Mounting Prints to Foam Core

Lisa A

True Grumbler
Jan 20, 2004
Haymarket, VA
Hello Grumblers,

As a novice in the framing world, I've got a question for the experts. Without having access to a dry mount press, what's the next best way to permanently mount a print to foam core? The last one I did is now rippling so I don't want a repeat performance of that!

Any advice you can give, is much appreciated. :D
Crescent makes a product called "Perfect Mount" on Foambaord. Very easy to use and I've had good results.

That's what I'd recommend.

Welcome to the Grumble!


[ 01-20-2004, 02:33 PM: Message edited by: MarkG1 ]
When you say you don't have access to a dry mount press, does this mean you yourself do not own one or nobody in your area has one? I'm a home based framer and I do not own one but the shop where I buy my supplies does dry mounting for a minimal charge. Otherwise I've made friends with a couple frame shops that usually only charge me the cost of materials. This cost is of course passed on to the customer.

As Mark suggested "Perfect Mount" works well also and is easy to use for smaller pieces. For larger ones I would find someone to dry mount for me.
Thanks for the quick responses. I have seen the Perfect Mount but was under the impression it still needed to be put under a hot press. This is a good sized print (26 x 37) so it sounds like I should just go make friends with the local frame shop.
Forgot to add that I was considering using the spray adhesive from Krylon or 3M. Is this a bad move or are there times when this is useful?
Forget the spray. You'll kill too many brain cells and probably get bubbles later on.

The Perfect Mount works without a press, though you'll want a rubber brayer (roller) to apply some pressure once it's in position. A cold vacuum press works well with Perfect Mount, but it's not required.
I use the 3M photo-mount for 8x10 or smaller that I float mount. For the size you're looking at I would go with dry mount.
The comment Denny made is good.
I do mounting for a number of local home-based framers. I charge enough to cover the cost of materials. I do this as a fellow framer. Don't make any $$ at it but I figure it builds some good will.
Ah Lisa, I've found another like me! I have had the same press or access to one. I have been using the self stick foam core for some time with very good results! Started with Crescent (acid-free) "Perfect Mount"...worked fine. The last I got was Bainbridge...seemed a little more agressive glue wise...not sure if it is "acid free".
As long as your prints are in pretty good shape (no little creases, etc.) it should do well. Of course I can only imagine a real press could vacuum out some minor imperfections. I have gone the spray glue route...messier and not good for your brain (as afore mentioned). Isn't framing special???? And Mom wanted me to be a used car salesman............
framerboy said that perfect mount is acid free? is this correct? i would assume not, but i do know when you assume you make an A$$ out of U and Me. Correct me on this if i am incorrect folks.

Of course it's acid-free. **** -near everything is acid free - including standard fomeboard.

Which is what the Crescent Perfect Mount on fome is.
Ahhh...........the acid free debate you say! Well the peel off paper says it is, sooooo.....what should we believe? I was told one time by someone I "assumed" would know, that even regular paper matboard was "acid free"!! They (the manufacturers) just didn't "publish" it! I would like to know the I am only "humble" Frameboy, grumbler in training..........
Sorry. That was flippant.

But it's true. Nearly every board available to picture framers today is acid-free. That term means almost nothing.

The best of them - the Alphamats, rags, etc - will stay acid-free. The decorative boards are buffered and will remain acid-free for a period of time, but still contain the wood pulp impurities that will eventually undermine the board - and the art.

When you're talking about a pressure-sensitive mounting board, it's probably academic. You wouldn't use it for c/p framing anyway.

And do visit the FACTS site (see my signature) but don't try to read everything in one sitting. You'll go blind.
Does $25 seem like a reasonable price to have a shop dry mount a print to foam core? It seems awfully high to me but I don't know what the going rate is. :confused:

I checked 3 shops and that was the lowest price. Just wondering what those of you out there would charge for a 26x37 print with the foam core provided?

My retail price for that size would be $26.
If you supply the foam core I might deduct several dollars ( $1.99 for regular or $3.45 for acid free). But I dislike doing work with other folks materials, so I might not do the job at all. :(
That is not high. It basically takes a whole 32x40 sheet to do that size, figure materials, time and equipment and it is probably cheap , ooops inexpensive.

[ 01-21-2004, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: JPete ]
If you're going to go the vacuum dry-mount route,

then I would have it mounted on a smooth matboard

(alphamount or cafx) instead of directly onto

I don't mean to be mean-spirited, but why does $25 seem high, especially if it's the lowest price of the three shops you checked.

Are you suggesting that it is more than you want to pay or it's not worth $25?

Remember, the shop that is charging you the lowest of all his market still has to pay for all the things you don't want to pay for-like the machine, the inventory the time, the experience, the knowledge.

