Picture Mount Buying Guide

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Picture Mount Buying Guide

People who want to protect their pictures from wrinkling or bending, ahead of framing them, often choose to mount the pictures onto some kind of rigid backing, and these rigid backs that help to protect pictures and keep them in desired positions are commonly referred to as picture mounts. In addition to providing protection, a picture mount can also be used to enhance a picture's appearance, prepare a picture for sale, or even crop a picture. Another reason people look for mounts is to fit non-standard size photos into off-the-rack frames.

Irrespective of the reason, buyers ought to address a few aspects before buying a picture mount or more. Factors that need to be addressed include: identifying the different mounting options on offer and choosing between quality and price. Given the variety of picture mounting supplies on offer, doing a little groundwork at the onset is bound to help. When it comes to buying picture mounting supplies, buyers have different avenues of which to turn, and while regular brick-and-mortar shops that deal with craft and photographic supplies can help, so can online alternatives like eBay.

Picture Mounting Alternatives

Readymade frames tend to come with backs, and do not generally require additional mounting. When it comes to mounting pictures, users have three basic alternatives of which to turn, and these include: mounting pictures onto a board using photo corners, hinge mounts, or the dry mount process.

Picture Mounting With Photo Corners

When dealing with pictures that do not need to be trimmed or adhered, the use of photo corners is quite common. Photo corners come in the form of triangular pockets, which are affixed to a backing board, and they are a fairly good alternative given that most photo corners do not result in pictures coming into contact with any kind of chemical. Inserting and removing pictures from photo corners is easy, they also simplify switching pictures from frames and mats, they prevent the buckling of pictures since they give pictures room to expand and contract, and their use is not limited by the size of any given picture.

Buyers should note that not all photo corners are made in the same manner, and avoiding those that contain acidic compounds or PVC plasticisers is strongly recommended because of the damage they can cause in the long run. Two commonly available alternatives that buyers can choose from include photo corners made using polypropylene and those made using polyester film, commonly referred to as Mylar.

While photo corners are very effective for holding pictures behind window mats, using them with pictures that come with borders is not a good idea, given that they do cover a picture's corners. Archival ability and the plastic's clarity need to be taken into account if the photo corners are to be used with photo albums or sleeves.

Picture Mounting With Hinge Mounts

Pictures can be mounted onto boards using hinge mounts, and buyers have the option to choose between two alternatives: T-hinges and V-hinges. In either case, hinges offer users a simple way to protect their pictures, and removing pictures that are mounted using hinges is also quite easy. When these hinges are made using archival materials, the pictures and the hinges can be removed easily, if required. T-hinges are also referred to as tab hinges and pendant hinges, and these hinges are folded and tucked out of plain sight, behind the picture. While T-hinges are rather all-purpose, V-hinges are used when a picture's edges need to remain visible, and the mat does not cover the picture.

Dry Mounting

Dry mounting refers to a technique wherein a picture is mounted onto a board using a special adhesive tissue coupled with the application of vacuum or pressure. A number of people tend to go the dry mount way when they do not wish to use window mats while mounting their pictures onto backboards. However, if there is acid or chemical seepage over a period of time, cleaning or reframing becomes quite a challenge.

Dry mounting is looked upon as an easy and inexpensive way to mount pictures, and this method works quite well with digital, RC, and fibre prints, although using this method with inkjet prints and Polaroids is not suggested. While commonly available, dry mounting material does come with a long enough lifespan to suit most people; however, when it comes to mounting for archival purposes, using acid-free variants is suggested, as these allow the pictures to be detached even after considerable time has passed. Largely, though, dry mounting is looked upon as irreversible.

Other Alternatives

Wet mounting is another alternative that is not really suggested for mounting important pictures, and this very basic method involves a photo-safe glue being used to mount a picture onto a board. Spray mounting does away with the requirement of glue, although since this method also involves the use of adhesive, it comes with the same disadvantages attributed to wet mounting.

Picture Mounting Boards

Mounting boards, also commonly referred to as "foam boards", play an integral part in mounting pictures, given that it is on their surfaces that pictures are mounted. While some people turn to using cardboard as a low cost alternative, doing the same is not recommended, given that cardboard is highly acidic in nature. Two primary options that buyers have when choosing picture mounting boards include standard boards and premium boards.

Standard Boards

Most standard mounting boards are made using foam board that comes with traces of wood pulp acid; however, the acidity levels are kept as low as possible. Using standard boards with regular pictures that do not have to be saved for the long run is not a bad idea, although if pictures have to be saved for posterity, using premium boards is suggested.

Premium Boards

Premium boards are commonly referred to as conservation boards, which are generally thicker standard boards. In addition to being better alternatives when it comes to displaying pictures, the main selling point of these boards is that they are acid-free. The good thing is that there is not too much of a difference in the prices of standard and premium boards, making acid-free boards a much better alternative.

Other Alternatives

Buyers looking for mounting boards can come by high-quality boards that are made using polystyrene cores bonded between two layers of paper, and these boards come with smooth surfaces while also being warp-resistant. Buyers can also find boards that come with self-adhesive sides, which are used in the permanent mounting of pictures. Consequently, removing pictures after they have been mounted on such boards is near impossible. Double mounts work by increasing the distance between the picture and glass, and can also work in adding depth. Backing boards, also referred to as liners, offer affordable and reliable alternatives as well. A recent addition, strut mounts, come with rudders that allow them to be placed on flat surfaces, and provide users with a simple way of displaying small- to medium-sized pictures.

Thickness of Boards

Mounting boards are available in varying thicknesses, and their thickness is generally displayed in microns. A measurement of 1,000 microns is 1 mm, and while mounting boards are generally available in 1,250; 1,300; and 1,440 microns, their thickness can be as high as 4,000 microns.

Buying Picture Mounting Supplies on eBay

Buyers are presented with various options when shopping for picture mounts and picture mounting supplies on eBay, and what they can expect to find include: mount boards, mounts, and mounting supplies like photo corners, hinges, and photo-safe glues. When it comes to mount boards, buyers are given various size alternatives from which to choose, with A1, A2, and A3 size boards being commonly available. Buyers also have the option to look for boards in different colours, like white, black, gold, and more.

One aspect that needs buyers' particular attention is the postage and packaging costs that different sellers charge. This is because it can vary from seller to seller, and it can have a significant effect on the total price of any given purchase. In addition, this platform is home to a number of sellers and not every seller follows a set pricing pattern. Consequently, buyers can end up finding mounting supplies that are similar, but priced differently; and this should be reason enough to search through as many alternatives as possible.


Scores of pictures are lost over time, and reasons can be as varied as the pictures. Simply framing a picture without paying attention to aspects that go into preserving a picture does not really help, and one aspect that plays a crucial role in the preservation of pictures is how they are mounted. If a picture is mounted with care, it can help to extend its life, which is something that is duly appreciated by people who wish to preserve their pictures. Owing to technological strides, people now have various specialised options to turn to when mounting their pictures.

While a rigid backing can be provided through the use of a good mounting board, the mounting, in itself, can be made by using photo corners, hinges, or some kind of a compatible adhesive. Addressing priorities at the very onset is suggested, as is setting some kind of a budget, given that the picture mounting market caters to just about every kind of budget. Factors that should not be left unaddressed include: appearance, affordability, long life, and picture conservation.

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