Mounting Pictures/Posters/Prints

Young Aussie

Grumbler in Training
Jun 21, 2006
Tasmania, Australia
Dear All

Just looking for some advice please

I am only reasonable new to framing and have made some great pieces, but just looking for how to improve always.

Anyway my main problem is that everytime I get a poster or print sent to me it is in a tube - rolled. So I take them out carefully and place them on a flat surfact with heavier items on the top to flatten the image.

Problem is that even when I frame them I can still see slight ripples in the poster. No one else can really tell but I can and am not happy with it.

So what is the best method for mounting an image to ensure it is flat without ripples.

The methods I know of are to make like a page out of a book, mat cut out on the front, foam core on the back with the image mounted using acid free tape to the top only with a "t" type sticky tape set up ?

The other way is to do the same thing, but place double sided tape on the foam core and then place the image down in the right spot for the mat to go over it ?

Do I need to use some type of glue to adhere the image or poster/print to it ? But then it is permanent ?

Any advice appreciated


Poster, dry mount it.
L/E print.. shame on them for rolling it.
And you half***ed know how to mount those, but stop using the "sticky stuff" and learn how to do Japan hinging.

Any advice appreciated
Don't talk to my wife, or you'll be having a house guest in no time, there in Taz.

Welcome to the Grumble!!

From your post I gather you don't own a drymount press so let's take a look at what you do have as mounting resources.

Decorative posters can be spray mounted with various adhesives but you should know what the disposition of that poster is to the customer. I wouldn't recommend any of these methods for artwork that has any value to the customer.

I would probably use a squeegee to flatten down the poster onto the foamcore board if you don't have access to a dry mount press. Are these prints open edition or limited edition, you didn't mention either one?? I would learn to use hinging as a means of mounting anything that is paper borne and valuable. There are archival clear corners that work well for mounting stiffer forms of paper art.

I find nothing wrong with using the T-hinge method for mounting mass produced decorator posters or art with a good quality tape such as Filmoplast P-90 or equivalent as long as you state such to the customer. Most don't know the difference in one form of mounting over another but it is nice to inform them of what you are going to do with their art piece.

As you progress in your learning to mount different types of objects you will encounter sewing, strapping, building supports, encapsulation, pass through hinging, and many other methods of mounting objects in a frame package.

My suggestions are to be taken as just that. They aren't the only ways to mount paper borne artwork and if you do a search in the forum archives you will find a wealth of information on mounting most anything you need to mount in a frame.

Good luck.

The most practical way for a framer to make a rolled, rippled poster perfectly flat is to permanently mount it to a board using some kind of adhesive.

Dry mounting requires a heat-activated adhesive and a press to create either mechanical or vacuum pressure. Dry mounting adhesives degrade over time and the bond may eventually fail, especially if one or more conditions of time, temperature, moisture, or pressure were not perfect during mounting.

Wet mounting is done with water-based paste. The pressure may be applied by a vacuum press, or by rolling with a brayer before placing under weight to dry. Wet mounting is the most stable over time.

Solvent-based sprays are more costly, toxic and relatively temporary, in that the bond deteriorates sooner than dry mounting adhesives.

When the poster has any sort of long term value, whether monetary or sentimental, permanent mounting is discouraged. All things of value retain their greatest value when in pristine condition, so any such change diminishes value.

In that case, consult a conservator about flattening the paper, or learn to love the individuality of the rippled paper.
Most all papers are somewhat hygroscopic and will absorb moisture.

Both the “rippled” effect and the curled up posters that you are encountering are mostly the effect of the papers having unevenly absorbed ambient humidity. By placing them into a heat press you drive out most of the moisture so that the papers become flatter and much more easily handled.

The washboard effect that you are seeing is more pronounced in thin, cheaper papers often with a glossy surface. However, even if you flatten them perfectly at first, over time they will again absorb moisture and become rippled again. The only way to avoid that is to have them mounted as other suggest. Taping such posters will exacerbate the problem.

I won’t argue the virtues of heat vs. vacuum presses here, but if properly done at the beginning (i.e. pre-drying both the “art” and the substrate), dry mounting, in our experience, is permanent. Neither customers’ complaints nor our wall displays have shown any evidence that the dry mount bond is anything less than permanent.

Deciding which items can be safely dry mounted and which items deserve more conservative treatment is a whole ‘nother discussion.