How to Float Mount a Painting to a Mat

Written by kim nentrup
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How to Float Mount a Painting to a Mat
Float mount a watercolour on a matboard. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Framing has come a long way from using acidic masking tape and mats to now using the highest quality of archival acid-free materials and methods. A float mount using t-hinges is an archival method of displaying a watercolour painting on paper. It also shows off the beauty of the deckled edges of watercolour paper. Choose to place a window mat around the painting, or just display it float-mounted to one piece of matboard.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Matboard
  • Archival framing tape

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  1. 1

    Choose a mat colour that complements your painting. This can be done by selecting a secondary colour in the painting and matching it. Cut the mat board to the size of your frame.

  2. 2

    Turn the watercolour upside down on a clean surface. Measure 1/3 of the way in on either side of the paper, and 1/4-inch down from the top. This is the location for your t-hinges.

  3. 3

    Prepare the archival tape according to the directions. Place one 3-inch piece sticky side up parallel to the top at the left location, and one at the right. Place another 3-inch piece of tape sticky side down in a capital "T" shape perpendicular to the first piece of tape. Apply pressure to ensure the tape is secure.

  4. 4

    Measure and mark guidelines just inside the corners of the painting in the centre of the matboard. Turn the painting over and place it according to the guidelines. With clean or gloved hands, apply pressure to the location of the tape.

Tips and warnings

  • Use archival-grade tape and matboard to protect the art from acidity.

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