masking tape residue


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Sep 22, 2003
Had to open a framed package today to remove photos to have copies made. It was framed aprox. 20 years ago. Original frame shop sticker on it.

The original double mat had been taped to the rabbet of the frame with what looks like masking tape and has since aged to leave that lovely sticky masking tape residue. Then glazer points were shot through the tape into the frame.

Do I need to be concerned about the remaining masking tape and sticky residue causing further damage? Can it be removed or do new mats need to be cut?

Nothing was to be done to the package except remove the photos, make copies and frame those for the customer's kids, reclose the package.

Should I tell the customer?
Absolutely, tell the customer! And show them the damage that was caused by the improper use of that tape if possible.

I would also propose that they have new mats cut as the mats that were used 20 years ago on photos probably were paper mats and should be replaced. Check the bevel of the mat to see if it has turned yellow/brown, a sure indication of deteriorated paper mats.

Also, suggest that they have the photos mounted on ArtCare foam board at minimum if they are old and irreplaceable.

I would try to clean as much of the masking tape (highly acidic) out of the rabbet area and try to remove the residue with UnSeal or some solvent that will cut the adhesive and remove it. If you are unsure of the finish on the frame and don't have success with UnSeal, be careful with acetone or any other solvent that you use on the adhesive as it may cause damage to the finish of the frame.

And, lastly, suggest that they have Conservation glass put into the frame package to preserve the photos in whatever condition they are in now. Chances are they have lightened over the years if the glass is regular glass and you don't want them coming back to you later saying that YOU were the cause of any damage to their photos.

Make sure that you cover all the bases with the customer to ensure that YOUR framing is done to proper standards that we use today. What was done 20 years ago can't be undone but you can ensure that further damage to the images can be kept to a minimum.

Also, suggest that they have the photos mounted on ArtCare foam board at minimum if they are old and irreplaceable.
The photos are already mounted to something very sticky because when they cut the mountboard it is very crooked and is larger than the photo and sticks to everything they touch!

The mounted photos were taped on all four sides to the back of the double mat. The tape looked very much like first-aid tape. Tell me that isn't true, please! Maybe it's some type of framing tape used at that time that I'm not familiar with. I know and highly respect the framer who did this job the first time.
I agree with framerguy. I'd feel obligated to tell the customer about any damage done from time/poor quality material. If I were the one with severe damage and residue to the art I brought in, I certainly would want to know about it.
Ah, yessss, framing 20 years ago. I did a lot of that. Micropore tape (yup. First aid stuff, all right) tape all 4 sides of the pic to the mat. Paper mats, uh huh. Oh, for 'archival' stuff we would put a rag mat on the bottom and then blithely put a paper mat on top. Dunno about the mounting part. We didn't have a machine and had to send it out. Hated to do that (nibbled up profits) so we didn't do it until we dug down and bought the BoatAnchor. By then we had figured out that drymounting everything wasn't as keen an idea as we thought, so I avoided that trap. I used to frame that way, and you respect me, right? So don't be disappointed in your colleague's past errors. We've learned a lot in 20 years, and I venture to say that in another 20, we will all be clucking at what was considered state of the art in 2004.

I have great respect for you…….your enlighten of how things were in past will help us understand what we are seeing today and what has been done to improve techniques…

Thank you

Hope you didn't quote a set price for this job in advance. Your labor time on this is going to be significant. Make sure the customer is prepared to pay for it. Otherwise, I would close up the frame again and leave it alone.
I have a printed form that I can hand out when re-doing previous framing, explaining that we can't predict what we will be up against, and that it involves a lot more labor to re-do improper previous techniques. Also, we can't be responsible for broken glass, brittle wood, etc. We will basically only do this type of job at the customer's own risk materials and labor ($) -wise.
Thanks for all your help. I know practices 20 years ago aren't what they are today, etc.

I'm having difficulty removing the glazer points to remove the mat. Regardless of what I do the glass needs cleaned . . . But how to I get those points out? And everything is soooo sticky - yuck!

Hope you didn't quote a set price for this job in advance.
Well, Rick. Actually I had no idea I'd run into this kind of problem. So, no the price didn't include 'cleanup on aisle 7'. LIVE AND LEARN!!!! and remind one's self "never assume anything"
Originally posted by EllenAtHowards:
Ah, yessss, framing 20 years ago. I did a lot of that.
(Dermot, she's just showing off...)
I just (literally!) opened a package - with the customer's approval - just so she could witness what had been done a mere 12 years ago... and she was more than willing to bring it up to date!!!

I like customers like her!!

Oh, how I wish I could have opened this in front of the customer. It was one of those pickup/deliver arrangements.