Conservation Framing – How to Mat & Frame a Print using Conservation Materials & Techniques

Conservation Framing - How to Mat & Frame a Print using Conservation Materials & Techniques



in this episode I'm going to show you the devastating effects using non archival material has on your precious photos so stay tuned greetings all my name is Brian Knight and I'm a fine art photographer located in beautiful Omaha Nebraska for a complete list of material that I'm going to use in this video today click here also click here to subscribe if you enjoyed this video today I'm going to discuss the proper way to mount in frame your photograph using archival materials and methods I'm also going to show you the devastating effects using non archival material has on your precious photographs so let's get started recently I had a client bring in this photograph and looking at the photograph you can tell that they use non archival material there's terrible yellowing in the core of the the core of the mat and it's leaching out onto the photograph in there you can see terribly in the corner there and this is caused by the acids in the in the mat leaching out onto the the photograph this is either caused by heat humidity ozone mostly it's because it was a they used non archival material and it's not pH balanced and over the years it's slowly the pH the acid levels have have changed and it's slowly starting to deteriorate and destroy the print now the client told me that this print was taken about 20 years ago so this is a print of Pini Park a pretty famous landmark here in Omaha Nebraska and I know it was torn down in 96 so that would put it roughly 19 years so that would probably be correct so what's interesting is is it took you know probably probably 15 or 16 years for this photograph to start to show the devastating effects one has on not using archival material and you'd never know this until 10-15 years later that whoever matted it for him didn't use the right material so in looking at the photograph I can already see a couple problems I can see here that the glass doesn't go all the way up underneath the frame I see it terrible across the top here I also noticed they used a cardboard piece of cardboard corrugated cardboard as a backing board so those are already problems that I can see so let's go ahead and take this photograph let's take I will show you how to take the frame apart and let's take the photograph out and see what the real problem is so this is a this is a Neilsen frame they're probably one of the best metal frames out there they're not terribly expensive but they're they're leaps and bounds above what you can buy at the local craft store for you know not much less than what you can buy a good Nielson frame for and again I'll have some information on this located in the description below so what's holding the picture in is a metal spring clips and you want to be careful when taking these out because you don't want to damage the backing if this were a pitcher that you are going to reuse the backing on you don't really want to destroy it so you just gently work the clips out and in the clips there's little tiny slits and that'll allow you to get a screwdriver in there and work it out and usually I just take and put pressure down on the spring clamp and stick the screwdriver in there and it just pops right out and there you see just from pushing it out the glass just fell out of the front of the frame so so that could be a big problem but more chances of not they didn't use archival material so let's go ahead and take this apart all you'll need to do is just unscrew the screws that hold the tab in you only need to undo two and just gently slide the top off the frame alright so as you can see the glass certainly does not cover the entire print so and it's not it's not UV glass so you're probably going to get a little bit of fading just from that assuming you know this was hung in a room without direct sunlight this was hung in direct sunlight this picture probably would have been faded quite a bit more than what it is now so let's go ahead and get the glass off of here and let's take the backing board off and let's see what we got and I can already see here that they used a genie aging tea tape to hold the backing on yeah well this is interesting obviously this picture was uh mounted on foam core dry mount dry mounted on foam core and it's not the full size of the eleven by fourteen so this was obviously an 8 by 10 print mounted on a piece of foam core and they wanted to put it into a bigger size and I can see that they used aging t tape around the inner border of the the mat and stuck the print to the to the mat and this is so the wrong way to do this first of all this AGA GT tape is not archival you can tell because it's starting to yellow they sell to brands of AGD tape it's either going to be acid-free or non acid-free and even the acid free archival tape I would never put in direct contact with a print and I can see all around the border it looks almost like there's something leeching out onto the print itself and I don't know if that can be seen in this at all but you can see a little shiny area right in the corner there of where this stuff is leeching out and this is the direct cause of why this print has been destroyed there there's a there's another issue here and what it is is dry mounting photographs especially precious photographs photographs that are our priceless family heirlooms pictures like this where you you may not be able to get another picture in order for this to be truly archival archival means that you have the ability to take it out of its of its mat its substrate its backing and be able to take the actual photograph itself away from the material without destroying it and have it say restore it or moved into new material when you dry mount you permanently mount the photograph to a backing board and in this case it looks like 3/16 foam core and I owned a dry mount press and I've played around with trying to remove photographs from dry mount for the backing once they've been dry mounted and there are some people restores after that say it can be done I've tried it and usually you'll you'll end up doing some damage to your photograph trying to get it unmounted the amount of heat that it would take you have to work quickly to try and peel it back up and even if you do get the photograph from the backing board they're still going to be residual glue left on on the photograph so your photograph has come into direct contact with glue and chances are it's probably not archival so this is definitely the wrong way to mount a priceless picture not to say that dry mount press in fact that's a dry mount press sitting right there is not a way to use it there are definitely applications for using dry mount press but for fine art photography for precious photographs dry mounting is not the way to go so what I'm going to do next is show you the proper way to mount your photograph here you can see the same print of penny Park the client was lucky enough to find the photographer and get another print made a lot of times you don't get that lucky