Greenback Framer Needs Help!


Grumbler in Training
Aug 23, 2006
Northeast Ohio
Can someone please help me with the basics of framing? I have a few photos that I took that are awesome. I bought the frames and matting and assembled them. At first they looked Awesome! I was quite proud of myself (that's what I get for being to proud) But then I noticed if the light hit a certain way or I looked at it from a different aspect, you could see that the pic was not entirely flat. I've heard of drymounting. I've even Googled it for info. I think I may be missing something with my framing efforts. Do I need some sort of board or something to attach the photo to before I put it behins the matting? If so, what is the proper material to mount it to. And - can anyone tell me exactly what "dry mounting" is and the easiest way to go about it?

I would appreciate any information I can get on this, as I really feel that if my photos were mounted correctly, they could sell in a store.

Sorry that I'm asking such Basic info. Just can't find any simple, basic answers out there!


Hi Nan,
You've come to a good place for an answer and you'll probably get several. Drymounting is a process best left to someone with the proper equipment and knowledge.

My suggestions would be either take them to a nearby framer and ask them to drymount them for you. There will be a nominal charge. Or if you don't mind working with spray adhesives, go to a local art supplies store and get a can of spray photo mount by 3M. Follow the directions on the can.

Good luck,
Nan, have you asked your local framer? It won't cost you a lot, you won't have to mess with it, dry mounting takes special equipment and supplies. Just a thought.

Be an awesome photographer.

There will be other suggestions following this, but I might start there.

And welcome to the Grumble. ;)

Welcome to The Grumble.

Before someone jumps down your throat, you might check out the Professional Picture Framers Association bookstore and search for “dry mounting”.

There are several basic books on the process. However, if you choose to do your own dry mounting, be prepared to spend, maybe, $1500 (used) on equipment and supplies just to get started.

You also might consider contacting a local picture framer and have him/her do the dry mounting for you. They may be willing to explain the process to you in some detail.
I'm going to go even more basic. Yes, dry mountign is a solution. But, maybe you just attached it wrong! My experience says most amateurs will put tape all around the art restricting it from expanding and contracting thus causing it to "buckle" and not lie flat. It might be too late for the ones you've done, but if you start with flat pictures and put the tape in TWO places only, at the top, about a third of the way in from each side. This should be done with a "hinging" mechanism. Do a search on hinging.

good luck
Something to keep in mind:
Dry mounting with a spray adhesive might cause more problems than it solves. I have never known the bond to be totally reliable and removing bubbles that appear over time on a spray mounted photo is not worth the headache and usually means a new print.

Inhaling the airborn particles of spray adhesive repeatedly is a great way to get to know a pulmonary specialist down the road. THAT is enough of a reason for me to stay far away from that stuff. (sorry Denny, no offense)

Get to know a local framer who can dry mount these for you. Also, some photo labs can mount these pieces with a roller laminator that works nicely on high gloss prints. Make sure you tell them you have mats for these, so that they mount them on a board the size of the outside of the mats and not just to the edge of the photo.

If nothing else, double check how you have these hinged. They should be hinged to the backing board from the top only. Taping all around will bobble these faster than you can say "Allegheny Foothills."

Good luck and let us know what you do.

edie the spraybad goddess
Welcome to the grumble!! If you take your photo's to a framer for drymounting let them know if you printed the images yourself and if so what type of ink you used to make sure that drymounting won't damage them.
Thanks to you all!! At first I had the pics just attached to the top of the matt, and that's when I first noticed it. So THEN I taped it all around thinking that way there wouldn't be any "gaps". So I guess that was not a smart move.

I just don't understand why it did it to two of them, but not the other one. I think I may have to have them reprinted. Which is not really a big deal - (except I'm out of a job right now due to a "downsizing" at my company!)

Anyway, any ideas on why, when I first attached the pic to the matt on top with two pieces of tape that there looked like gaps?

The other thing you may try is called perfect mount by Crescent. This is a foamboard that has an adhesive already on the board. So you peel back the paper that is over the adhesive and then attach the photo. It can be difficult and some practice may be rekwired in order to mount the photo without bubbles.

It is easier and less knowledge to hook up with a framer. Depending on the size, you could get away not to much dough.

Good luck and welcome to the G, feel free to ask any kwestions.


