Capture a watermark image from a clean sheet of paper?
February 8, 2017 9:57 AM   Subscribe

I’ve found a lovely watermark on an old sheet of paper and want to print it out. How can I do this?

At an estate sale I found a box of a long-defunct company’s stationery that’s more than a hundred years old. The flora and fauna watermark on it is large and very detailed, and I’d like to print it out. The paper it’s on is very lightweight and somewhat translucent, a little heavier than onion skin paper. I want the image to be as crisp as possible, but the paper is light blue and has the expected mottled appearance when pressed against a window or held up to a light. I don’t have a lightbox or any equipment to do a back-light scan, and even if I did, I lack the skills to capture a decent image, much less clean it up digitally. Am I overlooking an obvious solution, or is there a service that can capture this watermark for me?
posted by ohcanireally to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Attach to a window facing open sky on a clear day. Take image with your phone. If you can, over expose just to the limit of blowing it out (just below getting blinkies). Pull down your brightness and increase contrast on the photo after you take it.
posted by notsnot at 10:25 AM on February 8, 2017

Reverse that image then?
posted by Freedomboy at 10:45 AM on February 8, 2017

I wonder if the gig economy could do the cleanup-to-digital for you. Fiverr or one of those things.
posted by Leon at 10:55 AM on February 8, 2017

If the paper is blue and thin, how does it look when you place it over something orange or yellow? I imagine that would give you more contrast to work with.
posted by soelo at 10:58 AM on February 8, 2017

What's the stationery company? Perhaps you can find the watermark online?
posted by xingcat at 11:06 AM on February 8, 2017

This involves a scanner and a fair amount of work, but scanning about 10 sheets of this paper with a backlight, then stacking all of the scans aligning the watermark, and averaging that stack should get rid of all the mottling and increase your resolution.
posted by gregr at 11:08 AM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

Follow up on gregr - if you do go that route, it may be better to use median rather than mean to get rid of the mottling.
posted by notsnot at 11:22 AM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]

« Older How do I game Kaiser (Northern California) to get...   |   Help me stick notes to my Windows 10 desktop! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.