how to float mount a painting on leather?


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Apr 21, 2006
Pulaski, WI
I need some idea's on how to float mount a mayan calander painted on a 10" x 10" piece of leather. There is a pattern branded around the edge of the leather and they would like to see everything. Another shop told them to put a circle cut mat over the leather to cover the edges, exposing only the painting, this is not an option for them. Any suggestions would be welcome.

"T" hinges with either Frank's Fabric adhesive or Artist Gel Medium.

These can then be wrapped around an undersized rag mat that is then glued down to the backing.
Are these paintings becoming a lot more popular than they used to be? I took one in about 2 weeks ago, and had never seen one before, and then today, another one came in from another customer! How weird.

So artist gel medium would make a good adhesive for this? Is it reversible? What do you make the the hinges out of?
I'm hoping for some more good answers because these things are a nightmare to frame.

Hinges don't adhere well to the leather's suede-y surface.

Sticking it down with gel medium sounds like a really bad idea. You know what happens to leather when it gets wet.

After they've been hanging a while, gravity gets into the act. The leather stretches (unevenly over the painted and non-painted areas), buckles, glumps up, and is just generally not the size or shape you originally cut the fillet to fit.

I'm not sure crepeline would help with the sagging-over-time problem.

If I ever see another one, I think I would be tempted to offer the customer a couple of free thumb tacks if they'll take the thing and go away.

Framinz - it's a tour group just returned from their trip to Mexico.

OK, here goes. FIRST get the customer to sign off on this because it's not reversable.

Leather weld to a sheet of 1-ply rag that is cut smaller than the leather mandella.
Put in press overnight. Or under weight.

This can now be Nori paste hinges all around the perimiter. Cut 8-ply rag mat that is smaller than the 1-ply circle and lay down and fold over the many perimiter hinges and glue down.

Now you can glue the 8-ply to the backer.
Oh cool, here's an opportunity for a learning experience....what's leather weld?
It's a contact cement for leather.

I used to also use rubber cement but it was removable... so I don't know how that would hold over the long run.
Contact cement, leather weld etc. deteriorates pretty badly over the years - can stain and the bond fails.

Depending on the weight of the leather you could try Lascaux HV360 acrylic emulsion - brush it on what you want to stick the leather to (not the leather) and let it dry. May need more than one coat. This will give you a pressure sensitive surface that should hold up as long as there is no flexing.

Or, you could try Beva film if the leather can take 60 degrees centigrade heat.

Rebecca, just wondering where do you purchase Lascaux HV360 acrylic emulsion?
Baer - shame on you. Don't you know that there are framers reading this forum who might not realize you are kidding?

Maybe you could include some smiley face thingies to let people know your suggestions are not meant to be taken seriously.

Originally posted by Kit:
Baer - shame on you. Don't you know that there are framers reading this forum who might not realize you are kidding?...
Not sure Kit, but I think he meant it this time.

With some exceptions, opinions or suggestions found on an open forum like this should be taken for what they are -- opinions and suggestions from other picture framers.

The exceptions would be advice given by a jokester, and advice given by a real expert. Trouble is, some can't tell the difference.

Consensus is the advice seeker's only friend.
With some exceptions, opinions or suggestions found on an open forum like this should be taken for what they are -- opinions and suggestions from other picture framers.

I can't agree more.

As I mentioned in this post we, as veterans of the trade, must be very vigilant when making statements that aren't qualified or are of little long term benefit to the procedures being questioned.

Heck, we all have opinions on most everything but, when somebody asks about something that they have no information with which to base a judgement of the answers, it isn't at all correct to joke about it or make any dubious statements unless we make some jesture to ensure that the reader doesn't take our thoughts seriously.

Kit, Why in the world would you think I was joking? I put my way though college carving leather and the use of many gallons of Leather Weld.

Leather Weld is a specially formulated latex cement that was specially formulated by Tandy leather in the 1970s for delicate the "heavy traffic" leather goods.

It was specifically formulated to REPLACE contact cements in the leather and shoe industry because of their high solvent content; which is bad for the health of the leather crafter and the leather.

The use of Rubber Cement is very common among leather carvers. Heavy kraft paper is glued to the back of carving leather so that it retains its shape when it is embossed with the pounded tools.

Without the paper backing [which is later soaked off], the leather can grow as much as 10-15%

When I carved Mar's leather mat, I bonded 1-ply rag to the back... I don't think I removed it.

Which makes me now worry... Mar, because I don't know **** about anything.... it's probably destroying the photo... you had better rush it off to a leather conservator... [probably find someone knowledgable in Florida] and have them properly conserve the leather... then find a framer who can properly frame it. Sorry I ****** your picture up.
Send me the bill.

