How to block mount a photograph

Written by gwen wark
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Mounting a photo or image gives a finished, polished touch to the final presentation of the piece. A block mounted print is mounted on a thick surface such as a tile or board, allowing the piece to stand out from the wall. Many photography printing services offer block mounting as an option, but it is possible to produce professional-looking block mounted prints at home with supplies from a craft store.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Printed photograph using archival paper and ink
  • MDF (medium-density fiberboard) backing board
  • Black or white paint (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Acid-free rubber cement
  • Paper cutter or razor knife
  • Top coat clear sealant (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure the size of your print. It should be slightly larger than your mounting surface. Cut the print down if necessary, leaving a small amount of extra on the sides.

  2. 2

    Prepare your mounting surface. The surface should be smooth and free of bumps, defects or flaws as these will show under the mounted print. Paint the sides of the board, if necessary, and allow it to dry fully before proceeding.

  3. 3

    Coat the mounting board with acid-free rubber cement or a commercial cold mounting product. Press the print onto the board carefully, making sure no air is trapped underneath the print. Allow the mounting product to dry fully for two to three days.

  4. 4

    Trim the edges of the print to the size of the MDF using a razor or knife. Apply a clear sealant or top coat if desired and allow to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Spray mount adhesives are temporary mounts and will not provide permanent mounting.
  • Do not use standard inkjet prints for mounting. The process can destroy the ink, and display can fade and discolour the print. Use archival ink and professional prints for mounting.
  • Avoid placing your block mounted print in an area where the temperature changes drastically; this can cause the print to bow.

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