Mounting Board – Which Type of Board is Right for Your Framing Project

Mounting board, also known as foam core, is a stiff board composed of lightweight foam sandwiched between two layers of paper. In framing treatments it has two important purposes. The first is to preserve works on paper (such as posters, prints, photographs and watercolors) by providing a stiff surface against which the artwork sits. This helps prevent curling and warping of delicate paper.

The second important purpose mounting boards have is to act as a back for the frame.  They protect the artwork from behind (especially when being moved) and help keep dust and other foreign objects from getting into the treatment. 

Sometimes, artwork is actually mounted to the board with tape or adhesive.  Other times tension alone holds the artwork and mounting board together.  The boards are held in the frame by spring clips or points.   When tightened, the clips or points hold the board tight, sandwiching the art between it and the acrylic, which prevents the artwork from shifting inside the treatment. 

At American Frame, we carry four types of mounting board:

Standard Mounting Board : A smooth white backing board. Use for economical framing. 1/8" thick.

Archival Mounting Board  (also known as acid free): A smooth white 100% acid free backing board. Recommended for artwork that requires preservation such as original art, signed photographs, and limited editions. 1/8" thick.

Self-Adhesive Mounting Board : A convenient, permanent, “peel & stick” solution for mounting your artwork on a backing board. Best used with inexpensive work, like posters.  Non-archival. 3/16" thick.

Black Mounting Board : An ideal choice for many specialty DIY framing projects, such as framing newspaper articles, which require a dark back to prevent "ghosting" (the newspaper's backside showing through to the front page). Black boards are also used as a finished background for "floating" art in a frame; in these cases the mounting board is visible from the front of the frame, around the edge of the artwork, and the dark board acts like a mat.  Black boards are also useful for shadowboxes with dimensional objects (medals, pocket watches etc.). The scuff-resistant boards cut clean with a satin, ultra smooth finish and come 3/16" thick for added durability and rigidity.

Mounting methods:

mounting methods

mounting methods

TAKE NOTE: If it’s an original work of art, a signed piece of work, or something of value, DON’T use a permanent mounting method. To preserve the work’s value, always use an acid free mounting board and attach artwork with archival linen tape or have a professional use a reversible archival dry-mounting process. Permanent methods degrade the value of original art.

Though often the “hidden” part of a treatment, mounting boards perform important long-range preservation functions and can be used as a visible design element in many creative ways.  In addition to floating artwork and creating shadowboxes, the boards are handy for collage pieces, diorama bases (think school projects) and a place to pin nature collectibles (leaves, flowers, etc.).  Despite their original purpose, these boards have proven to be a powerful tool, so try something new and let us know what uses you’ve found for the humble mounting board.

See our related articles for more information:

Techniques for Self-Adhesive Boards
Do I Always Need A Mounting Board?

AubreyK | 11/7/2014 11:54:01 AM | 2 comments
American Frame

We can certainly do another blog on alternative ways to add artwork to a backing.
11/11/2014 10:09:51 AM

Nice article. I'd like to add Archival Mounting Strips to the list of ways to attach art to a backing.
11/7/2014 2:07:50 PM

About this blog

Mike Cromly
So, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, with custom frame shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35+ years with the company. A natural teacher, he loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there. Working in the plant and improving our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man and Ohio State Buckeye fan. Mike's Twitter
For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs - A Good Frame of Mind or At Your Service

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