Dust cover protocol


Dec 30, 2003
Beresford, SD
I am wondering if there are specific "rules" that indicate what sort of paper is appropriate for dust covers.

Kraft paper is the norm. Is there a weight minimum (40lb vs 50lb paper)?

I have very good quality paper rolls available to me for free from a local stationary supplier. The paper, though, is bright white. Is this unacceptable?


<font size=9> Warning: Old (undead) thread alert. </font>

[ 10-01-2004, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: Ron Eggers ]
Well, Tycek is white, and it is acceptable. I don't like the look of it, though, but that is my opinion. I think 40 lb. paper is too lightweight- 50lb. would be my preference.

I think brown kraft looks "cheap". I prefer to use the blue-buffered paper, or black if I must use kraft. I can't remember the last time I used brown.
Last year I changed over to using the blue buffered paper that Pamela mentioned.

The acid-free blue Lineco paper is a very nice weight and will not crumble and self-destruct with age the way kraft will. But it's pricey.

I'm using the Lineco for the c/p framing (when I care enough to use the very best) and a snappy Indigo blue kraft for everything else. When I run out of that, I might be using green or maroon - anything but brown. It depends on what Vicki Schober has in stock at the time.

50# is better than 40#. It's also a nice idea to fill your frame so it's harder to puncture the paper. It breaks my heart to use about 6 layers of Coroplast to fill some of those deep mouldings, but I do it.
Marc: The drawbacks to black are"? I having been using brown but will be checking out my supplier to find out what else is available.
Sometimes black smudges. If it smudges the wall, the customer gets annoyed.

Also, I bought about 50,000 shop stickers (no address) that are mostly black, with gold accents, on a clear background. On black kraft, they look like a black cat (with gold fillings) in a coal bin.

BTW, I'm not Marc, but I sometimes play Marc on daytime television.
Where do you get the snappy Indigo blue kraft paper from? I've always liked Indigo blue. Unless you were just joking, in which case, I feel pretty silly now.

I get it from Vicki Schober in Milwaukee. They deliver here, but probably not where you guys are, out in the boonies. :D

I never kid about dust covers, and as I said, they may not have the blue the next time I order, so I would cheerfully switch to another interesting color. That way, if something comes back in for some reason, I can look at it and say, "Oh, I framed that during my indigo phase."
Bingo Ron.

Most will bring up potential smudging, but if you use bumpers or any sort, it actually does not happen. Not one complaint yet. And it's been a long time.

The other drawback, is that it is just as acidic as brown.

But I have made my peace with that. I have found the Chi of framing, and am at One. But that's a whole other digression.

Back to Dustcovers: Around the holidays, use wrapping paper.

Customers LOVE it!

Even if it's just solid (shiny) Green or Red.

Red around Valentnes.

You get the idea. It comes in large roll (like you see behind the counter at the bookstore when they wrap).

It's thin. Put on whatever you normally put on, and then put it over it.

The finished piece looks more expensive, and customers will pay high prices without quibbling. they feel they are getting something of more worth.

After all, it's about selling value (the tyveck or lineco), but it's also about selling class, and flash (black and other fancies).

In theory, they both get you to the same point. Getting more dollars for your product.

However, Class and Flash, in my opinion, get you more dollars.

They are not mutually exclusive. You can do both. (you will notice I have said nothing of what is underneath the cheap, bad and evil paper).

Make lots of money.
I have been kusing the black kraft and the blue Lineco paper for a few years now and have no quarrel with either one of them for their uses. I was using the Lineco on the high end jobs and the black on less expensive framings but have been in a lazy mood lately and have used Lineco for all my framing.

The use of wrapping paper has a one time visual impact when the customer picks up their work but, after it is on the wall, the impact becomes a moot point. I don't see the value in putting a good quality backing paper on a piece and then covering it up with little Santas or Valentine's hearts.

I also don't see the point in charging the customer extra for something that is seasonal and they probably didn't order to begin with.

