Your art is important to you, and you don't want to trust it to just anyone during the framing process. What if it got scratched, gouged or torn? Custom framing experts take great care with the items they frame, whether that's custom artwork or a special, irreplaceable keepsake. To put your mind at ease, here's a rundown of the different methods used for custom framing and when they are and are not appropriate.
Dry Mount Framing
Dry mounting is the most common type of mounting used in framing, but it's typically used for flat prints and photographs, not one-of-a-kind pieces of art or three-dimensional items.
When a professional frame shop dry mounts something, they use a vacuum or heat press to attach the art to a backing board and remove any wrinkles. This is permanent or semi-permanent, as the adhesive bonds the art to the backing board. Again, this is great for framing prints, but original art may require a different process.
Never use a dry mount process with any artwork that could melt, like those using pastels or wax. Color copies may also be damaged during the heating process. Finally, a print or poster that has been signed must be carefully evaluated to ensure the ink will not run when heat is applied.
Sometimes called conservation framing, this method seeks to preserve specialty artwork over time. It involves the use of acid-free adhesives and mats so that the artwork will not be damaged, as the lignin in most papers breaks down over the years.
Archival framing usually also includes the use of glazing, or material over the artwork like glass or acrylic, that protects against UV light and fading over time.
While archival framing won't damage your artwork over time, it may still use permanent or semi-permanent adhesives. Make sure you understand what type of mounting that your custom frame shop is recommending, and request the use of corners for mounting if you don't want your artwork attached to a backing board.
Collectable or valuable artwork may be mounted using museum techniques, which may or may not be available through your custom framing shop. Museum framing uses archival methods to prevent damage to the artwork, but it also does not use adhesives that can prevent reframing or that add anything to the original art.
Museum framing may also ensure that proper spacing is used to keep air flowing between the artwork and the glazing used. This keeps the art from sticking to the glass or acrylic front and incurring damage. In some cases, no glazing will be used, depending on how the artwork is to be displayed.
Some frame shops use different terms for their framing techniques. Be sure to ask questions and understand exactly what type of mounting your professional framer is recommending. The more protection your artwork or delicate item requires, the more it will cost to properly frame it so that it lasts and can be preserved for years to come. For more information on custom picture framing, contact a company like Hoosier Highlander.