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My process of mounting art

This painting is now in its new home, but I thought I’d show you the basic steps I take when I mount art.

  • Cut down a large mount board to 300 x 400 mm pieces
  • Figure out what dimensions I want visible, then the border math is:
    mount mm number minus visible mm number divided by 2 = border mm (do for h & w)
  • Cut on my Logan Artist Elite 450-1 (The BEST secondhand purchase I’ve ever made)
  • Add piece info and care instructions sticker to the back of the back board
  • Position using t-square (because there is a landscape horizon) and glass paperweight
  • Tape down with specialist tape. (Tape tabs affixed to the back of this piece.)
  • Hinge the aperture mount board to the backing board
  • Cello sleeve the whole thing with my business card inside the back
First steps in mount cutting
First steps in mount cutting
Mounting a watercolour painting
Mounting a watercolour painting

I buy mount board in bulk from Jackson’s Art in the UK, and the colour is a slightly off-white called Porcelain. I’ve been using it for years. I occasionally buy another colour if needed, like a pale grey or black, but typically stick with Porcelain. Black mounts are also a huge pain in the ass since black gets dirty easily and also shows dust like crazy.

My methods can change depending on what kind of art I am mounting, but this post should give you a basic overview. There are so many tricks I’ve learned over the years of cutting hundreds of my own mounts. I’ve even tackled multiple aperture mounts (with different sized holes), floating mounts and more. I learned all this by doing, and a few books and websites along the way.

If you want to cut your own mounts (also called “mats”), I highly recommend buying a Logan or similar – they stay put (stable) and they pay for themselves. I used to waste a lot of board when I had a more simplistic system of only a ruler and cutter. I have no doubt that being able to provide my work in custom mounts (often cut to fit standard frames, or IKEA frames) has led me to selling more work. Mounts are also great for protecting art when stored or in print racks.

Hope this helps and maybe encourages you to give it a go. There’s lots of detailed info out there, and I promise it’s not that difficult once you get up and going.

Framing highs and lows

Had a brief freakout this morning after I phoned my regular bespoke frames provider to purchase long length moulding only to be told they don’t do that… This is contrary to – an admittedly old – catalogue I have of theirs. I’ve experienced some particularly awful depression lately and so this news hit me hard. I cried. I have a major exhibition next month and to help with the huge expense of framing, I had decided to do it myself. No moulding was suddenly a big problem.

I got my cool back and hit the internet searching. The frame company has to buy their stock somewhere, so I started looking through wholesalers. The moulding I use is a very specific type; it is a “tray” style which can be cut two ways to accommodate either deep or standard depth canvases. A match for this somewhat unique product isn’t easy to find, but I have. For all I know, the framer I used orders from this company.

I called the wholesaler, spoke to a very nice guy, confirmed they’d sell to me and the 20 metres I require. They’re sending me their catalogues too. Oh, and I’m getting my order overnighted for free (which is standard practice for them). I’m so pleased.

Putting together a solo exhibition can be stressful, but I’ve been taking care of tasks for it since November of last year to avoid as many curveballs and late nights as I can. The frame moulding issue wasn’t a thing I thought would be a problem, so I didn’t concern myself till now to order. Just goes to show that you can’t take anything for granted and that a phone call can change everything. Fortunately, a phone call to a new supplier undid the mess I found myself in, and I am smiling.

Time to set up my mitre saw! I’m going have a lot of frames to make!