Preparing A Photo For Mounting

After carefully selecting your picture frame, the next step is to mount the photo on the frame. Mounting is the technique that secures the photo in the frame. Remember, when you hang the picture frame on the wall, this will leave it standing. Mounting prevents wrinkling and creasing.

This step is very important, especially if the picture you are framing is an old or valuable picture that will be virtually impossible to replace. When mounting such a picture, you need to remember to use archival material – acid-free and lignin-free materials that prevent acids from damaging the paper on which the photograph is printed. You should also choose reversible mounting methods, in case you want to take the photo out of the frame.

There are picture mounting techniques that should be avoided. These techniques are usually for reproducible and easy-to-find materials such as posters and pictures with digital files. These include dry mounting (which involves using adhesive tissue and then hot-pressing the picture), wet mounting (which uses glue instead of adhesive tissue) or spray adhesive mounting.

After preparing the photo and cropping it to follow the shape of the frame (i.e. oval shape for an oval picture frame), you can now start mounting the photo. The following are archival picture mounting techniques and materials you can use:

  • Photo corners. These are commonly triangular pieces that, as the name suggests, secure the photo at the corners. The photo corners have an adhesive at the back and a pocket where you insert one corner of the photo. The front has a cutout so that the corner does not show when the photo is framed. The matting or the frame’s inside edging will cover the corners. Choose photo corners that are made from polypropylene or polyester film. This ensures that there are no chemicals involved and that there is minimal contact with the photo.

However, when using photo corners, you also need to watch out for humidity levels. Even though the plastic only touches just the corners of the photo, the humidity can cause the photo to stick to the plastic corners.

  • T-hinge mounting method. Gluing the photo onto the mounting board may cause some buckling as the paper is stretched and pulled as the paper reacts to humidity and temperature. A good option will be the t-hinge method, where the edges of the photo are hidden under the matting. With this method, you attach a pair of tapes into a T-shape. You will need a mat board that is a bit smaller than the photo. Identify the area where you will attach the tapes. This is about two inches away from the nearest corner, or the middle of the picture for circular or oval frames.
  • Attach a strip of tape vertically at the top of the photo, where half of the strip is on the photo. Then position the photo on the mounting board and tape the exposed section of tape on to the mounting board.
  • V-hinge mounting method. This is for when you want the picture to “float”. The hinge is located under the photograph. Position the photograph on the mounting board, then add the layer of window matting. Remove the window mat and mark the line of the photograph. Apply a strip of tape, half at the back of the photo and half onto the mounting board. Flip the photo up and then attach a strip of tape in a horizontal position over the section of the tape that is on the mounting board. 
9th Aug 2015 Eric Morgan

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