mounting arrowheads


Dec 15, 2002
Homer, NY - The center on NY State
I have 2 arrow heads that will be going into a small shadowbox. I did a search but did not find an answer. Should I mount with silicone? of mylar? or tie down? When they are mounted I will be tying a piece of leather at the base to look more authentic.
My life is dedicated to getting every framer in the world to mount everything with Mylar-D. However, Mylar-D hasn't been manufactured since 2001. Now it's Melinex 516.

Clear film such as Melinex would be a good way to mount the arrowheads. That would be better than strapping with monofilament, for example, and less invasive then silicone, which might become forever bonded to the arrowheads.

But maybe the best way would be to strap them down with leather laces. It worked for the Native Americans who made them, and it might work for you, too.
Jim, I would (and have in the past) sewn the arrow heads to the backing board with monofilament.

Why is Mylar better?

Don't worry about the mylar-d they quit making it. Besides rumour has it Jim is trying to get the Pizza shops in his town to start wrapping pizzas in mylar. (Just kidding Jim)

I hear Museum wax works well.

I to have used mono I have some hanging at home done 18 years ago still hanging with mono. I did redo the mat to conservation rag and changed the glass to UV a couple years ago but the backing and the mono was doing just fine.

The Leather idea was good but the silicone still a no in my book.
James, this may sound like a stupid question but why did you change the mats and glazing? The only thing I could think of was the UV damaging the monofilament.
I don't think the arrowheads are going to fade. :D

But of coarse, I withdraw my stupid question.
Originally posted by Kit:
Jim, I would (and have in the past) sewn the arrow heads to the backing board with monofilament.

Why is Mylar better?
1. Polyester clear film (that's what Mylar-D & Melinex 516 are) is much stronger than nylon.

2. Nylon discolors & weakens over time, especially with strong light exposure; polyester will not.

3. Nylon stretches/elongates over time, which would loosen the mounts. Polyester is extremely difficult to stretch.

4. Polyester is easy to fasten on the back of the mount board, completely flat. Knotted ends of nylon loosen, and they're bulky.

5. Strips of polyester 1/32" to 1/16" wide, and completly clear, should be less conspicuous than nylon monofilamaent, which is not clear.

I still like the leather lace idea best.
Originally posted by GUMBY:
Don't worry about the mylar-d they quit making it....
Let's not misunderstand the situation. There's no shortage of clear film for framers.

Yes, DuPont did quit making Mylar, but Melinex 516 is an exact replacement for Mylar-D. Nearly all of the old Mylar-D suppliers are now carrying Melinex 516.

Also, The US Library of Congress has approved Melinex 516 as a direct equal to Mylar-D -- for whatever that's worth to us regular framers, out here in the real world.

Note to Gumby -- the pizza-wrapping idea didn't work. Customers were so thrilled with the look of their Mylar-wrapped pizzas, that they hung them on the wall instead of eating them. :D
This is what I did. Customer had many small/medium sized arrowheads. Wanted them mounted with something other than matboard.

I found cheap rugs that looked like horse blankets. Cut them to size of the backer board (imagine my problems when the rugs unraveled faster than my scissors could cut!). That solved...Mounted the arrowheads with hot glue. My thought was the hot glue is reversible. For large ones I would use leather lacings!

Ended up with three shadow boxes, altering the direction of the blanket in each and arranging the arrows differently in each. Customer loved it.
That was three years ago.

Saw them hanging in her home last week and they look really neat.
I sometimes wonder if, somewhere, there is an alternate reality - a parallel universe, maybe - with a AFPP educator named Mij Rellim who advocates the use of masking tape over Japanese hinges, wire and #214 screw eyes over Wallbuddies and monofilament fishing line over Mylar strips.

Sorry. What can I say? It's Friday.
Could this be a job for tulle? I know the tulle experts are out there lurking ;) . . . I can see that the shape may be a problem, but since the fabric is so flexible, it might go into all the grooves ok.

I haven't tried this, but it seems that it might be possible. I'm sure Jim or Ron would know!
I'm a little down on tulle right now myself.

It was great for golf balls. The little dimples and the mesh of the tulle were very nice together.

I got a bigger piece of tulle (a couple of yards, actually, 'cause I was sure I'd be doing this all the time) to mount a baseball and it looked bad - very bad.

I ended up stitching through the laces on the back of the ball.

Nope, I don't see tulle on arrowheads. I guess I'd try Jim's Mylar straps.

Just remember they don't have to be 1/2" wide.
I'm a Mij Rellim convert I use D-ralym for all funky mounting needs as Ynot Eht Regit says
"Errrrrrrrrrrrreht Taerg!"

Yep it's Yadirf!
Sinew = a cord or band of inelastic tissue connecting a muscle with its bony attachment = tendon.

Listed on page 39 of the United catalog, or you can harvest your own from stray cats.

(FACTS has not yet established standards for the use of sinew in the care and treatment of fine art.)
I've given this some serious thought. (Those that know me understand that this requires extraordinary effort.)

I would probably suggest the Mylar for reversibility. Hopefully, I would have something in the shop mounted that way so I could show the customer what it looks like.

Some people find even the very unobtrusive Mylar strips objectionable. (Not ME, Jim! Honest! I LOVE that look!)

If this customer happened to be one of those rebels, I would offer the alternative of an adhesive - providing they are NOT concerned about reversibility. I'm not sure WHICH adhesive - I'd have to look at my arsenal.

You didn't say whether these arrowheads are genuine artifacts or reproductions. If the latter, this may be another one of those discussions we have about overkill reversibility.

Please don't come back with the argument that the customer may reconsider - or her great-grandchildren may reconsider - and come back and sue you. I've made that argument too many times myself.
These are genuine. The customer is having them framed for her husband. He found them in the 50's around the Finger Lakes region on central NY.

I don't think reversibility is a big thing. But wanted to do it correct anyway. Just wants them to display. We are going to attatch the notes his mother wrote about each one to the back in acid free pockets.

So Ron don't worry about a law suit....unless there may be a BIG profit, then I could retire
I just got home from a Black Powder trade meet. One of the vendors had sinew by the yard.

Sinew has NOTHING to do with cats, neither does cat gut. The sinew I was looking at is from deer; cat gut is made from sheep intestines.

Is that more than you wanted to know?

Synthetic sinew is available from suppliers that cater to beadworkers, Native American reproductions like Dream Catchers, and leather workers. It is essentially a form of waxed cord that is used in place of natural sinew.

I wouldn't put any kind of real sinew inside a shadowbox as it will get moldy and rancid in a very short time. I haven't checked but I'll bet that you could find synthetic sinew at most large crafter's stores or at Tandy Leather stores or on their website.

I only mentioned cats 'cause stray cats are more plentiful in most places than stray deer.

Wisconsin and Minnesota are probably the exceptions.

On the other hand, it's been a long time since a stray cat stepped in front of my wife's car and caused $4000 worth of damage, so perhaps deer sinew would be preferable.

I am not insensitive. NO animals were harmed in the making of Mylar or Melinex. Probably.
Here is a stone knife that was wrapped with synthetic sinew by a flint knapper friend of mine. It looks like natural sinew and would be perfect for mounting arrowheads to matboard.


Hope this helps.