Just my personal opinion.

Sorry, FramerGuy, I gotta agree with Marc (just this once.)

I remember my frustration when I started framing. Customers would pick up their work and rave about the shrink wrap, the dust seal, the bumpers (thank God, I didn't use brown Bumpons) and the little bag on the back with the hangers.* Apparently, they weren't accustomed to seeing these things. I would say, "Well, HEY, WHAT ABOUT THE MAT AND FRAME?" and they'd say, "Oh, yeh, that's nice, too."

It's a little harder to dazzle 'em now, but they do notice those things and ya gotta mix it up every once-in-a-while.

I love my Indigo dust covers, but I'm kinda anxious to see what's next.

*It would be rude to suggest that perhaps my designs weren't all that inspiring in 1977.
OK, maybe I am having a "read and uknderstand" hemmorage but, I think I said that I DO use Lineco and black kraft and have done so for years. I also use WallBuddies and coated SS wire and mirror hangers (when I don't use WB's) and I also include the little red baggie with a frame hanger since I don't remember when.

I just don't see the point in uksing glitzy Christmas wrapping paper for a dust cover, particularly over a good quality dust cover. And I sure don't see bagging the customer for the extra glitz when all they wanted was a good quality frame package.

Both of you'se guys has a point to make about this, I'm just confused about whose point I don't agree with. :eek:



Oh, Emily, in my opinion (and ONLY my opinion), there really isn't a set of "rules" for dust cover protocol. But that is only my opinion.

[ 01-31-2004, 02:26 PM: Message edited by: Framerguy ]
Originally posted by Marc Lizer:
(Christmas)it's just solid (shiny) Green or Red.

Red around Valentnes.

You get the idea.
Well I guess not

I did not say "using glitzy Christmas wrapping paper. "

Nor did I say " little Santas or Valentine's hearts."

I also did not say "charging the customer extra."

But I will say, the idea to do it was after noticing that a high end frame shop was using the same idea. And from two local shops. THe back they used was more aking to the pattern on bookendpaper. Not the swirl paint one, but the fine arabian pattern fleur style.

But I will say, that I have tracked responses, both long and short term.

But I will say that you can charge a higer price overall, all the time, if you are percieved as offering a hign end product. You can make more money all the time, not nickle and dimeing here and there.

You will notice that I don't often chime in on the conversations about making money.

Very often simple money making opportunities are not taken by short-sightedness.
Yeh, and I wasn't disagreeing with anyone.

I just like telling the story about customers going gah-gah over bumpers and shrink wrap.
I use the generic brown kraft paper, but most of the pieces are dust-sealed anyway, so I consider the dust cover mostly 'decorative.'
I once framed some lovely prints for a restaurant in a nice-ish mall that had some sort of mesh/chain link walls between it's entry and mall walkway. It was nicer than it sounds. ANYWAY, the backs of the pieces would be able to be seen through the mesh, so (at the customer's suggestion-and expense) we used (real) marbled paper as the dustcover. It looked VERY nice.
Now, please excuse me, I am going to go buy some sexy, shiny red paper for the backs of this week's pics. (Thanks Marc!)
edie the redismyfavoritecoloranyway goddess
I use black craft on just about everything, except the really large pieces. I can't find 48" black craft in Southern California. We shrink our backings on so that they are drum tight, customers love it.

I made a post a few years ago on how to do this, upset just about everyone. Almost like saying the Bible is a bad book. Everyone loves their ATG just a little too much to describe the method again. If your interested, contact an older, probably retired framer, to find out how it's done. May also be in The Grumble archives.

As far as acid is concerned, if your picture isn't protected enough with a four ply rag backing, acid free foam core, somehow I don't think an acid free dust cover is going to make any difference.

I did one framejob where theft was a concern (FROM THE BACK TOO!), so I put 1/16 thick architectural grade steel on the back.

