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How to spray mount

Updated April 17, 2017

There are many methods available for mounting photographs or artwork before framing. From photo corners to hinging and dry mounting, one of the easiest ways is to use spray mounting glue. This technique is relatively permanent and should be combined with matting your artwork in order to guarantee a lasting seal. Be aware that spray adhesive should only be used in a well ventilated area and can be damaging to your lungs when inhaled.

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  1. Measure your photo or artwork. Make sure you have an accurate measurement both horizontally and vertically of your piece before starting.

  2. Cut your mount or mat board to size. Your backing board size will largely depend on your final frame size. In most cases, you will want the board to be at least 7.5 cm (3 inches) wider and longer than your artwork. For example, if your piece is 20 by 25 cm (8 inches by 10 inches) in size, your backing board should be 27.5 by 30 cm (11 by 14 inches). This is a standard frame size for that size artwork and will need a mat to cover the art before framing.

  3. Place guide-marks on your mount or backing board. This will provide you with a place-mark you will use to put your artwork in place. Using spray adhesive does not allow for repositioning, so you want to make sure your marks are easily seen. For example, most photos are matted centred on the backing, so you would measure 3.75 cm (1.5 inches) from the top and bottom of your board and place a mark or line there. A measurement of 5 cm (2 inches) from each side should also be taken and marked. This will centre a 20 by 25 cm (8 by 10 inch) piece on a 27.5 by 30 cm (11 by 14 inch) backing board.

  4. Place waxed paper over a flat surface. The waxed paper should be larger than your artwork to catch any over-spray. Place your piece face down on the paper. After shaking the can of adhesive, spray the back of your piece, making sure to coat the edges.

  5. Pick up your artwork or photo carefully by the corners. Gently place the piece face up within the marks you have made on your mounting board. Remember, most spray adhesives bond almost instantly, so repositioning will not be possible. Put on cotton archivist gloves to prevent any damage to your artwork. Starting at the centre, gently smooth the piece down onto the backing board, removing any bubbles or possibility of wrinkles.

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Things You'll Need

  • Spray mount glue
  • Mount or mat board
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Artwork or photograph
  • Waxed paper
  • Cotton archivist gloves

About the Author

Danita Fausek

Based in Wisconsin, Danita Fausek’s 30-year working career includes jobs in administration, construction, remodeling, teaching quality processes and art classes, and event planning. With a degree in photography, she ran her own business for more than 15 years. In addition, Fausek has immersed herself in various hobbies including gardening, needlecraft and jewelry making. She brings all of this expertise to her writing.

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