Paraloid B-72 and marking museum artifacts

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    • #131771
      Hillary Conley

      Hi Collections Community,

      I was wondering if any of you have worked with Paraloid B-72 as a barrier method for marking museum objects? I am crowd-sourcing common practical issues associated with Paraloid B-72 for numbering such as bubbling, smearing, dissolving numbers, etc. to see how widespread the problem is. At SEAC we have several technicians who have experienced issues and tried to resolve these issues over the years, but with no lasting effect. Our numbering procedures adhere to the NPS Museum Handbook with the relevant section found here

      If you have had similar issues with Paraloid B-72 for numbering would you please let me know what they were and what you did to resolve them?

      Thank you!

    • #131774
      Ella Rayburn

      Recently was a topic of Paraloid B-72. It is under the “White Ink” topic.
      I was a curator for NPS, followed the numbering guidelines, and in a private setting continue to follow the guidelines. I only had issues if I failed to wait for proper drying. No real problems if you let the media dry. Hurrying the numbering process yields dissolving and smearing. Base coat, dry, number, dry, clear coat, dry. I like to let the base coat dry at least 8 hours, the number a couple.

    • #131773

      I certainly agree with Ella concerning the drying time. I have encountered a problem in the past numbering bare metal artifacts. Regardless of the drying time, the number would still smear. I consulted numerous conservators and now use B-67 as a base coat with B-72 as a top coat when numbered metal artifacts. B-67 is not as stable as B-72 and it can yellow over time, but it does allow me to successfully number this type of artifact.

    • #131772

      In the UK it is generally recommended to use the Paraloid B72 coat on the object, then number, then use Paraloid B67 as the topcoat if you have problems with smearing.
      It may not be the drying time that is the problem – it may be the viscosity of the Paraloid B72 solution or the method of application. You need a carefully loaded brush which you draw gently across the dried number. Practice on an impermeable surface like a glazed white tile or plate!
      Great videos on this and similar topics at

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