It is more protective than Kraft Paper, but it does not come is rolls. So I decided not to make it the standard in the shop.
Using a paper that has chalk buffering component
is important, in the long term. Pulp paper will
degrade, especially along the upper edge and when
the frame is picked up, the degraded paper is
likely to tear; making the dust cover into a dust

Hugh, that is a valid point, however, just about everyone uses ATG to attach their dust covers. I know this will upset a lot of people, but the ATG will break down long before any paper does. Using acid free dust covers sounds good on paper ( no pun intended) but in reality, very few dust covers will last as long as the framing package. If it doesn't rot off during time, or the ATG doesn't give way. The paper will just end up getting torn through handling over the years.

Expecting a dust cover to last more than twenty or thirty years on the average framing job is just not being practical.

For exactly the reason that John mentions, the
paper should be attached with PVA glue and not
with anything pressure-sensitive. In an ideal
world, framed items would be brought in periodically for inspection; sadly, owners
tends to hang things on the wall and then they
forget them.

Originally posted by preservator:
....the paper should be attached with PVA glue and not with anything pressure-sensitive. ...........
We've been using PVA, aka "white glue", aka "Elmers" for 27 years. Although often looked at being old fashioned, I've used ATG to hold mats together, and glue for dust covers. Less expensive and a more permanant bond! After three or four pictures, it's easy and you'll get the technique down.

I switched from glue to ATG about 22 years ago, but would consider switching back.

For those who glue dust covers, do you find that removing them is harder than with ATG, easier, or about the same?

Remember - we're supposed to remove them periodically even if they don't have any little dust bunnies under the glass. ;)
I've used glue my entire career. The only exception was when my son worked for me. He used ATG, said I was old fashion, living in the past, etc. I never could convince him that glue was faster, held permanently, made a much better looking dust cover. He just felt he didn't have the time. I got tired of arguing the point and I just let him do it his way. Since he left my company, it has always been glue.

Mighty Muck...can be heat reactivated to stick or release. Easier to apply, much easier to clean up. I get the little 2 oz. squeeze bottles that my veterinarian stocks for dispensing liquid meds and have several lying around the shop. Draw a thin bead and smooth with my thumb, smooth the paper over the back and burnish with fingernail or bone folder. trim with razor or sandpaper.
I used to moisten the paper before application, but then became concerned with introducing a spike in the RH of the frame environment, and found that if the paper got too tight it could put undo stress on the frame (have to make certain accommodations for local humidity levels). So now my dust covers sometimes appear loose and saggy, but nothing a good cold dry day doesn't clear up.
I may just as well get this out of the way now and avoid any future embarassment.

What the hey is "Mighty Muck"??? I have not found that type of adhesive in any of my catalogs (not that I was looking for it). It sounds like something that would appear in the sleeping nest of the Predator. (Remember him, and Ahnold??)

If this stuff doesn't dry up and get like concrete so you need a jack hammer to remove the dust cover a year later, I would give it a try.

Where ya gettin' this "mighty" stuff, Wally??

Originally posted by Framerguy:
.....What the hey is "Mighty Muck"??? I have not found that type of adhesive in any of my catalogs (not that I was looking for it)....
OK.....I've heard this product referred to as Miracle Muck and really wonder now if these two items are the same or just similar?

What he said.
Like products are available from UMS, think they call it fabric adhesive, and Frank's and Framing Fabrics. I just prefer the Muck. I joined a liner frame with it once to see how strong it was. Let it cure for a few weeks and tried to break the joint...I couldn't without breaking the wood.
It's funny how every time the topic of dust covers comes up the participation rate spikes...
We used to use glue for most all dust covers for years, then recently noticed that some of the newer mouldings that are gessoed all around (such as the Nurre Caxton Metropolitans, etc.) have some kind of glue-resistant coating. Once dried, the glued paper can be peeled right off the back of the frame. Sort of like a "Post-It Dust Cover" I suppose, but not a desirable feature most of the time.

