Mounting and Framing Your Fine Art

Taking a photograph is just the beginning of creating fine art. After you have put it through your editing program, we then have to make a quality print. The final touch is mounting and framing your fine art. There are many ways to do this, and in this weeks blog post I will take you step by step on how I finish my fine art print.  

Here is a list of what you'll need

  • Acid free Mat Board and Foam Board (mount Board) Cut to size
  • Linen or other acid free hinge tape
  • Frame of choice
  • Glazing of choice
  • Acid free pen/pencil for signature
  • Kraft paper for backing/dust cover
  • 2- one hole hangers
  • hanging wire
  • ATG tape and applicator
  • Razor blade
  • Small crews
  • Screw Driver
  • Straight Edge/ruler
  • Points and point insert tool
  • Bean bag
  • Wall space!

Don't worry I'll give you details about each item but first things first, where to sign your print? Surely if you are going to call it fine art it needs to have a signature or two. I sign the back of my print, along with the title, the edition number, and the date it was taken. When the print is mounted, I again sign the mat board along with the edition number. This way if the mat board and print are separated my signature will still be on the print itself. I use a micron pen to sign my images. It's an archival acid free ink which is also waterproof and fade proof. You can get them at craft stores such as Michael's or at Amazon. Micron 01 Ink Pen, 0.25-mm, Black. I prefer a finer tip such as this one, but you can buy a bigger tip that may better suit your writing style.

Next we are going to want to hinge our mat to our foam board to do this I use a linen hinging tissue from Lineco. Lineco Self-Adhesive Mounting/Hinging Tissue. I lay my foam board and mat board flat and hinge the top. The image below better illustrates this, the red arrow is pointing out the hinge and the tape. My image is sitting freely on the foam board at this point.


After I have made the hinge between the foam board and mat I then carefully position the print and close the mat over top of my print. It may take a few nudges to get the print in the right place but once you have it, it's time for your bean bag.

This image shows the mat over the print and the print placed perfectly under the mat as to have no visible edges of the print showing. The bean bag is then used to hold the print in place, because we are going to open the mat to hinge the print. The bean bag prevents the print from moving so we can easily close the mat and have the print line up perfectly! My bean bag is hand made but a tube sock and some dried beans should work just as well!

This image shows me opening the mat board off the print so we can "T" hinge the image. A "T" hinge is basically 2 pieces of tape that form a T. The long part of the T will go under the print, sticky side up, as to stick to the bottom of the print, with the rest of the tape protruding out the top of the print. The short part of the T will stick to the foam board securing the long part of the T to the foam board. When we close the mat, the long part of the T will stick to the mat board thus holding the image in place. We only secure the top of the image because if we were to hinge it all the way around the print, the print has the potential to "buckle" when it expands and contracts.

Next we close the mat over the print and gently press on the mat so we can ensure the tape has made good contact with the print and the mat board. Now is a good time to sign the mat and also note the edition number if you have one. From here we are going to install the glazing and in this case the acrylic.

There are a couple reason I choose acrylic over glass but the main reason is acrylic is more durable and is less susceptible to breakage. Some of the larger cuts of glass like a 24x36, it's likely to crack just by handling it let alone transport. The optical quality of the upper grades of glass and acrylic are nearly identical. There isn't a reason not to use acrylic unless you are worried about price, acrylic runs a little bit more, or the static quality of acrylic. The static electricity can be troublesome when assembling a piece. Both glass and acrylic comes with an optional UV and or anti-glare coatings. I defiantly opt for the UV coating to help preserve the longevity of the print. The anti-glare is nice but if the image is hanging in a place which doesn't produce glare, it's not necessary. The only drawback to these coatings, unless you buy top end glazing which can be very pricey, is that it will reduce the sharpness of the image, . If you want top end glazing I prefer Tru Vue Optium Museum Acrylic. It's anti-glare, anti-static, and 99% uv protected. Most of the time you can't even tell the piece has glazing installed. It's that good!

When I receive my acrylic from my supplier it comes with a plastic sheet that needs to be peeled off. This is my next step in the process.

I carefully peel one side making sure not to touch the face of the acrylic. Once the plastic is peeled off I place that side onto the matted and mounted print. I then peel off the other side of the acrylic, as shown below. Again making sure I don't touch the face of the acrylic with my hands.

From here I simply put the frame over the entire piece.

From here I flip the entire piece over to install the points which will hold all the contents together. For this I use a tool called the Logan FITTING TOOL , and with this I use the Logan Flexible Insert. I install them around the perimeter of the frame as shown below.

After the points have been inserted holding everything together, it's time to put on a dust cover. I use Kraft Paper which can be found in nearly any craft store, but I bought mine on amazon. To adhere the paper to the wood frame, I use Scotch 85 1/4-Inch ATG Advanced Tape Glider with 2 Rolls of Tape/Kit. From here, tape around the edges of the frame and place your paper. Trim the excess with a straight edge and razor blade.

After you have your dust cover looking all nice, it's time to install the hanging hardware. I use Heavy Duty Single Hole D Ring w/ Screws. To install these you want to measure 1/3 of the way down your frame. So lets say your frame is 21 inches, you'll want to install the hangers at the 7 inch mark from the top of the piece. Once you find your mark, make sure it's in the center of the frame, and screw it in with your screwdriver making sure the loop is facing inward (see image below). Then attach your hanging wire. I use SuperSoftstrand 500-Feet Picture Wire Vinyl Coated Stranded Stainless Steel. Cut a piece long enough to wrap each side several times. (see image below)

Now you're ready to hang!

I hope this tutorial helps you prepare your print for display! Like I said earlier there are many techniques used to finish a piece. The methods I use aren't any big secret but when I first started I couldn't find resources to help me. It made my first few pieces a struggle and very time consuming. With practice, finishing your piece should take around 20-30 mins. I know this is a long post and if you're just starting it may seem confusing, so if your are struggling or need some tips feel free to drop me an email and I will help the best I can, so until next time, get framing!