Nearly all papers (including photo paper) will absorb ambient humidity and expand a little bit. This is why Cliff suggested only hinging at two points and not completely around the perimeter of the print. If you taped the little buggers when the weather was nice; and, now it is hot and muggy, that’s probably the reason.

If the prints are genuine photos (and not ink jet or laser prints), you might be able to salvage them by gently peeling back the tape. Any residual goop can generally be removed with a cotton pad and naphtha (like Ronsonol lighter fluid). If the prints are ink jet, then they are probably toast and you may have to reprint them.

But, if they are valuable to you, consider having them professionally mounted.
Originally posted by Nan:
I just don't understand why it did it to two of them, but not the other one.
Were they hanging in the same place? Could be a different air flow causing more rapid warming and cooling. Could be moisture in around two of them? Were they left in a car? Were the points too tight? Could be the way the package was put int he frame they were "pinched" preventing expansion and contraction. Unfortunately, without looking at them, the list goes on and on. Even looking would likely not be conclusive.

Find a local framer and ask some questions. If you came in my shop, Id show you how to hinge and explain a few things. Maybe a local framer will help you out. Try one that also has art supplies. They often will "teach" more because they are also trying to sell the supplies.

good luck, and have fun!
I learned to drymount in my photography class when I was a freshman in highschool. That would have made me thirteen years old.

Drymounting is not that difficult. Yes, a drymount press is expensive but the process of drymounting (especially artwork up to 11 x 14) can be learned pretty quickly.

One other thing that can cause warping or waviness would be hanging your artwork on an exterior wall in your home especially if that wall recieves a lot of sunlight. The tempurature change from cool to hot to cool again can cause all sorts of problems for artwork.

good luck with your photo's
You could try PMA (Positional Mounting Adhesive). I think 3M makes it. You might have to get it through a framer. I think UMS has it.

It comes on a roll and is good for up to 16" x 20" photos (or maybe it's up to 18" x 24"). I can't remember. Anyway, it's on the instructions. You wouldn't need a dry mount press.
Thanks to you all Again!! I had these prints printed at a local shop on Real photo paper. I mangaged to extract one of them so far by carefully cutting the tape in a few places. I reattached with just the two pieces again. It's better than it was, but I still see a bit of "non-flatness".

Do you guys think it would help if I put more "filling" behind the picture so it can't move as much?


Nan :confused:

Placing a “filling” between the photo and backing substrate is not likely to help. To keep your photo absolutely flat (so it doesn’t ripple), you will need to mount it somehow i.e. bond the photo to a smooth backing.

Jana’s suggestion of PMA might be the way to go. We generally buy our stuff in rolls, but 50 feet of it might be more than you will ever need.

If memory serves me, some of the better equipped retail photo stores used to sell sheets of PMA (in standard sizes) under the Falcon® brand name. I don’t know if Falcon is still around, but you might check either your local photo shop or on line for it.
Originally posted by Nan:
...Do you guys think it would help if I put more "filling" behind the picture so it can't move as much?
As Cliff pointed out, the frame's contents need to be able to acclimate to ambient changes by expanding and contracting. So, making the frame package tighter might actually make the wrinkling worse.

I agree that hinging is probably your best strategy if you don't have a dry mount press. For a photo up to about 16x20, two 1" square hinges would be adequate. Place the hinges only on the back of the top edge as noted above, and make sure the tape covers no more than 1/4" of the paper, so that 3/4" goes onto the mount board.

You can hinge with a good quality clear tape. 3M #888 is strong polyester with a very good acrylic adhesive; among the best if you can find it. For economy jobs, Scotch Tape is not too bad, but avoid anything like masking tape.

I also agree about avoiding spray adhesives. Aside from the toxicity issues, that kind of mounting is likely to fail within a few years.

One point that I don't recall seeing above:
Are you sure these photos were perfectly flat when you framed them? Often, slight damage occurs from handling before framing -- such as lifting with one hand. That damage does not show when the photo is flat on a table, with no shadows and with light coming from all directions. But when the same photo hangs on the wall, light usually comes from one direction and casts shadows, which make wrinkles much more visible.

You may be right. (Now wouldn't That be a surprise???)
I don't think I handled these pics as tenderly as I should've. I'll probably have the 8 x 10 reprinted and MAKE SURE I don't bend it! You think these photo places would give you your bigger prints with some type of thin cardboard or something. I thought of that on my way home. It was probably already dented before I even got it in my car!!

Thanks for all your help!!