Mounting a paperback book in a shadow box frame?
May 25, 2006 9:37 AM   Subscribe

How can I mount a paperback book in a shadow box frame so that the book doesn't sag?

I've got a large paperback book that I'd like to mount in a shadow box type picture frame. The shadow box is slightly bigger than the book with ~ 5/8" border between the frame inside edges and the book outside edges all the way around. The frame is deep enough that the front of the book does not touch the front of the glass if it is set on the frame back.

I don't want any matting as I'd like the spine of the book to be visible. I'd also prefer to avoid doing anything permanent to the book that would preclude removing it from the frame sometime in the future and reading it (like gluing the pages together). However, it's more important to me to have the book hanging on the wall than to preserve its readibility. It's not a rare book so the value is not a concern.
posted by de void to Home & Garden (17 answers total)
I presume by sag you mean flop open? If that's the case I'd say get something like a big binder clip. Binder clip the back cover and all the pages together then use a removable adhesive tape to tape the front cover to the binder clipped bunch.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:41 AM on May 25, 2006

Yep, by "doesn't sag" I mean that the book cover and page edges stay aligned while hanging on the wall.
posted by de void at 9:43 AM on May 25, 2006

I think I'd drill/hole punch holes through the upper and lower corners and put some sort of a plastic rivet through the holes and glue the insides of the front and back corners to the top and bottom of the rivet. The book will still be readable and the cover won't go anywhere.
posted by jessamyn at 9:48 AM on May 25, 2006

Make an "L" bracket out of some thin clear plastic, and rest the book in the L. If you lean the L back a little the book will sit in it with no fasteners required.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:49 AM on May 25, 2006

Maybe use some document repair tape on the unbound edge to make a removable binding ?

Some thread to tie the pages together.?

A small plastic platform to sit on ?
posted by stuartmm at 9:49 AM on May 25, 2006

You could buy some foam core (at just about any hobby shop, and available in a variety of thicknesses) and put it behind the book so that the front cover is right up against the glass...
posted by interrobang at 9:51 AM on May 25, 2006

You could also get a strand of silk or two, and tie it around the book. If you get the right color, it'd pretty much be invisible.
posted by interrobang at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2006

A thin strip of archival plastic material wrapped vertically around the book. Seems like I've seen this in museums used to hold books open in glass cases. I think they use mylar. LightImpressions has a good selection of archival materials that might be appropriate.
posted by johngumbo at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2006

Johngumbo, I think you just nudged me into what may end up being a workable idea - covering the book in shrink wrap with the seam at the back and gluing it to the back of the frame
posted by de void at 10:02 AM on May 25, 2006

Glue the pages together.

Get another copy of the book to read.
posted by spakto at 11:18 AM on May 25, 2006

After meeting with my library's conservation head, my mind reels at the options presented here. Drilling? Clipping? Glueing? Argh!

If a book is worth being put on display, it's worth keeping in once piece. This is not just so you can take the book out and read it, but so that you can replace the housing with minimal damage to the material.

Go for the internal shelf, either made of plastic or sturdy acid-free cardstock. You can either use the L variant that doc_negative mentions or interrobang's thread idea to secure the book in place.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:36 AM on May 25, 2006

My mind also reels at my poor spelling and grammar. Oh well.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:39 AM on May 25, 2006

Skewer a toothpick onto the shadowbox backing and rest the book's lower right corner (unbound side) on the toothpick. Or, use an unbent paperclip, but secure the book to the backing by some other means so that it isn't resting on the clip.
posted by vanoakenfold at 11:40 AM on May 25, 2006

If I build an internal shelf, how do I secure the book to the shelf? I don't want to have to open up the shadow box and reset the book every time the box gets moved jostled.

Hey, what about that adhesive that is used to secure samples to magazines? You know, the one that resembles rubber glue in texture, but pulls away without leaving a residue or pulling away paper?
posted by de void at 12:20 PM on May 25, 2006

Hey, what about that adhesive that is used to secure samples to magazines? You know, the one that resembles rubber glue in texture, but pulls away without leaving a residue or pulling away paper?

There's a technical name for it, but unfortunately my production department just calls it "snot." Snot is fine for a cover, particularly if it's glossy or varnished in some way, but on the thin, porous paper of a paperback, it'll do damage, so you can only do it on the outside. Depending on the kind you get, its adhesion either breaks down over time or eats the ink.

My recommended method:
I'd get the clear plastic strips not tape) that's used for mounting picture corners into exact cut mats (when a picture is full-bleed, so there's no overlap to attach it to the back of a mat).

I'd take a mat board in a nice contrasting color to the book, cut to fit the shadow box.

Pull the clear strip around each corner of the book. Cut two slits behind each corner (slightly underneath the book so the slits don't show) and pull each end of the plastic strip through the mat, taping the ends to the back of the mat.

Do all four corners, but don't pull the plastic strips too tight or you'll get a buckling effect.

Place the book, secured on all four corners to the mat, into the shadow box and there you go. To remove, simply cut the clear strips on the back of the mat.

Man, I hope this makes sense. This is one of those things that takes two seconds to explain in person with a piece of cardboard and an xacto knife.

It'll last longer than shrink wrap and even if it shows, it doesn't look tacky. But get enough mat board to do it more than once. It'll take some fiddling to get the placement right.
posted by Gucky at 1:29 PM on May 25, 2006

If you go to the hardware store and get 4 L hooks, you use two on the top and two on the bottom. The lip of the L rests on the out side of the book and the long end with the screw threads goes into the back of the frame, two on the bottom will hold the book in place and two on the top will keep it closed. They come in many sizes and finishes so you should be able to get ones that fit the look of your shadow box.
posted by crewshell at 3:25 PM on May 25, 2006

I'd suggest putting a subtle shelf in the box, but in case it hasn't been suggested, you could also go the other way - as far from subtle as possible, but in a way that ties in with the book (or box's) theme.

Eg, if the book is called "How to survive the apocalyse", and the shadow box has a label "IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS", then you could securely strap the book to the back of the box with emergency-kit style hook-ended bungie cords.

If the book is called "Memoirs of Broadway", then maybe a costume jewerly necklace, or perhaps have the book sitting in a model theatre seat.

yeah, it could end up tacky, but depending on your purpose, a thematic device to hold the book might work well.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:55 PM on May 25, 2006

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