Custom Picture Framing 101 | Mounting Methods

Custom picture frames can really make or break a great piece of art. If you shove everything into a ready-made frame from your local home goods store, the final product mey neither look good on your wall nor protect the art long term. Custom picture framing, however, can turn the simplest object into a work of art. While all the options available with custom picture framing may seem overwhelming, expensive, and even confusing, the most important place to start is how to mount your art within the frame. The wrong decision can be costly. Here's what you need to know.


One option is to have your art permanently mounted. This means that it will be permanently attached to the backing and cannot be removed. The benefit to this is that it will lay flat in the frame forever. While there are many ways to permanently mount art when custom picture framing, the two main options are as follows:

  • Dry mounting. This process uses a thin sheet of paper that is embedded with adhesive. The adhesive sheet is sandwiched between your art and a backing board and placed into a press. The press is heated and the art 'sandwich' is pushed through the system, emerging as one cohesive unit ready to be framed. 
  • Vacuum mounting. Unlike dry mounting, vacuum mounting uses a wet adhesive that is manually sprayed onto the back of your poster or artwork. The art is then placed onto a foam core board and placed into the press. Air is removed from the press and the art is held tight until the adhesive dries. 

The above mounting procedures are permanent and cannot be undone. Art that is a limited edition or original should not be mounted this way as it will destroy any inherent value.

Archival Mounting

For valuable art or art with sentimental value, archival mounting should be your choice when framing. Unlike permanent mounting procedures, archival mounting can easily be removed and will not damage the art. The most common archival method is to suspend the art from the matting with archival linen tape. The art will not lie flat and may ripple slightly over time, but the tape can be removed, even decades later. 

Choosing custom picture frames and custom picture framing can be formidable to the uninitiated. Knowing how to have your art mounted — and why — is an important first step.  

Contact a custom framing company like Nainsook Framing & Art for more information.