Framing a map to show both sides

Jean McLean

CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Feb 25, 2001
Millinocket, ME, USA
Will this work? A customer came in with an antique map on canvas to be framed. It is folded and the folds don't lay flat. It is just big enough to require 40 x 60 mats. It will be roughly 34 x 44. She wants to be able to see both sides of the map but will hang it with the understanding one side will show and the other will have the wire. She just wants to be able to take it off the wall, turn it around and view the map on the other side so the wire is no problem nor the back of the frame.

My solution is this: Cut 4 double mats. Two for each side so the map is sandwiched between them creating the air space. I intend to add spacers to 2 pieces of conservation glass (both sides) to give additional air space to keep the map from touching the glass. Once I have that in place I intend to use a deep metal frame to hold it all. I won't need foam core so the whole thing should fit in the frame. I'm worried about the weight of two pieces of conservation glass but don't see any other way to frame this so she can enjoy both sides. Any suggestions? I can always add a third or forth wire holder to the bottom of the metal frame and run the heavy duty steel wire through them for additional support. This wire is so strong I have a hard time cutting it!

I would use Wall Buddies instead of wire. They will support the extra weight, they'll be less obtrusive and they'll make it much easier for the customer to "re-level" the frame each time it's hung.

Then I would use OP-3 Acrylite instead of UV glass - both to keep the weight down and to minimize the risk of breakage from the frequent handling.

I would try to figure out a way to include one of my other favorite products - Nori Paste - but I don't think you would use it for this project. ;)
Also, I'm not sure why you're using four double mats. It would seem like two (one on each side) plus the spacers would be plenty deep-enough.
The map might lay flatter if it was mounted normally with (Nori Paste) and hinges. You might be able to copy the back at an architectural graphics firm and have the copy show to the the rear. Definitely Wall Buddies!

I agree with Ron on the WallBuddies and the OP-3 and would add one other thought.

I would not depend on the "sandwich" of the mats to hold that canvas map in place, particularly if it is to be handled frequently. One slip, one bump against a couch or something while viewing could dislodge the map and cause it to slip down in the mat opening.

I would want to provide some kind of backup support for the map just in case. Without knowing the condition of the canvas nor the methods you are going to use to attach everything to each other, I would be hard pressed to make a specific recommendation on how to mount the map.

But I would give some serious thought to designing a way to support it in addition to the mats on both sides of the map.

Good Luck.

for securities sake use museum corners and flats to support all sides of the document and give it enough space to expand but not slip.
I know it sounds like a big fat pita but from experience I would not use a metal frame for this endevour, use a stained glass frame instead, better asthetically as well as structurally. You can use extra support brackets in the corners and conver them with some decorative hardware allowing you to hang the piece from just near the top of the frame with a decorative chane interspersed with zylon wire for strength.
I had a picture come in a few years back that was an original water color that had already been framed (poorly). When I took it out of the frame I found another picture on the back of the same picture. The owner wanted to be able to see the back side, but was not interested in showing the second picture all the time.

I sandwiched the watercolor between two double mats, with the back side mat opening made smaller to accomdate the smaller size picture on the back, and giving a little more support for the picture itself.

Then I used shrink wrap as a dust cover, taping it down as if it were artist paper and trimming it the same way. To tighten the shrink wrap I set it at the lowest setting so as not to damamge the picture. It worked great, and the woman was very pleased to be able to show the other picture to any interested party.

[ 01-08-2004, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: P. Kotnour ]