How to mount art to a mat
February 8, 2012 8:03 AM   Subscribe

What are the pros and cons of various ways of mounting art to a mounting mat for framing?

I have some art that I've purchased, done on paper not canvas, and I'd like to have it framed properly. By that I mean following standard practices to preserve the quality of the art over time. But I'd rather spend money on art than framing it, so I'm going the DIY route.

Other than choosing the frame and design, there's the question of mounting the art to the back mat. From what I understand, just gluing the art to it is frowned upon because it makes it difficult to undo without damaging the art, should the need arise.

The recommended ways appear to be:
  • Using archival-grade picture corners.
  • Using gummed linen hinging tape to make hinges.
  • Using self-adhesive hinging tissue to make hinges.
  • Using gummed mulberry paper to make hinges.
  • Making hinges out of mulberry paper and wheat glue as described in this publication.
The last way seems to be the gold standard, but as someone who doesn't really know what they're doing, the idea of using wet glue seems like it could lead to wrinkled art unless I do everything exactly right.

Is there anything actually wrong with using picture corners, or is that just not always done because they could be visible from the front if the front window mat doesn't overlap the art much?
posted by Hither to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Picture corners aren't terrible - they're standard in the museums I've worked in for photographs and paper objects that are on heavy enough paper that they wouldn't be damaged by them. If your piece is on very thin paper, however, they won't work and will damage your art. The linen and tissue hinging options are also fine - buy from a company like to make sure they're truly archival/museum quality.
posted by PussKillian at 8:20 AM on February 8, 2012

I'll agree with PussKillian, photo corners are pretty standard in the gallery I work at too. Personally, I'd only go so far as hinging the piece if the edges will be showing, or if it's 20" x 24" or larger (since there's a chance of the work sagging at that size).
posted by bill the tinman at 9:09 AM on February 8, 2012

Ask a professional framing shop how much it would cost to just have the piece matted. Doing just the glass and frame yourself might shave enough off the cost to make it worth your while.
posted by yoink at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2012

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