Baer I didn't know from your earlier post that Leather Weld is some kind of emulsion. From the name I assumed it was the stronger version of contact cement that is used in leather work. So I have no idea what Leather Weld the emulsion's aging properties are.

The concern with using proprietary materials, especially those intended for another purpose, on client's art is that one doesn't know how they will age and, of course, the whole reversibility issue, which you mentioned.

I don't think anyone would question your skills as a craftsman, you do beautiful work. And I'm sure you didn't mount Mar's photo with Leather weld.


Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
It's a contact cement for leather.

I used to also use rubber cement but it was removable... so I don't know how that would hold over the long run.
I don't think that anyone was questioning your skills either, Baer, but you DID say that it was a contact cement and I can understand Kit's statement based on your statement and that was the reason for MY resulting statement.

And I still maintain that we have a responsibility here to make sure that we are clear about what we tell people to do with someone else's belongings. People are sueing other people and businesses for their OWN stupidity in clamping a hot cup of coffee between their thighs and trying to drive a car for gosh sakes!! And they are winning!! So I am sure that there are very few framers who would like to be placed in some kind of similar situation because they followed advice given here that caused damage to their customer's work. It really doesn't matter whose fault it was when you are sitting in court with your business and home on the line and your future in the hands of some judge who isn't really concerned about whether some guy called an emulsion a contact cement by mistake or not.

If this sounds too ridiculous to consider seriously, remember John Baker's recent situation with his restroom facilities and don't think that you or anyone else is immune to such kooks as this.

From Baer: "OK, here goes. FIRST get the customer to sign off on this because it's not reversable."

When he said that, I knew he wasn't joking, and isn't that what would be called for?? Educate the customer about what you intend to do and let them make that decision by signing that it's okay with them? If they're sqeamish, find another way??

Seems to me that Baer was pretty clear here. And that's saying a lot (for me), as it also seems lately, here on the G, I'm confused a lot about what's "correct". Things I've been doing for years, that were taught to me by our top professionals of that time, have been pointed out that have changed with the times and technologies. I'm learning, right along with the newcomers. For a glaring example (!!) I didn't know, until I came here, that silicone was a no-no, and I didn't have access to a bazillion framers that would tell me otherwise in a heartbeat.

I do agree that we need to say so when we're joking, and joke not at all in some cases. But with an opening statement like Baer's it seemed pretty clear that he was not.
Baer, thanks for balance.

A few things strike me about this whole thread. Not one person asked what the value or availability of this item was. We have to assume its either mass produced in Sri Lanka and available in a gift shop near your for $9.99 or its value is much closer to that of a mid sized house or someplace in between.

I recently framed 3 place mats bought in Africa. The customer paid like $3 a stack of ink pens and a bag of socks for them. I can only imagine what suggestions I would have gotten on here if I would have asked how to mount an African Textile

Thanks Baer. I wasn't aware of this product! I'll keep it in mind.

Since we should assume it might be valued closer to $500,000 why didn't anybody suggest that it shoudln't be mounted or framed at all?
Thank you all for your suggestions on mounting the leather piece.

First let me say that it is a piece picked up in Mexico by the customers on vacation. I believe he paid under 5$ for it. For me, personally, it ranks right up there with the oil painting that come flying in from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica that are painted on what ever scrap fabric they can find and then cut off the wooden strips they were thumb tacked to while painting and the customer want's it restretched and framed for 20$.(opps, sorry I am ranting)

This customer came in with 3 pictures picked up during various vacations. The leather piece, a pictured made on tag board with cans of spray paint, and a small poster. He stopped by me to get estimates, was upset they don't make ready made frames for all 3 pictures, wanted the smallest frames possible, and acid free because a friend of his wifes said don't forget to make sure it's acid free. (she must be into scrap booking, where the favorite word is ACID FREE)
He left with his estimates and went to 3 other shops and returned to me 2 days later to have them done.

I will tell you that he is paying about 75$ to have the leather piece framed, he get's spacers, uv glass, a linen mat, float mount with rag mat, and a small wooden frame lined with aluminum barrier paper.

I am limited to what resources are available to me, and did not want to use silicone on the leather and I knew that japan hinges would not hold the piece. When Baer mentioned a leather cement I checked and sure enough we sell a leather cement made by Tandy in our store! Considering the type of piece, the customer, who if he could would sandwich it in a ready made frame, I feel this product will suit my needs and the customers just fine!

Thanks again, I love this forum!


