Mounting & Stretching


There are several different mounting processes you should consider when framing or matting your piece. In all instances mounting is simply the process in which the artwork is permanently attached to a board. Original works or pieces should not be mounted because it will ultimately loose its value and no longer be able to be removed from the board.

Dry Mounting: is a process that clients may want to carefully consider. Through the use of a vacuumed heating press, your work is attached and flatted permanently to a backing board. This process is primarily for aesthetic appearance and helps remove winkled or creased areas in the work. We carefully explain this process to our clients to insure that dry mounting is the right choice for their piece.Class B 6-25-15

Cold Mounting: is the application of a uniform coat of adhesive to the back of the artwork for the purpose of mounting it. This process does not require heat to activate the adhesive. Cold mounting doesn’t require a mechanical press and is therefore much less expensive than heat mounting.

     Spray Mounting: is a simple method of cold mounting in which a spray adhesive is used to coat the back of the artwork. Using an aerosol adhesive spray like 3M Photo Mount, Spray Mount or Super77 it has thevirtues of being cheap and easily accessible but is unfortunately messy and hazardous. This process is simply done by holding the can of adhesive about 6”-8” away from the back of the artwork and spray while moving the can back and forth, applying a uniform coat of adhesive. Spray beyond the edges of the artwork onto the surrounding newspaper. Stopping at the edges of the artwork can cause build-up along the edges. If the adhesive is not applied uniformly you may end up with air pockets or bubbles.

mount-tissue     Mounting Adhesive: A better alternative when you want to float mount artwork or any time you simply want to coat the back of the artwork with adhesive and not the surrounding the area is Positionable Mounting Adhesive (PMA).  PMA is a lightly tacky sheet that comes on a 50 foot long roll in lengths of 11”, 16” or 24”. To use PMA simply unroll a length of the sheet and cut it so that it’s slightly larger than the artwork.  Place the artwork image side up on the tacky side of the sheet.  Place the included release paper over the artwork, and use the included burnishing squeegee to apply pressure through the release paper to the artwork.  When you peel the artwork off the sheet, the adhesive will come with the artwork in a uniform coat on the back. Next, place the artwork on the mat board or foam board you want to mount it to.  PMA is fully repositionable, so you can peel the artwork cleanly off the mounting surface as many times as is necessary to get the positioning right. When you are satisfied, place the release paper over the artwork and burnish again. When you burnish the second time, the bond becomes permanent.

Wet Mounting: involves the use of a water-based adhesives to bond the artwork to a mounting board. The moisture in the paste that is used can also affect artwork in such unpredictable ways temporarily changing the size, shape, and character of the paper or board to be mounted. It can permanently affect watercolors, inks, dyes, and the sizing in the paper or board, and will definitely ruin artwork done with charcoal and/or pastel. Sometimes, however, wet mounting is the only system that will work for a particular job, such as in the classical form of water-reversible archival mounting. There are some pastes that are thick enough it can be rubbed in withthe ball of the hand and then applied. Other pastes are thinner so that it can be spread with a scrap of board or it can be brushed on. The paste is then applied to a board or to the back of the artwork. After you have applied the paste, the artwork should be laid over the mount with the center touching first and the sides held in your hands gently released. Cover the artwork with a sheet of Kraft paper and flatten it out in a “sunburst” pattern, working from the center outward. If the paper is thin, hard, and absorbent, and has not been predam­pened, you may introduce new wrinkles at this point in mounting. This is where experience counts the most. The mounted artwork has to be covered with a blotting paper and then weighted down.  The mounted artwork should be allowed to dry in this manner for about 48 hours.


Canvas Stretching 

Stretching a canvas is the process in which the canvas fabric is stretched onto stretcher bars. We carry two types of stretcher bars, Heavy Duty or Light / Regular Duty bars. Heavy Duty stretcher bars are about 1″ – 2″ in depth which allows for the canvas to come off the wall more so then the regular stretcher bars which tend to be about 5/8 – 3/4″. It is a very stylistic choice with pros and cons to it. Using Heavy Duty stretcher bars tends to limit certain framing choices because the frame itself has to have a deeper rabbit to cover the sides of the canvas. Light Duty stretcher bars offer the option of being side stapled or back stapled so that much more of the canvas may be shown or hidden depending on the size of the piece. The overall process of stretching a canvas is somewhat labor intensive and time consuming. Sometimes if you are very “handy” depending on how many you want to do and/or your overall budget, it may be beneficial to attempt to do it yourself. The process requires a few materials in order to be completed successfully. You need the stretcher bars that the piece will fit around, a staple gun, canvas pliers (they resemble pliers but with a longer clasp) and optionally you might want a mallet to knock in your stretcher bars.

The first step is to build your stretcher bars by connecting and knocking in all four sides to create the frame. Some people may want to add some extra drops of wood glue to completely bond the sides but it is not necessary, to ensure the sides are connect you can use a mallet and knock the sides in again. To be extra precise you may want to get a leveler and make sure the sides are all leveled out again this is no necessary but something you may want to do. Then lay your canvas piece face down on a flat clean table where you can easily work from. Lay your stretcher bar frame on top of your canvas piece (again the artwork should be facing the area your working on) then lightly pencil mark the outline of the stretcher bar frame onto the back of the canvas. This will allow you to see how much overlap the canvas will be around the frame. If you are losing too much your artwork to the sides of the stretcher bars you may want to consider getting a smaller size so all of the work fits. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the stretcher bar frame, now its time to stretch. The best way to stretch your canvas is by working from the inside or middle of the bars to the outside and work on all sides at once. Start from one side, pull and staple the canvas to the back of the stretcher bar. Then do the same for the opposite side but utilize your canvas pliers to get a good grip on the canvas to stretch it over and staple. Continue this for the other two sides, gripping and stapling the canvas to the stretcher bars. Then return to the first side and work on both sides of the original staple, stretching and stapling about two more times then do the same for the three other sides and continue this until you come to the corners of the stretcher bars. Once you reach the corners the canvas should be taught around the stretcher bars and should resemble a drum. If this is not the case then you may need to remove some staples and re-stretch the weak areas. Once you are satisfied with the stretch you can then work on the corners. Simply fold the corners into one another and be weary of how they look before stapling them. Once all four sides are done then you have completed stretching your canvas. All you need now is a simple hanging kit and it should be ready to hang.