Inside Art and Frame > The What, When, Why, and How of Drymounting
The What, When, Why, and How of Drymounting
Jun 24, 2010 --
A typical drymount press.
Many first-time framing customers don't realize that there's more than one way to mount their piece. Sure, drymounting is the quickest and cheapest way to stick an image to a piece of backing, but it's important to know what you're signing up for. So, here's a quick reference guide for the process of drymounting!

Drymounting is, in its broadest sense, is a permanent mounting process that does not involve the use of any liquid adhesives. Emphasis on permanent - even though in some situations the adhesion can be undone, it is designed to be permanent. The image, once mounted, is attached to its backing indefinitely. In framing, the drymounting process more specifically refers to using a heat-activated adhesive to mount an image to a sheet of foamcore. There are generally two methods for this. The older method uses sheets of drymount tissue - a thin, waxy paper that melts slightly in high temperatures - to adhere the image to the backing. This method is a little more time-consuming, but allows the framer to use a wide variety of materials for backing. A newer method uses foamcore backing that is pre-treated on one side with a heat-activated adhesive. This method is fast and inexpensive - just 30-90 seconds in the press (depending on the thickness of the paper) and you have a beautifully mounted piece!
Posters are great for drymounting!
 
The appeal of this mount method lies in its lower cost and the lovely smooth, flat finish it gives to a mounted piece. The cons are its permanence and the inherent risks involved where adhesives, heat, and pressure come in contact with art. Generally speaking, you should not drymount a piece if any of the following are true:
  • The piece is an irreplaceable original.
  • The piece is valuable and that value would be diminished by a change to its condition.
  • The material the artwork is made of is weakened by excessive damage or age.
  • The material the artwork is made of would be adversely affected by temperatures of 150°F or higher.
  • The piece has 3-dimensional elements.
So then, when would you use drymounting? In most situations, posters, photographs, and certificates are ideal for this process. They lie flat, have solid constitutions, and can be replaced with relative ease. You can feel secure about drymounting these pieces, and know that they'll look crisp and professional when finished! In fact, if you're looking to frame a poster, we even offer a poster special that includes the drymount, frame, and glass for only $49.95-$69.95, regardless of size! It's a great option to work with.

As always, if you're ever unsure about how to mount a particular piece, your local framer is there to help! We can take a look at any piece and give you a solid recommendation for the best way to mount it. Trust us - we're professionals!

 

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Art and Frame of Falls Church • 205 West Jefferson Street, Falls Church, VA 22046 703.534.4202