so it's very important that you use the proper materials when you do frame your picture because you know trying to find a picture 20 years later or the artist or the photographer or whatever is pretty rare so here we have a penny park reprinted for for our client and what's nice is it has some borders around it so I'm able to handle the photo without wearing gloves but I do have gloves and I'll show you those in a minute here is the new mat and backing board both cut to 11 by 14 with an 8 by 10 opening and this is a Bainbridge and I believe it's Spanish white this is a 4-ply 100% cotton rag completely acid-free mat and backing board and I went ahead and cut this earlier today and over here is my mat cutter and in another episode I'll show you how to properly cut mats so let's go ahead and show you how to mount your photograph and get it framed back up the first thing you're going to want to do is lay your mat in your backing board together and you're going to want to put a piece of linen tape across here and hinge the mat to the backing board I use a line co linen hinge tape and this is inch and a quarter and this is a self-adhesive linen tape and it's completely archival but do note that this tape will leave residue so if you put it on your photograph put it on your mat if you go to pull the tape off it will leave residue so the way I remove the linen tape from the backing you can stand here and try and separate with your fingers I'm not very good at that so I take a really sharp exacto knife and just stick it in there and you can pull the material away from the backing and what you want to do is you want to but these two together and with the mat opening with the bevel side down against the table and just Center your tape over the two and press it down what this will do is this will hinge the two together and now you have a way of opening this window and this will keep the window in the mat that this will keep the mat from moving around on the backing board because the next thing you're going to want to do is position your print in the opening of the mat and that is just as simple as dropping your mat down over it and this is a good time if you do own gloves these are cotton 100% cotton lint free gloves and I usually order them by the gross once they get a little soiled because they'll use this also when you're cleaning the glass so I usually just stir these away after every time every project that I do I just throw them away and it's just as simple as moving the photograph around in the opening until you get where you like it and once you have it in place then they do sell other their photographic weights and what they are is there they're usually a leather or a soft material full of lead shot that you rest on your photograph and that keeps it from moving here I'm just going to use a piece of a cut from a matte board in this way and this will stop the photograph from moving around because the next thing I'm going to want to do is put on actually attach the photograph to the backing board there's several ways you can attend to photograph to the backing board you saw the first way which is a dry mount press a dry mount and that's probably the least desirable way to mount your photograph to a backing board unless the photograph has no type of sentimental value historic value value price value at all good for probably commercial displays and stuff like that but as far as your precious photographs that's not the way to do it the next way to do it is to use the the line Co hinging tape and not obviously not this thick I think they sell a 3/4 or 1 inch and you attach 2 strips up here and you make a tee and this allows the photograph to hang in there I'm not going to do that today but I will show you how to do this in a different episode the way I'm going to do it today is use the line co photo corners and these are completely archival safe acid-free clear photo corners and what makes this nice is this allows you to completely remove the photograph from the backing without destroying the photograph there's nothing that comes in contact with the photograph as far as adhesives or anything that is acity so the way you do this is you peel the clear corner from the backing there and all if you can see this but that's what the corners look like and you grab your photograph and you gently lift up on each corner and you slide the photo corner on there you don't want to push it all the way down hard to get the photograph just push it in and it'll bounce back and then just drop the photograph down and let's gently touch the photo corner to your backing board so let's go ahead and finish doing this now that you got the photo corners down just gently press to make sure that they've heared to your backing and also you want to check to make sure that the picture moves around in these photo corners and this is very important because this will allow the picture to breathe it allowed to expand and contract due to heat and humidity more humidity than heat if you live in a humid part of the world where you get between sixty and eighty percent relative humidity these pictures are going to expand quite a bit just because the fibers in the paper are going to get absorbed with moisture with water so you definitely want the photograph to be able to float in here this will keep the photograph from buckling the other thing nice about these formal corners is for some reason if you want to change the mat out at some point or let's say in 50 years this photograph needs to be restored it's just a matter of just lifting it out and your precious photograph well not be destroyed in any way now that you have your photo mounted let's close the the mat and see if that's where we like it and that looks good now at this point if I were to sell this at an arts fair then I would probably want to seal the mat to the backing board unless I'm going to frame this now beings I'm going to frame this I'm not going to put any tape on here but if I were I would be huge using my ATG gun and this has a acid free archival tape in it and what you want to do is you want to go around the border of your backing and then close your window press it down and that seals the map to the backing board and that'll keep this from separating and then from here I just put it in a clear archival bag and sell it at a arts fair but beings we're not going to do that we're going to actually put it back in the frame then I'm going to leave this as is and let's go ahead and get to the next step of framing your photograph the next thing we'll need to do is clean the glass what you'll need is your lint-free gloves heavy duty professional glass cleaner and a lint-free rag now the rag is a disposable lint-free rag that you can get at any automotive or framing glass framing supply store the glass cleaner this is actually a heavy-duty ammonia free static-free glass cleaner sold again at any glass supply store or framing store and this is actually really important the last thing you're going to want to use is something like Windex because Windex just doesn't cut through the grease like the professional stuff does and Windex has ammonia