cooking grill grate, some plastic cups and an optional plastic bowl.

 

 

Another way to build a humidity tank.... (many options) Just make sure the storage tub is air tight and can be sealed. Set something heavy on top of lid when closed.

 

 

 

Make sure you use distilled water.

 

Fill the bottom of humidity tank (or optional bowl) with distilled water as much humidity you think the book will need. See chart above for recommended water levels. Stubborn books might require longer exposure times. Placing your humidity tank under a window seal with the bright sun shining down on it will also help create steam inside tank.

 

Set your cooking grate on top of 4 plastic cups taller than the bowl (water level)

 

Place a buffer between your comic book and any water droplets that might land. You may use synthetic nylon window screen, a towel, or terry cloth on your grate surface. Then place a magazine backer board on top of buffer or terry cloth. Place book on backer board as pictured above.

 

Now place another magazine backer board on top of your book.

 

Place another buffer such as a terry cloth on top of boards and comic book for protection and a little weight.

This is another example of a Humidity tank using slightly different materials but achieves the same results. Your humidity tank should look similar if not the same.

 

 

Close lid up tight and place something heavy on top of lid to retain seal inside to trap the humidity inside tank.

 

Another example of a similar humidity tank. This one uses a Weber grill surface grate and nylon window screens cut to 12"x18"

 

 

 

 

Here is what a humidity tank can do for you:

 

 

2001 Marvel Comics SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 Second Printing Corner ding

 

2001 Marvel Comics SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 Second Printing Spine ding

 

2001 Marvel Comics SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 Second Printing horizontal bend from left to right across entire book and throughout all pages of book from blister packaging comic book originally came inside of with packaged action figure toy from Toybiz.

 

After 12 hours inside humidity tank as pictured above. Pressed using steel plates and magazine backer boards with 65 lb cardstock paper at 160F degrees for 5 minutes and left overnight in coldpress for 24 hours.

 

After 12 hours inside humidity tank as pictured above. Pressed using steel plates and magazine backer boards with 65 lb cardstock paper at 160F degrees for 5 minutes and left overnight in coldpress for 24 hours.

 


After 3 weeks at CGC, this book has been graded a 9.8 Near Mint condition comic book.



 

OPEN OR FLAT?
Most comics books I will lay closed and flat between two assembled magazine bag and boards. I then make sure to have cloth above and below that. For comics that require a spine roll realignment or feature heavy creasing, I place the book open at the centerfold, facing up.






The Overstreet Guide To Grading Comics
The Overstreet Guide To Grading Comics includes the 10-point grading system, as well as exhaustive descriptions of Primary and Split Grades, examples of each grade with more than 200 full-color images in all, articles on storage, preservation, and restoration, a look at the independent, third-party grading companies, and much more. You absolutely must own this book if you plan to buy or sell on ebay. Use this book also as a way to argue if a book is not in the advertised condition if you feel you are ripped off.













YOUTUBE TUTORIAL VIDEO PLAYLIST
I recently started some tutorial videos that illustrate different methods and techniques covered on this page. The videos do not have audio or sound and are shot with a gopro camera in 1080p. I don't want to be that guy, but they take a really long time to produce and edit so, "Please give a like and subscribe" Thanks!

How to Press Comic Books Playlist by KaptainMyke on Youtube

How to Press Comic Books Playlist by KaptainMyke on Youtube



 

 

 

ADVANCED PRESSING METHODS
You have read my free guide which covers everything you need to know in order to get started pressing comics. However, there are many advanced topics and advanced methods not covered in this free online guide. What about restoration detection or how to press squarebound prestige format comics? Comic Book CPR answers all of those questions and more. Even if you don't clean or press comics yourself, this 156 page field guide and training manual is a must-have for any comic book collector. Comic Book CPR teaches awareness on proper comic book handling, shipping, selling, and buying tactics. Protect your investment by reading this book today. This is a collaborated effort of 25 people and 4 writers! Includes all new, never before seen material.

Paperback Edition: https://amzn.to/2XfC6XV $39.99
E-Book Edition: https://amzn.to/2NeuTmf $29.99
KAPTAINMYKE PRESS © 2019

 

 

 

 

CGC COMICS
The author is also an authorized and licensed CGC Dealer. Have peace and mind the advice given on this website will help you achieve the absolute highest grades possible with CGC. CGC is the most trusted authority on third party grading of comic books since 2000.

CGC Authorized Dealer 

 








JOIN US
There is a dedicated Facebook Group called "KaptainMyke Comic Book Pressing" for anyone to join and contribute ideas open for discussion. Ask questions about this guide or show off your own books! Anyone is welcome to join. I firmly believe the spread of accurate free information will help us all keep books preserved and conserved. You may find the Facebook Group at this link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kaptainmykecomicpressing







CONCLUSION
The overall goal of this guide is simple: Press books in a manner so that others cannot detect the book has been pressed. Light pressure, not firm or hard pressure. Do not burn the book, do not pop the staples, and do not spin the books on surfaces. For temperatures, 150-160 degrees or lower seems to be the “sweet spot” on most books to play it safe. Pressing under high heat for less than 5-7 minutes on each side is good for most books. Keep moisture and humidity to a minimum on your books. Always keep a timer with you and don’t forget to set your timer! These steps are some of the things that can be done to successfully press a comic book, magazine, or poster with minimal to no damage to the item being pressed.

These tips will hopefully save you money, and guide you along the way as YOU learn and pick up new ideas and better ways to accomplish things. I am not a professional presser, and I’m not a professional grader. However, these are the methods I use when I press comic books as a hobbyist.

All of this is a learning process. I encourage you all to share your ideas among everyone so that we can all prevent damage to one another’s books. I am open to any feedback and suggestions. I also reside in a coastal Northwestern state, which is more humid than inland states. Your results may vary based on humidity and temperature of the climate you reside in.

Shareable Links:

Thank you!

KaptainMyke









Check out the KaptainMyke Comic Book Pressing Group on Facebook:
KaptainMyke Comic Book Pressing Group

 


1953 E.C. Publications SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES #12
(Before and After)

















1952 E.C. Publications VAULT OF HORROR #23
(Before and After)



 








[ Go Top ]












Ebay and the Ebay logo are trademarks of Ebay.com, Inc. or its affiliates ©2019 Ebay. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates ©2019 Amazon. Comic Book CPR by KaptainMyke ®2019 All Rights Reserved ©2019 KaptainMyke and ®2019 Michael Sorensen.



 

CONTACT
CONTACT
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER
ABOUT
ABOUT

HELP
FRIENDS
TMNT
FUNNY SHIRTS
CAFEPRESS
REDBUBBLE
ZAZZLE
17 YEARS OF
Unique Funny Tshirts, Movie Quote Shirts, TV Quote Shirts
CGC Authorized Dealer    Privacy Policy Terms  Guaranteed Hacker Safe  
©2002-2019 KaptainMyke