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Thread: Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

  1. #1

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    Being the poor student that I am, I can't really afford a dry mount press (and yes I know that you can get great deals off eBay if you look, but that is still too expensive) and for a while I have been looking for a good alternative method of mounting my prints in an archival way.

    I have tried Nielson & Bainbridge Studio Tac and for RC prints it appears to work fine, but with my DW Fiber prints the adhesive just isn't strong enough to hold the print flat and no-matter what I do the edges start to peel back. I was wondering if anybody has tried the Scotch Mounting Adhesive,, and what their experience was using it. I like to float mount my prints so I really need a strong bond that will hold the image flat against the mounting board.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls


    Just a thought, which I hope doesnít make me sound like a grumpy old man: I think that too many young photographers have frantically jumped into trendy, expensive archival processing which isnít necessary.

    Are you, before even entering art school, really making images which will be desperately important to the world in the next century?

    Not to be too negative, but I have concluded that my lifeís work will probably be in the city dump within a week of my death. Who really cares about some old dufferís 11x14 print of a dead tree stump from 1977?

    No matter how poorly you treat your photographs, the chances that they will survive your lifetime are pretty good. Even in a cheap Wal-Mart plastic album stuck to acidic black paper pages with LePageís mucilage. I still have glassine sleeves from 1960 which are holding up just fine.

    My advice: take care of your negatives but donít lose sleep over the prints. Those $5 rag mount boards may not be absolutely necessary. Especially for a starving student.

    If you insist, with a little practice you can also dry-mount prints with a household iron...

  3. #3
    Louie Powell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Saratoga Springs, NY

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    Two years ago, we moved to a new home after spending 32 years in the old place. That was a miserable experience - I have promised myself that they will take me out of the new place with a toe tag.

    To make that happen, I went through the boxes of mounted prints that had accumulated over 25+ years to select the ones that I wanted to keep. The rest went into the trash.

    Now the interesting thing is that I had struggled with archival processing and mounting to make these images - and in the end, I simply put them in the trash.

    The point is that my vision has changed and matured, and what I thought were profound images worthy of the time and expense of archival processing and printing when I made them many years ago no longer measure up.

    So I agree with John that it is more important to take precautions in dealing with negatives, and not worry too much about the way that prints are treated. Unless, that is, you are actually selling them in which case you owe it to the purchasers to take reasonable care.

    When I first started making those mounted prints, I used Scotch spray mount adhesive to attach the prints to the mounts. That worked fine with the single weight paper that I used in those early days. But an almost unavoidable problem with spray mounting is that, if you use a squeegee or brayer to attach the print, the adhesive is going to be thinner around the edges. So when I started using double weight paper, I found that the tendency of the paper to curl was stronger than the bond at the edges, and the edges eventually lifted away from the mount.

    I tried dry mounting with a hand iron. John suggested that is possible - and Ansel mentioned that is one of his books. Sorry - it doesn't work. You can't evenly heat the print/mount sandwich with a hand iron, and the result will be bubbles in the print.

    So from there I moved to the Scotch positionable mounting adhesive. It worked very well - it's easy to use, and not nearly as messy as sprays. And over time, it held up as well as heat mounting. But it's more expensive that heat-sensitive dry mounting tissue. You will pay more per print to mount using the Scotch material than heat-sensitive dry mounting tissue, and eventually those small differences will add up to exceed the cost of a dry mount press.

    My suggestion is to use the 3M material while continuing to look for a used dry mount press. Ideally, you want to find one in your area because they are bulky and heavy, and shipping a used press would be a hassle.

  4. #4

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    Thank you both for your answers.

    I strongly agree that I don't need to be meticulously saving all of my prints dry-mounted etc.

    However, I do like to make sure that the prints that I occasionally sell, or just plain give away to people, are archivally treated. Because who knows, they might just keep them in family for a while!

    So if the 3M adhesive works well than a $50 roll of that should last me atleast a year and save me from having to buy some massive dry-mount press that I don't even have the room for now.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Whittier, CA

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    Hi Daniel ,
    I agree that if you sell your images it is your duty to take care of the archival aspect, not only for your clients , but also for the very sense of pride and love for ,your work.
    If you talk lwith any respectable framer , they will tell you that ANY form of adhesive will be a deterrent to the longevity of the artwork.
    It is a good practice to use linen tape ( as little as possible ) to attach the print to the mountboard as flat as possible , it might show some buckling in bigger sizes , but in time eventually or the problem will minimize because of pressure and stabilization of the print in the environment regarding umidity , or you will learn to live with it.

  6. #6

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls


    I would respectfully disagree with louie. You do not need a press. Check the link for a demo video:

    Try it works,


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    fwiw--PMA works great with plastic based prints, but has problems with anything porous, inlcuding fiber papers. It's also not very good with large prints or large pieces of anything really--anything over a 20x24 is pushing it in my experience, even an rc print. I've been using it for years where I work to mount prints for exhibits. works great with plastic based prints, or some types of vinyl like materials. Lousy with the big prints or any regular paper type product. A 3M rep told us once that PMA was an "office supply product". there are more aggressive adhesives for this stuff, but PMA is very user friendly, and the best choice for small plastic prints. I would not use it for a fiber based print though. It won't harm it, it just won't work as well.

  8. #8

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    I've tried using the PMA and it works OK for RC prints. Fiber prints are another matter. After trying all sorts of ways to mount prints I got a dry mount press.


  9. #9

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    I tried dry mounting with a hand iron. It is hit and miss and I've ruined a number of prints. It might work ok for smaller prints, but once you get to 11x14 I got wrinkles and bubbles a great part of the time.

    Here is something you might try. After your DW fiber prints dry, wipe the backs with a damp cloth to just get the paper to start getting limp. Then Dry between smooth mat boards for 24 hours. The prints should be pretty flat. Then hinge mount them and put under an overmat.

    If you like the look of a float mount, print with big borders and overmat to have the white showing. Pretty good fake of a float mount.

  10. #10

    Scotch Mounting Adhesive Rolls

    I use the 3M repositional mounting adhesive. Works great and so far (12 years) has lasted very well. Most of my prints are framed behind glass and get some sunlight for part of the day. So far no problems. If I have access to a drymount press I will use that first but if not I just use the adhesive.

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