Help needed framing medals


Grumbler in Training
Jul 27, 2003
England, Kent
I want to frame some of my late fathers medals. Can anyone tell me the best way to attach the medals to the mountboard so they don't move around, without damaging the actual medals.
Also any idea how to clean the medals without damaging them.
Many thanks


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Forum Donor
Oct 13, 1999
Oak Park, MI
Metals have one of 2 attachment hardware styles.

If they are sharp studs with a protective endcap, I simply push them through the mount board. I start the hole with an office "push pin" to avoid indue stress on a possible weak solder joint behind the award (metal) and replace the endcap behind the mound board.

If they are "pin backs" (a clasp style attachment used on broaches), I cut a slot the size of the clasp and enlarge the ends with an awl (ice pick) to match the clasp. After pressing the clasp through the mound board I then wedge a flat hanger (metal stamping hardware with 2 holes and no swivel wire ring inserted) between the back of the mount board and the clasp. I secure the hanger in place with a piece of tape. Yes, the bottom fob of the award will swing as a frame is moved. Gravity will set them in place after the entire package is hung on a wall.

I would not attempt to clean any metal. I leave them as is. As with coins and other collectables the patena is everything.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Donor
May 19, 2000
Suburban Central Ohio
Like Jerome, I wouldn't try to clean the medals. Mount them as-is.

My favorite method of medal mounting is to use an overlay of clear film (AKA Mylar-D or Melinex 516). There should be detailed instructions in the archives, but here's the short version:

Trace a template of the medal's shape on a piece of scrap matboard, and draw three or four 1/8" wide "legs" extending away from the perimeter of the shape. These will become straps which are pased through the mount board, to hold the medal securely.

Next, tape a piece of clear film over the template, which is at least 1-1/2" larger all around. Trim out the shape with a #11 X-Acto knife (or your choice), including the "legs" you drew.

Lay the clear film overlay in place on the background board, and mark where each "leg" should pass through. Cut the slots just inside the perimeter, so they won't be visible after the mount is done.

Fit the medal in place under the overlay, pass the straps through, and secure them with 3M #889 double sided tape.

The pinbacks can be secured by trimming a slip of clear film to the inside width of the pinback. Loop it over the closed pin and pass it through a slot in the mount board; secure it with 3M #889 double-sided tape. (ATG & most other adhesives will not work on clear film, by the way.)

This method gives very good support to the heavy part of the medal, removing stress on the pinback and fabric. Also, the medal can't move around and mar the background board -- a real plus if you're using suede background.


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

In Memorium

Rest In Peace

Dec 7, 2001
I just Finished giving a presentation at the Tri-State PPFA in Cranbury, Pa. about Framing Military Memorabilia.
If you have not visited the Military Cemetary in Cambridge you should go. I am a U.S. Marine Veteran. I spent a semester at Cambridge. I stayed at Trinity Hall next to Kings College. I went punting on the Cam every Sunday. Great memories Beautiful Country.

This is a very good Question. You should not polish these medals as they have been treat with a covering to prevent oxidation. If you polish them with any thing abrasive or caustic you will remove the coating and they will then really tarnish. Clean only with soft damp cloth and don't get the ribbon wet. If really dirty try a cotton swab but reference to see what it was suppose to look like originally it may not be dirty at all.

Just to Clarify most Medals come with a pin clasp, Most WWll ribbons also came with pin clasp, Most Post WWll ribbon come with pin post (stick pin), Badges & Metal Insignias mostly come pin post (stick pin).

As far as the mounting medals if it is a pin clasp mount. I align the medal on the board & make a slight impression by appling a small amont of pressure.
Then take an exato knife cut a 1/16" slit in the board from one end of the pin impression to the other. This is to allow the pin part to recess.
Take two pieces of Acid free Linen tape approximately 1/4" wide by approximately 4" long. (Two pieces of tape are used so you can pull one side tighter to make the medal hang straight if needed.)
You slide the tape between the pin and the medal ribbon bar wet the tape & creat a loop just over lapping 1". Then do the same with the second piece of tape.
Take the two ends and feed it back through the slit. Pull the tape tight and adjust it so the medal hanges straight. Wet the tape and secure it to the backing. That secures the upper part.

Then if you do not want the lower part of your medal to just hang loose.
Take a piece of thread the color of the medal or as close as you can find. Put the thread through the hole in the medal where the ring for the ribbon is or through the ribbon where the ring for the medal is.

Make two small holes in your mat board run the thread through and secure it by tieing it in a knot on the back side of your board. Just for extra care so the knot does not work free I then place a small dot of white glue on the knot. That should take care of the bottom part moving.

Hope this helps.
Good luck

A really Great group of framers at the Tri-State meeting.

[ 04-02-2004, 06:52 PM: Message edited by: GUMBY, GCF ]


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Sep 18, 2002
Huntington Beach, CA
Thought I would bring this topic back to the top.

I just had a guy come in yesterday with a dozen war II medals that he needed framed before the end of the day. The framed piece is to go on display today for the wake and then placed in the casket. This is the first time I've done this so I didn't charge him much, $100 bucks cash.

The size is 12 x 11 and I made 3 openings with double mat.

A problem that I ran into was aligning all the ribbons 4 bottom, 3 middle and 2 top. Each ribbon had 2 push pin (like) things which I pushed through the mat?

I tried everything but kept screwing it up. Finally did it by eye...well yes, it looked ok but I don't think this is going to work always this well.

So, what technique do you use?

HEY, a customer.....yea....come-on in, sit right down, baby...wink


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Oct 20, 2003
Northeast US
Did you try drawing the guidelines on the back of the back mat, and then putting the pin holes in?

Another technique: draw your guidelines on a piece of cheap paper. Cut a few slits in strategic places. Tape the paper to your back mat. Attach the objects. The slits that you cut will allow you to easily tear the paper off. I got this idea on the grumble a while back, I don't remember who posted it. It sure made attaching 30 motorcycle club patches to a mat easier.


PFG, Picture Framing God
Jul 10, 1999
Howards retired
I use chalk put on the sticky-outy part of the medal, and push down on the top when I have it just where I want it. Any residue is easily dusted off if necessary.