Working in this industry, we hear certain questions all the time. One of the most common is, "how do I attach my art to the mat?" with the follow up question of "what type of tape should I use?" Today we're going to answer both of those questions for you!
There are several ways to attach artwork to a mat, but the easiest is called a T-Hinge. In today's blog, we are going to walk you through that process, BUT, first, lets talk about tape.
Unless you do this sort of thing all the time, you probably do not have specialty tape just sitting around your house. What most people have are easily accessible tapes like, every day scotch tape, duct tape, masking tape, and packing tape. While yes, technically you can use these tapes to adhere your artwork to a mat, this is why you shouldn't. Most every-day use tape like the ones listed above are full of acid. Using a tape that is acidic to adhere your art to a mat will cause your art to yellow, as a result of acid-burn. Additionally, most tapes of that nature are not meant to be easily removed, so if you need to take your art off the mat, you risk tearing your art in the process. Tape's like the ones listed above are also not meant to withhold the test of time, so eventually, they will start to brittle and crack, causing your art to become unattached.
So that brings us back to the original question, "what type of tape should I use?" Pictured below you will find an example of an acid-free tape, this tape is simply called "Artist Tape". You can get it at almost any art supply shop. If you cant find that tape, or would rather just run to a corner store, or grab tape when you are out grocery shopping, just look on the packaging labels of different tapes, any tape that says "Acid-free" is a much better option than every-day use tape.
Now, lets talk about the best option. Pictured below you will see a tape that is called "Linen Hinging Tape" this tape is made for doing T-Hinges. It is made of fabric, is acid-free and is easily removed. There are two different types of this tape, the self adhesive version, and the gummed version. If you get the gummed version, you will have to add water to the tape. I suggest getting the self-adhesive version, simply because it is easier to use, and you wont have to get water near your artwork. You can find this tape at art supply stores, such as Blick or Sam Flax, however, most frame shops should also have this tape. (Like we do and can order rolls of it for you). If you have a bunch of art or photos to mount, you can go grab a whole roll, its rather large and will last a long time! If you only have a few to do, come see us! We will give you a few pieces to use, no problem.
Now, onto the fun part! How we do it. Lets go step by step.
What you will need:
-A mat cut to fit your artwork
-A backing board cut to the outside size of your mat. (We are using acid free foam, you can also use matboard)
-Tape (We are using linen hinging tape)
Step one: Cut four pieces of tape. Two at about one and a half inches. The other two at about three inches
Step Two: Attach your mat to your backing. This is to make the hinging process easier, if you attach the mat to the backing, you can open and close it like a book, which will make step three much easier and faster! Just use a strip of tape to line the edge of your mat and the edge of your backing.
Step three: Place your art on the backing you are using, and position it the way you want it to show through your mat opening. You can open and close your mat/backing book as many times as you need to, to make sure your art is in the perfect position.
Step Four: Once you get your art in the perfect spot, use something heavy to hold it in place, so it will not move around while you are making the T-hinge. We would normally use something called a print weight, which is made to hold art in place, but because some of you wont have those, we will use a roll of tape.
Step Five: Using your two shorter pieces of tape, place them sticky side UP on to your art work, so the tape adheres to the back side of your art. You dont want them all the way on the edges, so come in about an inch on each side. Make sure that you have some tape sticking up above your artwork.
Step Six: Make your T-Hinge! Take your two longer pieces of tape, and place them over the exposed sticky side of the shorter pieces of tape. Make sure not to let this tape touch the front of your artwork. This tape should adhere to the backing board.
Step Seven: Smooth the tape down to the backing with your finger to make sure that you will get a good hold! This is all the tape you will need to use, it is very important that you do not place any tape on the bottom of your artwork, doing so will cause your art to eventually wrinkle. Leaving the bottom loose, allows the art work to breath, which means that it can expand and contract with our (ever)changing weather, and humidity levels, without being constricted by tape holding the bottom in place.
Step Eight: Close your mat/backing book. You are all ready! This can go inside a frame, or an art bag.
Thanks for tuning in!! :) I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to comment, email or come by the shop!
Have a great rest of the day, and weekend! Its supposed to be a beautiful one! We will be here until seven, if you want to swing by!
We will be back Tuesday with another very enlightening post!