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Mounting Your Art: overview of various mounting methods in picture matting

Introduction

There are multiple options for mounting your artwork to the matboard particularly whether or not to use conservation materials, adhesive vs. non-adhesive matting and whether you should attach your art to the mounting board or the mat directly. There are pros and cons to each but there are some key principles which apply to all mounting.

Here are some key tips off the top
  • Never tape on the front of the art work, use a T-Hinge
  • Only tape the top of the art, allow the art work to float and flex
  • Use plastic gloves to prevent spreading oils and dirt to the art work when handling
You can purchase mounting materials online! The first consideration is if you will use an adhesive or non-adhesive method.
Adhesive Methods for Picture Matting Mounting

  • Household Tape: Simplest and cheapest option but acids and impurities can leech onto your art work and discolor it.
  • Linen Tape/Artist Archival Tape: Similar to household scotch tape since it is clear but because it is archival it will not damage the art work.
  • Self-Adhesive Mounting Board: Mounting board with adhesive material that the image can be directly adhered to. Easy to do but difficult to reverse and may deform or bubble over time.
  • Dry Mount: Directly attach the art work to the mounting board using heat and glue. Requires dry mounting equipment. Looks great but it's impossible to reverse and may bubble or get out of shape over time.
Non-Adhesive Methods

  • Photo Corners: Triangle corners similar to those in photo albums. The corners are attached to the backing board or matboard, and the art work slides into them without any adhesive. Perfect for conservation matting since no adhesive comes in contact with the art, and it is highly reversible.
  • See-Thru Mounting Strips: A Mylar plastic strip enclosure with an adhesive attached to it. You simple attach the strip to the mounting board, and then slide your art through the Mylar. Perfect for conservation matting since no adhesive comes in contact with the art, and it is highly reversible.
lineco photo corners for picture matting lineco see-thru archival photo mounting strips for photo matting
Mounting Process on a Backing Board

  1. Center your art by laying it right in the middle of your backing board.
  2. Lay your mat window over the image and ensure it is still centered, adjust until perfect.
  3. Place a weight so that the art doesn't move, a heavy cup works well.
  4. Adhere the image to the backing board using one of the following methods:
    • Use whichever tape you have and attach the top edge of the image to your backing board using a T-hinge. The T-Hinge allows you to tape on the backside of your art with vertical strips, then use a horizontal strip across the hinges. Don't use a straight edge tape that goes across the front of your art. The key here is to only tape the top side of the art. Over time with environmental changes, the mat, the tape and other materials will change in size and the art work needs room to flex.
    • Slide your into the corners or strips, and attach your non-adhesive strips or corners to the backing board. You can do just the top if you are using the strips.
  5. Attaching the mat window and backing board (3 options):
    • BOOKLET: Line up your mat window and backing board and tape across both to create a hinge like a book. This makes a sandwich of backing board and photo mat window with your art work in between.
    • PERMANENT SEAL: Use double sided taped on the mounting board and lay the mat window right on top creating a permanent seal
    • SEPERATE PIECES: Leave the backing board and mat window separate. If it will go in a frame this will work fine. It is also fine if you are using a show bag and the backing board is mostly to provide support and rigidity. This doesn't work very well if the mat and backing board aren't the exact same size however.
Mounting Process on the Mat Window

The most standard way to attach the art to the mat is to simply attach a few strips of tape across the back of the art and matboard. You can also attach the strips or corners on the back of the mat as well if you choose.
That's it! No matter what method you use, just keep in mind your requirements for conservation, permanence and ease.