floating 2 sided map between glass


Grumbler in Training
Jun 7, 2006
San Diego
I need to float an antique 2 sided map between glass. How do I seal it into the frame? How do I keep the map from sliding out of place? My client does not want a mat. He wants to show about 2" of glass around it. He wants to have the ability to turn the picture around to look at the other side, but not a 2 sided frame. I will be using PerfectVue Glass
Preservation of the piece is obviously not an issue I guess.

You could look to using an acrylic on the back and holding it in place on that with a Clear Polyester film and a trusty static charge...? Seems interesting, I may try a wee sample of this myself.

This is another one of those cases where what the customer wants is either not feasible, or just should not be done because it would damage the artwork.

So indulge me while I think out loud.

How large is this map? What kind of paper? Heavy, thin? If it's small and sturdy I suppose you could use clear corner pockets attached to the rear piece of glazing with spacers. But given it's a map, and antique, I'm thinking it's kind of larger and maybe on thin paper. Corner pockets won't work. And the customer probably would object to seeing them.

How about a few dabs of ATG, maybe even acid-free ATG to hold it to the back glazing? Sure, if you don't mind seeing big gobs of it later as the adhesive seeps into the paper. And as long as you don't mind ruining it, because that stuff's never coming off. And as long as you don't mind re-doing it once in a while as it keeps falling.

So, IMHO, two options present themselves:

If the customer can live with covering up a tiny portion of the map, hinge it and put it in a recto-verso mat. Glazing front and back. Gives better support, reversible, allows viewing of both sides.

If the customer has to see 100% of it and can't cover any of it up, Mylar encapsulation is the way to go. Then a recto-verso mat with maybe 1/8 inch or so between the window opening and the edge of the art. Glazing front and back.

Short of a magic wand and levitation, there's not much that can be done well without a mat while still seeing the back side.

Sometimes compromises have to be made, and you can't always get what you want. But maybe your client can get what he needs.
There are methods that can display the map between two sheets of glass, maybe depending on size, that will not harm it. Jim Miller is your man!

Whether the customer wants to pay for those methods is another thing.

I would firstly ask the customer IF they wanted to see just one side, would they like the look of a mat? Why would they want to see through the frame to the wall behind for anything one-sided?

Just because this is double-sided does not mean they have to see through the frame, but if they insist on that, it will cost more whether done to conservation standards or not.
Paraphrasing Dave, it all depends ... size, weight, etc.

If preservation is not an issue, microdots of PVA applied with a toothpick to the back of the artwork may work (dependent on above factors). In this approach use an acrylic back. Position microdots where they will be best camouflaged by nature of artwork.

Otherwise, encapsulation with either Melinex/Mylar or Optium. If using Melinex use opposite facing mats as already described by Dave. If using glass over Optium include spacers to create an airspace. The Optium route is more elegant at a bigger price.

Here's a cheap and cheerful example using PVA microdots


Thanks, guys. Whew! this is going to be difficult.

Would the static of UV plexi keep the map in place? It measures 16 5/8 x 13 3/4.

Someone had written in pencil on the front:
"Map of Genoa"
"Munster's Cosmography"

I am very concerned about preservation.
Originally posted by deeann3670:

I am very concerned about preservation.
I would be too on something that old.

The static hold seems to hold quite well for a long long time if the paper is flat. If the paper is not flat there is far fewer valance shell electrons holding than needed (How was that Jim?) and there is a possibility the static bond won't hold.

I would try to talk the owner into OP3 acrylic on the front as well for breakage safety. If the owner has an unlimited budget, go with Optium Museum acrylic.