:cool: Rick
Was interested in Ron`s idea of indigo blue for a dust cover. Looked up the Vicki Schrober web site. No mention of a dust cover paper. Called the company and the lady said that the web site was far outdated. They presently have 4 colors of dust covers--black, green, red, and dark blue. She gave me a price of $74.28 for the red and $65.93 for the blue. I already use black and am thinking of a change. By the way, it is 50lb paper. Thanks for the ideas!!! Pays to read the GRUMBLE!!!! Always great reading! Bud
Rick, you have to pre-glue the back of the frame. Lay a coat of glue, let it dry, then glue it again and apply your dust cover. Same holds true when your working with old barn wood framing.

Use a roller, like a three inch short nap paint touch up roller, it spreads the glue evenly, does a better job.

John- I don't see the difference. Wouldn't the "pre-glue" coat still not stick to whatever resistant substance is on the frame itself? Why would letting that dry and then re-gluing over it make a difference? And, it seems like a big increase in labor time and having the drying package take up limited table space.

I do like your idea of using a roller for wider frames, but do you have to clean it after each use, or do you have some sort of covered tray you can store it in? I've always just used several widths of stiff artist brushes which I keep in a crock of water.

:cool: Rick
Dustcover 'Protocol'...........
I learned 16 years ago, that you cut a little triangle in the dustcover on canvas pieces, so they can 'breath '(have air movement). I'm still doing it. Is that still done, or am I 'old-fashion' that way?
My favorite dustcover adhesive is 3M #889 double-sided tape. It's easy to use, and almost always sticks to the paper better than the frame. Well-burnished (always recommended for pressure-sensitives), it sticks waaaay better than ATG.

And because it has a polyester carrier, it peels off intact with the paper, leaving NO mess to clean off the frame-back. :cool:
Rick, I don't know why it works, but it does. Give it a try. Your right, it does slow things down a bit, but white glue, laid on with a roller dries fairly fast. I used to have a coffee can half filled with water to drop the roller in, but now I just clean it out in the sink, then spin off the excess water on the wall. We use the roller on all our backings, narrow and wide. it's just a faster, better, way to lay glue.

John- I wonder whether your wall has an interesting glue build-up as does our crock? I'll try to post a picture of it later. It is a "work of art". I do like the foam rollers. First found out about them at a fabric-gluing demo in the Frank's Fabrics booth at WCAF a couple of years back.
BTW, does anyone know whether there is any or much difference between the adhesives sold as specialty fabric adhesives and regular acrylic medium as can be found at the art supply store? I know this medium works as a fabric adhesive too and is heat-reactivatable.

:cool: Rick
Thanks for the update...Hardbacking is on my next canvas to-do-list.
Yes, you can teach an old dog (framer) new tricks ;)
Here's how we store our glue brushes. This is about the fourth jar replacement in the crock. (Eventually the hole gets filled in till it's too small.) Nowadays we use more ATG to apply dustcovers, but after this thread I may trend back to gluing. :cool: Rick
NOTE: This is an old thread. Do NOT become disoriented!

I am very excited.

After a couple of rolls of indigo blue dust covers, I'm ready for a change.

Yesterday, I got my first roll of 50# 36" emerald green kraft. We're talking Crescent 993 Kelly green here. It almost glows in the dark.

Funny thing is, I noticed on the box that it's made right here in Appleton. I got it from Vicki Schober in Milwaukee.
Plain Kraft.

I have a roll of the blue-grey Lineco that I still use for special occasions. It "pales" by comparison.
My black paper has a shiny side and a matte side. I've always wondered which side should face out. I figured the matte side would adhere better and the shiny side looked better so I do it shiny side out. But every time I use it, I still wonder.

Does it really matter?

Congratulations on your new paper Ron. Little things do make the work more enjoyable. We don’t have fun choices like that here.
Nancy I think just the opposite. I like the adhesive on the smooth side because there is more surface for the adhesive to stick to. Also, I like the matte side out because it doesn't reflect light and therefore doesn't show small dents.

Truth is, I doubt that it matters all which side you like to have out.