View Full Version : mounting material

adrian tyler
8-Dec-2004, 11:02
i've had a look round the archives, and not really found definitive responses to the problem of mounting large prints, in this case 60x60". obviously with a print of that size to keep the thing flat it needs some sort of rigid support, i'm not too interested in laminating the print or siliconing it to plexi glass, i'd prefer to put a traditional glass box frame over the print and the mount, but want the best archival and stablity conditions, the big dilema is what to mount to.

aluminium seems to be the best as far as stablility and neutrality goes, but it is heavy and expensive.

i've seen prints mounted to medium density fibre panel (i don't know what it's called in english, but a lot of furniture and doors and stuff are made of this material, "mdf" in spain), i seems stable and is cheap and not too heavy.

i don't trust foam board too much, i've seen it buckling wildly in humid conditions.

any experince would be appreciated...


Dan Dozer
8-Dec-2004, 11:41

I have an interior designer friend who works with a print mounting shop in Phoenix, Arizona that does extremely good work in mounting poster type art prints to MDF board. As you say, the material is very dimensionally stable and very flat, and might be a good mounting board for large photos as well. I have posed the question to my friend to see if this shop will work with photographs as well, but haven't heard back as of yet.

One thing that I would be a little concerned with is the archival capabilities of MDF board (or any type of particle board material). Some types use certain chemicals like formaldhyde in the binders/glues in the production of material, and I don't know what the long term effects might be on photographs.

John Cook
8-Dec-2004, 12:17
There are many brands and levels of (inferior) quality of foam board. They are soft (dent with a fingernail) and too flexible and whippy.

One brand, GATORFOAM, stands apart from all of these. It is completely rigid and waterproof. Used extensively in outdoor signage. It is available in white, black (including core) and kraftpaper brown in thicknesses from 3/16 to at least one full inch. Available in 4' x 8' sheets, it can be easily cut on a table saw or vertical panel saw.

We have squeezed it inside a hot Seal drymount press and wet-mounted murals on it with sloppy wallpaper paste. It is absolutely bulletproof. You can even stand on it if you're careful.

To get you started in your search for a supplier, here is a web page from Dick Blick which has a few popular sizes. I would suggest a local commercial sign company for a greater selection.

http://www.dickblick.com/zz132/01/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=1011 (http://www.dickblick.com/zz132/01/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=1011)

adrian tyler
8-Dec-2004, 12:30
yes dan

from what i can find out "mdf" board is slightly acidic. which is not too attractive for a long term photogaph mounting.

john, gartorfoam looks interesting, i have seen a material here in spain called "forex" which look similar, i wonder if it is gatorfoam with a different trade name?


8-Dec-2004, 12:33
MDF is used a lot to mount big prints. It works well. I can't imagine it's an archival material, though.

I have a big (50" x40") print mounted on gatorfoam, and it's survived brilliantly for 10 years so far, including 2 moves. It's not in a frame.
No idea about the archival qualities of this material either; the print I have is on RC so i didn't bother asking.

adrian tyler
8-Dec-2004, 13:26
yes, i'll be printing to "rc" too, but i am putting my faith in kodak and fuji to come up with the goods on the "cristal archive" and "endura" spec. sheets... i've bought a chrismas lottery ticket too!

Stan. Laurenson-Batten
8-Dec-2004, 13:26
Hello Adrian.
Until this year I used 3/8 MDF for mounting up to 40X30 inch prints. Far too heavy.

This year at photokina, 'Kapa' of Alcan Composites, exhibited a foamboard that fits the bill for all photographic purposes.

It is foamboard with a polyurethene core, very light but ridged, can withstand all ambient temperatures and humidities.

The edges can be cut without crumbling. It is easy to work. It is flame resistant. Acid free and archival.

Website is: www.alcancomposites.com
You may even be able to get a free sample pack!

tim atherton
8-Dec-2004, 13:31
There are also some lightweight but rigid honycomb core aluminium sheets that work well - I had a big pritn mounted on one - can't find the details right now (might also have been from Alcan)

adrian tyler
8-Dec-2004, 13:45
thanks for the link stan, i can seenow that "forex" is from alcan too...

tim atherton
8-Dec-2004, 13:50
Okay - you'll have to hunt down the details - Dibond which is two thin sheets of aluminium with a polyethelen core - about half the weight of straight aluminium, or Alucobond, somewhat thicker or Alucore which is a honeycomb type material.

Dibond is the most commonly used

8-Dec-2004, 14:17
Hi Adrian, I know you are in Madrid, but these guys http://www.egm.es/servicios_interior.php?idFamilia=8 (http://www.egm.es/servicios_interior.php?idFamilia=8) do a lot of work for MACBA and others in Barcelona, including Sergio Bellinchrom's large format (in all senses of the word) prints. The other guys who do a lot of large format work locally are these http://www.sabate.net/ (http://www.sabate.net/)

Bruce Watson
8-Dec-2004, 20:38
The problem with a conventional frame is the weight of the glazing material. Also, the reflections. You've got the major ways to do it - aluminum and gatorboard.

One of the advantages of digital printing using an inkjet printer is that you can print on canvas. You stretch the canvas onto a stretcher frame just like an oil painting, and frame it in either a conventional frame or a floater frame, just like an oil painting. Classic look, light weight, no glazing. And, you can stretch it yourself - it doesn't take any special machines or materials outside of a staple gun and canvas pliers. This, of course, makes transport of the print very much easier (mailing tube).

But for a conventional photographic print on paper, you've got to mount it to something. How you get it back from whoever has the machines and materials to mount it that size, I have no idea. That's a huge thin plate to ship back - you are going to have to pack it really carefully to keep it from getting broken or bent by the shipper. Something to think about, as is how you are going to ship glass that size.

adrian tyler
9-Dec-2004, 00:51
luckily hogarth, i am right in the centre of madrid, and hanging space, mounting place and my house are all pretty close, once the thing is all framed, bubble wrapped etc. most normal carriers can handle it.

thanks for the links julian i knew of sabate precicely through sergio belinchon, if possible though i'd like to get it mounted here in madrid, for all the reasons hogarth metioned.


9-Dec-2004, 01:01
Hi Adrian,
I'm going through a similar process with a 40x40 inch print. I'm getting it mounted on aluminium and then wooden framed with the glass away from the print, no over matte. The aluminium is rigid enough to hold it. I could have had an overmatte layed over the mounted print but decided not to. Damn thing will be heavy though

Jan Van Hove
9-Dec-2004, 01:54

Sorry for the newbie question, i tend to leave the mounting and framing of my prints to professionnals...

How do you mount a photograph to a metal sheet ? What kind of adhesive do you use ? Is it archivable ? (Probably not if there is some adhesive material involved...)

Thanks for your insights...


adrian tyler
9-Dec-2004, 06:53
<i>How do you mount a photograph to a metal sheet ?<i>

you take it to a professional

<i>What kind of adhesive do you use ?<i>

ahdhesive has been used for centuries to stick canvases etc.

<i>Is it archivable ?<i>

it can be