If you don't mind sharing, what will you charge your client for the same service?
$25 was just more than I expected since I thought that the only costs involved were the tissue between the print and the foam core and the labor. I realize the machine is very expensive...that's why I don't have one yet!
One shop did say part of cost was the foam core with the mounting tissue in it so I would be paying for that too.

I don't mean to imply that the shops did not deserve this price, I just had no idea and wanted to confirm this with everyone here. Now I will know for next time and will confirm with my customer as to how much they'd like to ensure their print doesn't ripple or move later on.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

costs for drymounting are tissue, foam core, labor and OVERHEAD (overhead includes a small fortune in electicity when you turn the drymount on), and a sinking fund for new equipment.

[ 01-22-2004, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: Maryann ]

Invest in a roll of Perfect Mount. You can get it from United Mfgrs in two different widths.

I do have a large heat/vacuum press yet there have been more times lately that I prefer the Perfect Mount. This is especially true on computer printed materials - I don't want to find out what heat will do to some of these digital things. Better safe than sorry!

Cyndi: explain please Perfect Mount in rolls: is it acid free? Do you use it for digitals? Love to know more.

Just goes to showya always learn something new here. ;)
PMA or perfect mount adhesive, comes on a roll and is produced by 3M, available thru United. It is burnished on the back of a print, then the print is burnished on a backer board (we use mat board). I believe it is only recommended for images up to 16 X 20 but we have used it on larger digital prints without any problems. Check the United catalog as to the acid free status. I think it is but I'm not totally sure. When we mount something, conservation isn't an issue. We have been using PMA instead of the drymount for smaller things because there is less chance of something going wrong. (Like applying heat to something that you didn't know was digital)
Just to clarify, PMA - the 3M product - is Positionable Mounting Adhesive. Perfect Mount is a Crescent product.

Both are available on rolls and the performance is similar - but not identical. Some truly prefer one over the other. I happen to like the Perfect Mount, though my favorite version - Perfect Mount on Super Smooth board - is apparently no longer being produced.

One advantage of the cold-mount rolls is that you can mount on any substrate you want. Got a magazine page? Mount on black fome or matboard to minimize bleed-through (both adhesives are clear.)

Depending on the material you're mounting, don't count on either material being truly repositionable. The bond gets stronger overnight, but can sometimes be quite aggressive on first contact. (Just like FramerGuy.)
My 2 cents:
How do you know if ANY adhesive really works if you haven't seen the piece again after 5-10 years of being hung over a fireplace? Believe a manufacturers untested claim?
Do you know of any test that would prove or even predict bond longevity?

I think that part of the cost of mounting would be to cover the risk - especially today when it's hard to tell what heat, moisture, or solvents will do to the art?

FACTS is just starting research on framing adhesives and tapes. If you have any input - now is the time to be part of the soultion. Please contact me at 1-800-227-9934 or email at

Anecdotal stuff is welcome too - especially failures. Mistakes are how we larn!

I stand corrected - the 3-M product is available on rolls in 3 different widths. The Cresent product (Perfect Mount) appears to only be available on boards. It doesn't state anywhere, for either product, that it is or is not acid free. As a matter of fact the Cresent product information in the United book is virtually non-existant. 3-M put a little more effort into their information but it does not state acid free in the ad, on the box, or on the literature in the box.

Using these products is an alternative to dry mounting and not something that would be used on originals, LE's or other works of potential value. And yes, the argument could be made that EVERY piece is potentially valuable but that is something that each one of us has to determine for ourselves - with the help of the owner of the item being framed.

There will always be a risk in everything that we do. The challenge is to learn as much as possible in order minimize the risk and still provide a resulting product that satisfies the customers wants and needs.

Crescent Perfect mount comes in 32x40 sheets instead of rolls. (In addition to x-board, 3x board and fome.)

I don't think cold mounting, with the possible exception of wet mounting in a vacuum press, can ever be as permanent and reliable as heat mounting with tissue.

But heat is getting scarier all the time with all the mystery-media that comes in. Sure, I'll hinge whenever possible, but when the decorative print comes in in a tight little roll (like a steel trap) it sometimes needs mounting.

If I accomplish one thing this year (and I hope to) I'm going to have another look at the 3M prospray system. I think that just might be the answer.

And if TCM doesn't have their spring break open house in the middle of a blizzard, I'll bet they'll have demos.

[ 01-23-2004, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Ron Eggers ]
Greg's point about longevity of mounting should
be carefully considered. When water-activated
or heat-activated adhesives were used, they
were likely to maintain their hold until they
were re-activated by water or heat, respectively.
Pressure-activated adhesives have two failure modes that can be predicted. If the mounted material begins to warp, it may pull away from
the adhesive, since the pressure of the warping
can counter the bond of the adhesive. Another possibility is that as the pressure-activated adhesive ages, its oxidization will cause it to go stiff and cease to function as an adhesive. This latter possibility is likely to be years down the road, but one should be aware that this can happen.