4 Basic Components of Photo Mounting

Mounting an image involves at least two--and up to four--distinct components depending upon what you hope to achieve. Understanding the purpose and limitations of each component is essential to creating a look that suits your image and aesthetic preference. 

1. The Print.

Perhaps you've purchased a piece of art that you would like to have professionally mounted and framed, or perhaps you are producing work yourself and seek to give it a museum-quality finish. We frequently mount and frame works produced outside of our lab. Prints may be dropped off in person or shipped rolled or flat. Prints destined for face mounting must be on glossy paper. 

If you are beginning from a digital file, we encourage you to consider printing with us as well. We offer a 15% discount for projects at any scale that are produced from start to finish in-house.  

2. The Backing.

The backing material is the second essential component in any mounting project after the print itself. We offer a range of options for backing, though selection will largely be determined by the size of the image, where and how it will be displayed, and for how long. 

Paper-based options such as Gatorboard and museum board (4 and 8-ply) are more economical, but cannot be permanently hung on a wall unless in a frame. Any piece that requires a hanging system and/or a face mount must be backed with aluminum or Dibond. We advise on the appropriate thickness of the backing depending upon image size. 

3. The Face Mount.

Face mounting has become popular in recent years due to the clean look it lends to contemporary images. Before applying a face mount, the image must be:

  • Printed on glossy paper. When a face mount is applied to paper with even the slightest texture, air bubbles can form between the face and image itself. Email or call us if you are wondering whether the paper you currently use for your prints is sufficient. 
  • Mounted to a stable backing material. We offer several suitable options: aluminum (.063 or .80), Dibond (3mm), or plexi (⅛” or ¼”). 

4. The Hanging System.

We exclusively use aluminum hanging systems and have done so for nearly thirty years. Our hangers are custom-built in house in widths of ½”, ¾” and 1”. The width of the hanger is partially aesthetic, as it determines how far a work will “float” off the wall. Larger works (over 40x60) require a 1” hanger for a secure hold. As with face mounts, hanging systems can only be applied to the more secure backing materials: aluminum, Dibond, and plexi. All hanging systems come with a metal wall cleat for easy installation.

If your work is moderately sized and you seek a more economical alternative, we also offer z-clips. These can be used on mounted images up to 40x60 in size. Work hung with z-clips will appear flush to the wall--creating at most a quarter-inch of float. This is the most obvious distinction between a z-clip and aluminum hanger. 

A clear comprehension of these basic components in relation to your own goals is all you need to embark on a mounting project. Interested in talking to us directly? Send us a message anytime at info@colorservicesllc.com.