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Photography Question 
James P. Hildebrandt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/29/2001

Print rippling after mounting in frame

Back in december I sold about 10 framed prints and I've had almost half come back due to the print lifting and rippling around the edges. I used elmer's spay adhesive which on the can lists photo mounting as one of the uses. I don't want to go out and pick up a can of the expensive 3M adhesive if I'm not sure if it will just do the same thing. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can eliminate this problem. Just FYI after mounting the image I placed books ontop for weight (I also tried a few without this). The prints were laser copies, I plan on switching strictly to photographic prints and upping my prices to compesate in hopes that a thicker print will be less susceptable to lifting.

All suggestions are welcome.

James Hildebrandt

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3/26/2006 6:57:33 PM

Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Hi James, I owned a framing business for over a decade and hope to pass along some info that may help you. Expensive 3M is what I used if I need to mount a print. It was the best adhesive I had found. Its hard to say what caused the problem without seeing the framed pieces. I'm going to give you some ideas of what may have caused the rippling.

If the weight you placed on it didn't go all the way to the edges, air pockets may have formed and a good contact may not have been achieved around the outer edges.

There may not have been enough adhesive on the outer edges.

Humidity may have come into play.

These are just a few ideas.

I don't know if you matted the prints or not, but if matting them you don't necessarily need to spray mount them. When matting a print, use an acid free tape to tape just the two top corners to the mat. Most people think running tape all the way around or on all four corners is best. However, doing only the top to corners allows the paper to expand and reduce in humid situations and will help it not to ripple.

If using spray adhesive is a must, then place a cover sheet over the print after placement is made and use a brayer to smooth and insure contact. It is usually recommended to start in the middle and work your way out. If using foam core as your mounting board, be careful as to how much pressure is applied. If you apply to much pressure with the brayer it will cause compacting of the foam core resulting in dips in the foam core and photo.

Its late for me here, hope this all makes some sense and is helpful to you.

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3/26/2006 8:26:47 PM

James P. Hildebrandt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/29/2001
  I am mounting the prints onto black bristleboard (aka Oaktag or Signboard) and then placing matting overtop that is just tacked using acid free tape. I would have used foamcore but the way the frame is made there isn't enough room.

I think I will spend the extra cash and get some of the 3M stuff, do you remember off hand exactly which kind you use?

Also I've heard about drymount tissue, is it possible to use this without a heat press, say with an iron or something?

James Hildebrandt

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3/26/2006 9:32:37 PM

Paul Tobeck
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/19/2005
  James, the stuff I use is 3M's Artist Spray Mount. I usually get from Micheal's or Hobby Lobby. I'm guessing your problem was due to the laser paper. These uncoated papers are very susceptible to humidity, but excess adhesive could've caused delayed curling also. As the adhesive cures, it contracts slightly, so if you missed any spots, or had the spray thicker in one area, this could have "pulled" the paper. The minimum weight paper I use is Epson's Heavyweight matte which is 9 mil, and I also like Lumijet Soft Suede, which runs around 10 mil. I've never had a problem with either of these papers. One thing I always try to keep in mind when selling to the public is, that if I were the consumer, would I be happy with this? Always give the customer more than they expect, and you'll save yourself tons of headaches down the road. Sure it'll cost you an extra buck or two per print to use better adhesive and better paper, but isn't your reputation worth it?

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3/27/2006 4:50:22 AM

Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Paul brought up a very good point about the type of paper. I'm not familiar with laser copy paper, but if it is a thickness similar to regular copy paper that could definitely be the problem.

I've been out of the business now for 3-4 years so things may have changed. The 3M I was using had a black and silver label.

Drymounting is awesome, however, I had a press which had a thermostat and different mounting tissue required different temps and time. I've never tried it with an iron so I'm not too sure about that. But, when using a drymount machine you first use a tack iron on a corner of the print to hold it in place before putting it into the press. This is a very small iron, but designed for this kind of work therefore the temp. should be right. This would be more time consuming, but way cheaper than purchasing a dry mount machine. you would also need a dry mount release cover sheet. This protects your photo and keeps any excess adhesive from sticking to the tack iron.

A good source for these items would be United Mfrs Supplies
I am only familiar with the Seal products. For release you should get the paper not the board. The board is most beneficial with the press. I didn't see the tack iron when browsing, but a quick phone call should give you info there. You will be asked for a tax ID # I believe. If not working with one yet, check for framing companies going out of business.

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3/27/2006 6:48:07 AM

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