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Which way to mount for 20x30? Archival tape or dry mount?

Dustin M , Nov 05, 2009; 02:45 a.m.

I'm printing two 20x30 prints for a customer, and they will be going into a 24x36 frame. I originally wanted to do a small border between the edge of the print and the window mat and sign inside that at the bottom, but I'm not sure if that's the best idea. If I went that route, is my only option to dry mount the print? It seems that if I were to do the border and use archival tape with a t hinge, the print may curl a bit inside the space between it and the glass. By the way, this is a digital print, not B&W, but the paper sometimes still seems to have a curl to it.


Matt Laur , Nov 05, 2009; 11:05 a.m.

I've taken to having all of my 20x30 prints mounted to double-weight archival mat board, by the lab. It completely gets rid of the curling/buckling issue. When I go to frame it behind a facing mat board, I just cut a piece of 3/16th archival foam core the same size as the parent mat, and cut out hole the same size as the mounted print. Then, the backing board makes a sandwich, and everything stays right where it needs to be (and flat!).

Michael Axel , Nov 05, 2009; 12:19 p.m.

The curl has been a concern of mine for some time, because I use a hinged system. But in the end, with a foam core on the back, and a mat on top, it seems to stay pretty flat. I'm against dry mounting for archival purposes. Even prints in museums have some curl and give to them. I use a hinged system up to 60" without problems. Paper will always have some curl to it, depending on heat and humidity. Sometimes it will be worse than others, but I think it is more important to ensure the print, backing, mat and frame are archival than always flat. That's just my 2¢.

BTW, are you sure the frame is big enough for that size print? My rule is generally 4" borders (often more for larger prints), and never less than 3". If you present your image with too small a border, then it makes your photograph look too unimportant.

Matt Laur , Nov 05, 2009; 01:56 p.m.

I agree with Michael, in that the frame you've mentioned sounds a little small, aesthetically ... unless the image isn't actually occupying that whole 20x30 piece of paper.

Dustin M , Nov 05, 2009; 04:53 p.m.

The frame size was something I was thinking about, and I decided to change it to a 27 x 40 frame. This is the largest I can get locally without getting a custom frame. It should work well, with 5 inches in each end, and 3.5 on top and bottom, or 3 on top and 4 on bottom if I do it that way.

As for the mounting, I'd also like to stay away from dry mount, but at the same time I really wanted to be able to leave the border inside the window mat so I could sign. On the small prints that I usually sell, I do the window to where it just covers the edges of the print and I sign on the mat, but this time I wanted to go with the other look since I feel it has a little more professional look to it. Oh well, I guess I can't have it both ways, and I'll probably end up doing the tape hinge with a window slightly smaller than the print, and sign on the window mat.

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