Framing: Terms and Conditions

In framing, like every other facet of the visual arts, there are a million little decisions to be made. To keep it simple, we will discuss only the imperative aspects of simple, cost- effective framing. The most important elements of the frame, next to the stylistic ones, are which materials you decide to use. Archival materials, though slightly more expensive, are always recommended- they will protect your work for the long haul and save you trauma down the road. And by doing some of the work yourself, you can save dollars and protect your work at the same time.

Frame components:

Framing terminology:

Cutting the Moulding

cutting the moulding diagram


overmatting diagram

The Mount

It’s not rocket science, but the mount is the most crucial of the framing elements. It must be acid free and reversible, as it is the means of attaching your artwork to a support. There are many ways to customize a mount to the particular problem of the artwork, but for most works, a simple t-hinge will do. All mounts are done with (mulberry) paper and linen tape, which is acid free, archival, and reversible. It comes in a few weights and sizes, use the smallest variety possible for your application. Click on the links below to see a few examples of mounts and their primary applications.

The t-hinge:

If the edges of the artwork are going to be visible (inside a window mat or unmatted), you can use this simple hinge. Tear 2 strips of dampened mulberry paper, mix up a small amount or wheat or rice paste, (or UHU gluestick) and set aside. Tear two small strips of linen tape. Fix mulberry tabs on the back of the artwork with paste so that they protrude 1/2” above the top edge (see below).

The hinges should be adhered about 1” in from the sides of the artwork. Be careful with the placement of the hinges so the cross braces don’t extend beyond the edges of the artwork. Larger pieces will require more hinges across the top edge of the work to support the weight of the paper. In pencil, lightly mark the alignment of the artwork on the backing board. Remove the artwork and glue the bottom part of the paper hinge to the matboard, securing with a cross brace of paper along the top edge. Allow to dry briefly.

Reposition the artwork; weight with book to hold in place. Gently pull back the top edge of the artwork and apply glue to the top flap of the hinges. Slip a scrap of glassine between the top and bottom layers of the hinge to prevent it from adhering to itself during drying. Lower the artwork into place Weight down hinge area while drying for 30 minutes.


Other mounts

paper mounts

Mounting works on paper

Canvas Support:

Rigid Panel Support