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I bought one of your matted photo frames, how do I attach my photo to the mat?

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This post is published in reply to the often asked question "how do I attach my photo to the mat?  we received over the years . Attaching artwork (a photo, print, document or paper) to the back of a mat is called "hinging" by picture framers.  This is attaching-hinges-to-a-window-matvery different to "taping". A picture showing a hinged photo is shown at your left. Another image in another page document taped to a mat. The blog also explains why taping artwork to a mat is a bad idea. We recommend hinging instead Hinging means attaching the art to either the backing board of the picture frame (as shown in the picture) or the back of the mat (not shown in the picture) using 2 hinges (short tape sections) of "hinging tape".

This is a special, acid-free pressure-sensitive tape carried by most picture framers. Hinging instead of taping, allows for expansion and contraction of the artwork during the seasons. If the artwork is taped, the artwork is too rigidly held and not allowed to expand. If this happens the photo, print poster, document or paper may tear, or ripple, or cockle under the glass. Broadly speaking, there are two main methods of hinging.

The first one, and most common, is hinging the artwork to the back of the mat. Picture framers often use good quality, pressure-sensitive tapes such as Lineco Self-Adhesive tissue and Tape. These come in handy, tearable, dispensing boxes and are easily applied but burnishing the tissue or tape with your fingers. To hinge your art to the back of the mat, put your art ( print, image, photo, document, etc) down on a your work table. Make sure that the top of your art hangs off the edge of the table a few centimetres.

Lay the mat on top of the art and centre it. Then attach two pieces of hinging tissue or tape to the art. Lift the mat up and stick it the back of it to the two hinges hanging of the art. Press gently and burnish the two hinges to make sure these don't come undone. That is it. it's done. One advantage of this hinging method is that the artwork will stay in the centre of the window mat opening and it will not need re-positioning. A possible disadvantage of this hinging method is that it may be a little difficult, but not impossible to later re-position the artwork or change the mat.

The second one, and less common, is hinging the artwork to the backing board. Again, the same hinging materials mentioned in the previous hinging method can be used as well as the Gummed Linen Hinging tape. This gummed tape has to be water activated and has to be used with care, lest water o moisture be inadvertently transferred to the artwork. To hinge your art to the backing board, place you artwork on your work table face up.

Then tear off two small sections of the hinging material and apply them to the very top edge of your art, without unduly intruding into the image or your art. Press and burnish, making sure the two hinging tabs overlap the art. Now position the mat's backing board under the art and centre it. Press and burnish the centred art to the backing board. Then place the mat on top of the image, centralizing it, with their top edges parallel. With this done, cut or tear a section of linen tape nearly as long as the mat and attach it along the edges of the two boards.

Lastly, just fold the mat up and over the backing board so that it is positioned centred on top of your art. And that is it, the mat, art and backing board sandwich is ready for fitting up to the picture frame. Thank you for reading this post "I bought one of your matted photo frames, how do I attach my photo to the mat?.

3 thoughts on “I bought one of your matted photo frames, how do I attach my photo to the mat?

  1. One thing I strongly recommend when taping photos and prints inside their frames is not to use masking tape or office tapes or any stationery tapes. What happens after a few months or a couple of years is that the cheaper tapes dry off and the taped pictures inside the picture frames or photo frames fall off or fall out. Then you have get the picture re-framed or you have to do it yourself, either way it’s a hassle. Picture framers use special, strong tapes that don’t dry off, you can ask them for some, like I did, my framer gave me some for free !!

  2. My housemate has done picture framing and he gave me this tip about taping photos to photo mats. He said that when you tape a photo to the back of photo frame paper mat, you don’t need a big strip all along the top edge but just a couple of thumb-sized bits. He said that if you tape all along long the top, the photo may crinkle or ripple under the mat. Apparently, a long strip of tape stops the photo from expanding in hot weather.

  3. Just so that everyone knows, the hinging of the art can be done in two places. The first and most common place, is to hinge the art to the back of the window mat. The second, and least common place, place is to hinge the art to the backing board. In fact if you look at the inset illustration at the beginning of the blog you will see an example. It doesn’t seem to make any difference when fitting up a photo frame, or a picture frame, and I actually find the second hinging place easier.

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