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Float Mounting



    Float mounting creates a seamless presentation. With "float mounting," the artwork will look like it's hovering or floating over the backing board. This is a very common way of mounting your artwork when you do not want a mat to cover the edge of the paper. It is standard for prints, charcoal drawings, illustrations, and any pen and ink on paper where the artifact itself--the piece of paper--showcases the rough edge of the paper.


    Specialty Items for Float Mounting

    • 1/8" or 1/4" Self-adhesive spacers: Spacers keep the artwork from coming in contact with the glass. They come in lengths of about six feet and can be easily purchased in frame supply stores.
    • Dual point driver and points: You'll remove the tabs from the back of the frame and reinstall a new set of tabs. Using a specialty tool like a dual point driver makes this task much easier. Don't try to reuse the points. In a pinch, you can use a heavy-duty staple gun and some type of fastener from a hardware store. Another option is to partially assemble your piece and then take it to a framing shop.
    • Wire cutters to cut the spacers
    • Pliers to remove frame tabs
    • Bullfrog clips or sliding clips to hold your artwork while you secure it.
    • Archival linen hinging tape to attach the artwork to the backing board.

    Basic Framing Materials and Tools

    • Frame
    • Bone or plastic paper folder and scorer to smooth the mat board cuts
    • White emery board
    • "Invisible Glass" glass cleaner
    • Microfiber cloth--use a lint-free cleaning cloth
    • Craft paper for sealing the back of the frame from dust
    • Archival double-sided tape or other adhesive
    • D-rings and small screws to hold the hanging wire
    • Cordless screwdriver or drill to secure the D-rings
    • Braided wire to hang the fame
    • Backing board: Cut two pieces to fit your frame


    Float the Artwork on the Backing Board.

    Position the artwork on the backing board and secure it in place with bullfrog clips, sliding clips, or a very low-tack tape. A paperweight with a felt back will do as well. Double-check your measurements with a ruler.

    Cut eight strips of self-adhesive linen hinging tape, about two inches long. Peel the backing off, two strips at a time, and make a double-sided, adhesive 'T' by putting the sticky sides together.

    Gently lift the corner of your artwork. Use the 'T' to attach the back of the artwork to the backing, making sure the tape doesn't show. Try to avoid any wrinkles in the tape. Do this for all four corners.



    Clean and Assemble the Frame

    Pull the dual point tabs out of the back of the frame using pliers.
    Clean the glass, using Invisible Glass and the lint-free cloth. It might be necessary to clean the glass two or three times.

    Measure the interior of the frame and cut the self-adhesive spacers to fit snugly inside the edges of the frame. Use a ruler to measure the spacer length and mark it with a Sharpie pen. Score the plastic spacer with your wire cutter. Take the spacer in both hands and snap it at the scoring. Remove the self-adhesive backing and position the spacers on the glass as close to the frame edges as possible. Press the spacers firmly into the glass to help them stick. Avoid gaps between the spacer ends at the corners.

    Before you start assembling the frame, give everything another once-over with canned air and double-check to make sure all dust and dirt have been removed.

    Press the artwork into the frame. The backing board will come into contact with the spacers. Then press in the second piece of backing board in place.

    Use a dual point driver and fresh dual point tabs to hold the boards in position. Don't try to reuse the old tabs. Press the driver down on the spacers and then into the frame.



    Sealing the Back of the Frame

    Seal the back of the frame with craft paper to keep dust and bugs out. Double-stick adhesive tape makes this process easy. Adhere double-stick tape all around the back edges of your frame. Place the frame, tape-side down on the craft paper. Press down on the adhesive. Trim the edges of the paper with a box cutter.



    Preparing the Frame for Hanging

    With the back side of the frame facing up, make a mark less than halfway from the top along the side edge. Use a small ruler to measure and mark both side edges of the frame correspondingly.

    Using a small drill bit, pre-drill a small hole for the screws on both sides of the frame. Pre-drilling will help prevent the frame from splitting. Attach the D-rings using small screws. A cordless screwdriver makes this easy.

    Loop the wire across the back for hanging. Put your name on the back.