and ammonia will destroy your prints if there's any residue left over you could have a terrible interaction and destroy the print so make sure you buy heavy-duty professional glass cleaner and obviously your gloves to keep the fingerprints off now a lot of people that's this is where they kind of make the big mistake as they use Windex and they don't use lint-free rags and what ends up happening is you'll get streaks and dust and lint on the glass that you can't seem to get off so first thing you want to do is spray your glass and the other thing nice about this is it's foamy and it sticks to the glass instead it just runs right off so if your glass is really dirty just let the glass cleaner sit on the glass for a minute or two and then give it a good wiping make sure to get in all the corners and go in both directions and once you get your first side done flip it over and repeat the process once you're done cleaning your glass off what I like to do is use a static free brush to swipe away any lint or dust that may be on the glass now this surface is the only surface that I'm really concerned with because this is the surface that's going to come in contact with the mat and I want to make sure that there is no dust or lint or fingerprints on this side of the glass so now what you want to do is grab your photograph and at this point I also take my brush and brush away any lint or dust that may have fallen on there this is also a good time to use a bulb blower like what you'd use to blow dust off of your lenses or what have you and give it a good blow and the reason why that I kind of like the bulb blower is sometimes with the brush you can actually brush dust into the corners of the mat and after you get your picture framed this dust will break loose and float around in there and touch on the print somewhere then you have to start all over again so I'll take my ball blower and give it a good good blow and same way with the glass and let's go ahead and set your pitcher down and flip it over at this point you're almost ready to frame but you want to make sure that you have no dust or hairs or anything in the the print this is really kind of your last chance to make sure that everything is clean in there and then I'll give it one more good dusting and check the print one more time looking for any dust or any hairs and it looks good so let's go ahead and frame the photo once you got the glass on your photo and you're happy with the way it looks and it's pretty much dust free then you want to go ahead and frame it this is just reverse of what we did our earlier when we took it out you just want to be careful not to tweak the frame or catch the glass on any of the corners because you could chip the glass and once you get it in just replace the top here and make sure to screw the tabs back down I have forgotten to do this and have had a pitcher come out of its frame because of that and the last thing you're going to want to do is replace the spring clamps that was originally holding the the print in now one thing with these spring clamps is is these are meant to be pushed way up underneath the frame here and I usually don't push them all the way in I like to just push them in far enough to hold the print but not so far that I can't ever get them back out if you get them way up underneath there they oh they're almost impossible to get out without unattach all the corners I'm pulling apart and that's a real pain because you can also damage the print break the glass doing that now the other thing is is depending on the size of the print you don't really need that many spring clamps or spring clips to hold the print into place you don't want to go crazy with your spring clips because you want the material to be able to move around a little bit to expand and contract if you if you have a bunch of spring clips in here could run the chance of the material buck buckling and you don't want to do that so I use just enough to hold the the print matte board and backing board in place now that you have your spring clips in place it's time to seal the back of this of this frame unfortunately it's very hard to seal the back of metal frames with a wooden frame you would run a piece of a GT tape all the way around and then adhere your dust cover to the back of that with metal frames especially like this Nielson frame I don't have that option because there's just no place for me to adhere any tape so what I've done is I've cut a piece of acid free foam core to the exact size of the inside of this frame and this will fit snuggly down inside here and what this will do is this seals off the elements from the back of the print so this will help keep the dust UV I'm sorry dust ozone and humidity from penetrating the back part of your of your photograph so once that's in place then your photo is done hopefully this was an informative video for you you can certainly see what happens if you do not use our chi bowl type of materials how it can completely destroy a photograph and you'll never know it because it'll take anywhere from 15 to 20 years for it to show up and at that point it's probably too late once you start to see yellowing the damage has already been done and it would be very expensive to have a photograph taken and restored so hope you enjoyed this video and thanks for watching

12 thoughts on “Conservation Framing – How to Mat & Frame a Print using Conservation Materials & Techniques

  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Great job! Thank you for sharing this vital information❣️👍🏻

    Reply
  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    I have been searching the web for an archival float mounting, have you had a video posted about that issue?

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Good video, very informative, clear and at good pace

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    So helpful. One of the few videos that covers the entire mounting and framing process–and so clearly. Also, you can't find most of the necessary supplies at the local Michaels so the links he provides to the sources is invaluable. I've been trying to find cotton gloves for a year.

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Definitely educational and informative! Thanks for the systematic explanation.

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Thank you very much.

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Thank you very much for your tips.Is it advisable for me to fully mount the photo or print on matboard using spray glue?

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    great video, thank you very much!

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    How large of a print would the corner tape hold?

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Thank you very much. Would this work for Japanese prints as well?

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  • July 3, 2019 at 11:00 am
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    Do you have any tips on framing a magazine clipping preferably with a mat.

    Reply

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