Oh, I went out to dinner with the other framer he got an estimate from that same night, I handed her the estimate she gave and said,, " sorry you lost the customer" and she said " thank god he didn't come back" ya gotta luv this job!
I have been away for a while so I missed most of this thread. Add to that that My OPINION is just that and is probably less valuable than some .But I'd like to make a few observations here. First there are no EXCEPTIONS ,an opinion is an opinion from anyone and the consensus thing is true even when the contributor has an impressive title or reputation.( there are two old hackneed expressions that I am reminded of ;"Opinions are personal and therfore subject to error." and Opinions are like *** wholes everyone has one.") Also things are changing all the time and those who use what was correct years ago ( regardless of how much of an expert it came from ) will probably miss out on the best answer.

Next the opinion of seeking a signed disclaimer has been corrected several times in the past. You can not legally sign away any one's rights to sue especially if you should know better than they.

And finally the concept that "it only cost $3 " means zilch when it comes to replaceble or sentimental value. I you lose a deceased persons art or work how the **** are you going to replace it ,especially if that person had a sentimental attachment to the client? And therefore you can be sure that suing you is the least that this person may want to do . The Value of an item isn't always what was paid for it. Some times things that cost nothing mean the most.

But most amazing to me is ALL THIS has been discussed long ago and often ,yet here I sit trying o remember all that others seem to have forgotten and I am no expert by any means. But I do know how to do a complete SEARCH and to ask some excepted authorities ( like Conservators,Lawyers,and MSDS of given products)) for a consensus .
I really wished that we wouldn’t suggest that because a topic has been discussed, that a fellow Grumbler should just search it out and not post the question. In theory after a short period of time, everything about framing and business will have been covered and this forum would be useless.

I also will worry about being sued when I see a trend of framers getting sued. I'm not sure that I have proof of a single case. Although there has been some vague alluding to an actual framer being sued, it's hardly a trend and who among us aren't already smoking the BB's is the area of art care????? I frame fearing a lawsuit right up there with framing fearful of the sky collapsing.

Finally I understand that the value of "art" can't always be expressed in dollars. However I strongly feel its foolish to take on a job without discussing this with a customer. Shouldn’t the decision really be up to them?

There is two really bad ways of handling this. One is to not discuss permanent mounting with a customer. Two is to assume that every $3 trinket that comes through the door needs to be preserved.
Originally posted by Jay H:
...There is two really bad ways of handling this. One is to not discuss permanent mounting with a customer. Two is to assume that every $3 trinket that comes through the door needs to be preserved.
Let's add one more:
Three is to assume that every $3 trinket that comes through the door does not deserve to be preserved.

Jay, we agree that communication with the customer is most important. We agree that not everything is worthy of preservation framing. And we agree that Baer's mounting suggestion might be perfectly acceptable in this case.

I hope we also agree that the framer should endeavor to learn whether this $3 trinket holds some significant sentimental value for the customer, who has decided to pay serious money to have it framed.

For all we know, she might have bought it after haggling for half an hour with the street artist who made it, just minutes before he threw himself in front of a speeding truck to save her young daughter from certain death. Heck, she might even have paid for his funeral with the rest of her vacation money.

Or maybe it just reminds her daily of the best vacation she ever had. Either way, another $5 or $10 for better mounting methods & materials might be OK with her.
We do agree that communication is above all most important.

It stops there. If the scnerio you described was the case it would come out in discussing with the cusotmer what they wanted in the piece.

I'll give a quick example. A lady plops a piece of kids art. I learned that the artist was about 15 and had the look of a 15 year old artist painting.

She did address a consern about money and so I was thinking drymount, single mat, and value frame. When talking about permanant mounting piece she told me that her daughter had painted it and died a few weeks later. My thinking then shifted and we quickly changed direction on the piece.

But for ever piece like that there is 400 pieces that don't ever have that type of value. Now your next argument is going to be well how many of the other 400 later became just as important. Some I'm sure! I did suggest to that woman that one really good option is to copy it and/or not frame it becuase light blah blah blah. That piece is on her wall fading away right now. If I was to treat every piece of kids art in this manner, I would have to suggest to every mother that comes in the door that she not frame the piece! How many would tell their friends, "That idiot suggested I scan and preserve little Jonny's art. What a gold digger. Hobby Lobby had no problem framing it."

I sincerly don't want to harm anybodys precious belongings. I also don't want to lose the jobs that the customer just wants to put the fricken thing on the wall!

It's a delicate balance.
Thanks Jim ,you save me a few hunts and pecks. But I'd like to clarify a couple of things.

