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I'm looking to print, mount, and frame a bunch of photos I've taken. I've normally used poster-style frames (borderless and with no mat), but I'm beginning to develop an aesthetic preference for matted photos. I recall hearing at some point that there's a special sort of tape one should use when mounting the photo to a mat board, but I can't remember what it was. Is it a special acid-free tape so it doesn't eat away at the picture over time?

What should I look for in tape or other adhesive for the purpose of mounting a photo to a mat board? Is there a particular brand that is more revered than others?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I use Lineco Self Adhesive Mounting Strips. The advantage of these is that the photo is not mounted physically at all to the mat. This takes into account the different rates of expansion (due to humidity changes) that the photo and the mat have, the photo will never buckle since it floats on the back of the mat.

Plus it is super easy and cheap also!

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Very good point with the buckling. That is my biggest issue. I went as far as taken apart professionally mounted photos and noticed that the entire photo was glued to a very rigid cardboard so as to prevent it from buckling. I will try this tape for sure. One question though; will there be a gap between the photo and the mat? –  Jakub Dec 21 '11 at 13:22
    
Yes, there will be a gap. I just tried to measure one, looks like less that 1/32 of an inch. In practice I don't see this. Note, the photos still won't lie completely flat, since they will sag some in the gap, but at least no damage will occur. –  Paul Cezanne Dec 21 '11 at 14:07
    
This looks awesome! –  Laura Dec 21 '11 at 19:10

Typically you do want to use some type of archival quality tape. The adhesive in it will not damage what you are working with, and it also will not yellow over time.

Acid free linen tape is kind of the standard I would say. Usually it is used on the top, top sides, and the top for a hinge.

Lineco is probably the most popular brand I am familiar with. They sell online at both B&H and Blick.

Matting like this gets pretty technical, it depends on the paper that you used to print, the matting material, the ink used to print, the backing, the life expectancy you wish for, etc.

For more information on Framing and Matting, I would take a look at the Blick Youtube Channel, they have great tutorial vidoes here.

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I tend to use photo mount rather than tape, as it ensures a smooth, flat image. It is just a spray adhesive for photos.

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does this adhesive stick instantly? do you have to align the print exactly correctly first time? –  AJ Finch Dec 21 '11 at 13:15
    
Depends on the surface and how firmly you 'press' the photo. Generally though, yes it works best if you get the alignment right the first time. I also use a rubber roller to ensure good adherence. (put a piece of cloth or thick paper over print) –  cmason Dec 21 '11 at 17:58
    
Hmmm...that does seem like a good option if you are looking for a permanent solution...I swap photos in and out of mats/frames, though, so I'm not sure if this is what I'm looking for. The same question applies here, though: if I were looking for a brand, what do I need to look for? I'm assuming that not all aerosol adhesives are safe to use on photos. It looks like 3M uses "pH neutral" and "safe for photos" in their marketing language - are those common terms with other brands? –  Laura Dec 21 '11 at 19:08
    
I have only bought 3M brand Photo Mount. I am sure there are others. Bear in mind that photos are a wet process that survives harsh chemicals including acid. They are pretty tough. –  cmason Dec 21 '11 at 19:40

I use linen tape for hinging the mats, and this tape for actually affixing photos:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/354381-REG/Permacel_Shurtape_002UPCP724160MWHT_Paper_Tape_White_.html

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