Help me hang my posters please
May 18, 2009 9:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a large and beloved collection of People's History posters. Last year I had them mounted on thin foamcore (thinness illustrated here), thinking that would lengthen their lives, but I cannot keep them on my walls.

So far I've tried two systems: 1) I put small nails above and below the posters, holding them in place between the nails. When the weather changed, almost all the posters shrunk or warped a bit, and dramatically fell from the walls. Next, I tried 2) these circles that spike into the foam (like these), and they still inexplicably just fall off the wall, leaving the spikes attached to the wall.

So, what's the best, affordable way to attach these fairly lightweight posters, without excessively scarring my rented walls?

posted by serazin to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That thin foamcore sucks donkey balls. What you want is gatorfoam, half inch thick with a gravity hook on the back. If you want to get fancy, do a recessed gravity hook. Note: this stuff is a little too stiff to cut with an x-acto knife. If you can't do this, try a thicker foamcore AND lay down some backer paper. The poster is pulling that foamcore every which way, the extra paper on the back will provide some counter-pull. Also, there is medium-density fiberboard but, again, you will need to cut that on a table saw. Also, heavy.

Here is a page on mounting museum labels on the cheap that can give you good ideas. They refer t o gravity hooks as wedges.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:01 PM on May 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Well, obviously you can pound nails into the wall, so likely all you need is to get some self-adhesive picture hangers.

And for future reference, you do know that dry-mounting such as you've done is not typically reversible, right?
posted by rhizome at 10:03 PM on May 18, 2009

Response by poster: Was dry mounting a bad move? I just took them to a frame shop and said, "give me something cheap and durable". Apparently not the best way to go.
posted by serazin at 10:05 PM on May 18, 2009

Response by poster: Oooh! Correction! They aren't on foamcore at all. They're mounted on some sort of cardboard that does appear to have a sheet of paper adhesed to its back.
posted by serazin at 10:08 PM on May 18, 2009

Yikes, posted too soon. You can also try attaching another piece of foamcore to the piece you already have, although you might not be as pleased with the results. It would give you a bit more humidity control. Also, mat board, although I doubt that would handle the humidity changes much better than the foamcore.

There is always plexiglass and swiss clips.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:09 PM on May 18, 2009

My guess is that they put them on mat board. Depending on the type of adhesive and the type of paper you are trying to adhere, you might be able to get them off. I find that 77 only lasts so long before you can pull the paper right off. If they have wet mounted them (doubtful) you are screwed.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:14 PM on May 18, 2009

Response by poster: Wait, why am I screwed??! There's no way to hang this material? This material is destroying my posters? I'm confused!
posted by serazin at 10:16 PM on May 18, 2009

Wet mounting is a very firm adhesion. It's like wallpapering. Considering the materials involved, I seriously doubt this is the case.
posted by Foam Pants at 10:36 PM on May 18, 2009

There are many different ways to hang boards like that. Take a trip to your local Home Despot. They have lots of various hangers and clips. Maybe try mirror clips?

Also, consider swiss clips. They sometimes work for stuff like this although I've never had good luck with them supporting large or heavy pieces. They are cheap and worth a try though.

At the end of the day you may want to invest in framing your prints. It kind of sucks that they are glued to a backing, but they will still work in frames just fine. You can find second hand frames all over the place and mat cutting kits aren't that expensive or hard to use.
posted by wfrgms at 10:43 PM on May 18, 2009

The hanger you tried is intended for foamcore, and there are heavier duty versions of it, but since the board you have isn't foamcore I'm not sure what's happening with the hangers. You might try one like the rectangular ones here. The long teeth should be able to really sink into the board and not slip out. Or go to a hardware store and look for an fairly heavy duty L-pin, or something similar, and use those the way you used the nails, maybe several on each side. Or you could always put the board into a metal frame, which would keep it rigid and give you a way to hang it. And the swiss clip idea is great. If you get desperate you can use bulldog clips, hung on nails. Not pretty, but cheap and easy.

Dry mounting is fine, theoretically, onto masonite or a acid-free gator board. Dry mounting on foamcore is the way to get something up on a wall quickly with the least money laid out initially, but it's just not reversible and it's not durable. And when it warps, creases, the edges ding, or you poke a hole in it, it's wrecked. But for posters you aren't going to want forever it's fine. And whatever it is you have can be hung.
posted by tula at 11:18 PM on May 18, 2009

I like binder clips or bulldog clips hanging light artwork. Ikea clips are also pretty cool looking - great for light things.
posted by dog food sugar at 6:12 AM on May 19, 2009

Why not try poster putty (also called blu-tack)? It's made for putting up posters without nailing them to walls, and costs about $2.
posted by Houstonian at 6:54 AM on May 19, 2009

Houstonian: Why not try poster putty (also called blu-tack)? It's made for putting up posters without nailing them to walls, and costs about $2.

If you have those same white walls in your apartment that many of us have had in the past, the blue putty can and will make blue stains. Apparently not 100% of the time, but I've seen it happen.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:22 AM on May 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you have those same white walls in your apartment that many of us have had in the past, the blue putty can and will make blue stains.

Or indeed beige walls.

(Although the blu-tack marks on my wall aren't blue, they look more like little dark circles of grease-stain.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:02 PM on May 19, 2009

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