First Just because every possible scenario may at one time have been discussed there will be no reason not to add all that has been discussed to your actual Consensus of OPINIONS. You will instead have that many more OPINIONS on which to formulate that consensus. I didn't think I nor anyone else suggested that we no longer discuss the topics that have been discussed already. Instead I was suggesting that the best starting place for the discussion and consensus would be what has already been said at length. unless you feel that all that has gone before is USELESS babble. ( which in some cases I agree. But without checking it how would you know?

And next I also agree that communication is above all most important. But that includes the written communication and the spoken one. It would be extremely wise to speak to a customer to determine of what value they held the work being framed ( Not what they paid for it necessarily) .

In my limited understanding the comment ,"The customer paid like $3 a stack of ink pens and a bag of socks for them. I can only imagine what suggestions I would have gotten on here if I would have asked how to mount an African Textile ." IMO strongly suggest that you considered the cost and would then post a question as to the value of an item based on the misleading fact that it was a hard to obtain African import.

If it is an inexpensive piece of little or no personal value to the client shouldn't that be the lead part of any question about framing it?

In fact being clear in communicating your question is almost as important as the customer telling you what they feel. But Good communication should also include helping others who may not know better where they can obtain a host of relevant information with the least amount of effort.( the SEARCH section of TFG or any other Framing forum)Then they can continue their query with a lot of facts and opinions to refer to.

But then I have always been accused of being a POOR COMMUNICATOR. So what do I know? But I do know where to find a list of what other people know about ALMOST every topic in framing and one day maybe everyone.That is as long as they are titled with the most important facts.LOL
Yes !Baer you are some what correct ( I've know where it is for some time, not as long as I have known where the Search section of TFG and HH where but for a while .I just normally am in a too big a rush due to my inability to communicate in writing to take the time to use it.). But I thought if I wanted to be understood I should dot all my Is and cross all my Ts . Other wise some one might be mislead by my inaccuracies. Besides I am probably not going to be in any running for any titles anymore ,even the worst speller. LOL

While I have a lot to learn I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong answers or OPINIONS from my haste to post another reply.

[ 06-23-2006, 10:08 PM: Message edited by: BUDDY ]
Buddy, there was one of your posts about a year ago that I couldn't figure out what you were talking about.... until I read another post and figured that you had posted on the wrong thread. :D [Ain't turning 40 fun?]

When I have taken the time to read with the effort you put into making your point... I have understood you perfectly. Not always agree, but understand.. and that is the point. You do fine, it's the reader who hears with an accent.

We're kind of two peas in a peerow, both have our understandings, and others don't.
Stay happy. And dry this year.
For some reason I feel the need to defend myself here.
I just want to make it clear that I, indeed, did a search on the grumble, before I started this post on how to mount a leather painting. I did not come up with an answer that would work in my case. I also did a search on the web. I am fairly new to the grumble and really don't have alot of free time to be spending hours searching online, so I thought a quick post here and I would get some advice from which I could make a decision on how I was to handle this job. I did get some great advice, Thank you all.

Second, I have discussed with the customer the value and a few options as to how I was going to mount there piece. We did discuss if they wanted it permanent, removable, acid free/ archival and so on. They left the decision in my hands and I fear no law suit in the future!

In the future I will try to research more on my own, it's not my intention to waste anyone's time here or have topics rehashed over and over.

Pauline, Please don't let this thread get you down... there was no way in Miter-land that you could know that you would be getting in the middle of a pissing match. Unfortunately, it happens way to often. And I opologize for it getting uncomfortable for you; it was NOTHING you did or didn't do.

If we can't ask questions here, then it would just be another post site for food, drink, kitties, and Plot hounds.
Perhaps the problem here is how ideas are presented.

Ideas presented merely as possible options, with pros, cons and unknowns included, keeps the dialogue going. Its called brainstorming, there are no winners or losers, and everyone stays happy and engaged.

Ideas presented forcefully as "the answer" can raise some people's hackles and tends to stop collaborative discussion in its tracks. Which is too bad because we then lose variations and alternatives which might be useful at this, or some other, point.

Pauline it is I who need to defend what I said ( I believe the word for that is apologetics) and after you are here for a while you will come to know why that raises the hackles on a lot of people coming from me. LOL

But my Observations were not brought about by anything you said or did as Baer so rightly pointed out.

It is the differences I take with some of your thread's advice. You on the other hand deserve to be commended IMO for doing most of what it took me many years to understand. But then as I said I really didn't take exception to any of your comments. I didn't start taking notice of this thread ( as I think I said in my first reply) Until you had thanked everyone for their help.

That may aim my replies in better directions ,or at least I hope it does.

In some ways Baer's last post and Rebecca's last paragraph says what I am trying to say in a much longer winded way. But I felt My PERSONAL apologies for any offense YOU may have taken to my comments were needed to come dirctly from myself.