REALLY Big Hanging....


Inactive Account
Sep 5, 1998
New Cumberland, PA
We have a client with a 7' x 27' photo mural .... about 75 years old ... it's going into a bank building for display. It's on sturdy linen .... so .... how would you hang it? I'm thinking it should be under plexi ... somehow .... it has potential value, so no wallpaper paste (just had to clear that one up ..)....

Since the client is likely to want to have the
photo flat, hanging may not satisify them. A support panel can be made of 1" thick Gatorfoam.
Very strong joints can be made between the sheets
with hot melt glue and Mylar. The trick is to get
high temp hot melt, 3797, 3792, 3748, and the Polygun TC they fit in. (United carries them)
One person extrudes the glue on a strip of Mylar
and then a second person places it over the joint
and burnishes the glue into the joint with a bone
folder and flattens the Mylar in the process. That
is repeated on the other side and when the glue is
cool, the joint is ready. The lined photo could
be secured, by its linen margins (if it has any)
with linen tape to the back of the panel. The
panel could be held on the wall with stainless
picture wire, that has been set into grooves in
the panel and secured with hotmelt.

Hugh, how about using acrylic sheets as a mounting substrate? Wouldn't that be less chemically invasive than Gatorfoam? Considering the size, I guess the significant weight difference might not be an issue, as the whole thing would have to be screwed to the wall anyway.

For the glazing at least, I would contact Cyro. If anyone could make a sheet that size, they could, probably with UV light filtering.

If not a continuous sheet, perhaps several sheets could be fused together with nearly-invisible seams. One way or another, I would guess it is possible to do prepare the glazing and mount boards and ship them directly to the installation site, where mounting & final assembly might be done in a weekend.

The frame could be custom finished to match the wall and attached directly to it in advance, including two rabbets with a built-in spacer between them -- one for the glazing and one for the mount board. Three sides may be secured in advance. After the mounted mural and acrylic are in place, the remaining rail (in pieces) may be added.

A huge, challenging job like this always seems easier to those of us who don't have to get it done.

Good luck. Will you let us know how it turns out? How about weekly updates?
Because of the size, the plexi for the front would have to be more than 1/4" thick, say 3/8" (.354 in the plexi biz). It would likely be a custom cell cast job from the manufacturer. I'd guess the cost would be several thousand. Given the size, it would weigh 415 lbs. Because of the size and carefull handling, it would cost several hundred just to ship.

Imagine the extra hands and rigging needed to assemble such a piece!
As Jim points our, Gatorfoam is not made to be
used as a preservation material and covering it
with a skin of barrier material, such as Marvelseal 360 would answer that concern.

Considering that you have a 27 foot piece I would mount stretcher stock to the wall then stretch the piece onto that. I would then trim the piece out using dimensional lumber (oak 1x4). Finally, I would use stained glass moulding (chanel moulding) for the frame since you will have to splice material together and this moulding has a lot of meat to it for splines.

Now mount the bottom and side rails. Set your plexi sheets in place one at a time (with people holding them) and put the top rail in place. You can use the same solvent used to make plexi boxes to seal the seams in the sheets. This will leave seams but they will be very fine lines. The trim (1x4) oak will create the spacing needed to hold the plexi away from the art.

By the way, you did not mention whether this display will be permanent, semi-permanent or short term since that and cost may or may not be a factor.

I just recently saw a source for chanel moulding. Should you wish to go this route I can locate that for you.