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Picture Framing and Art Preservation/Mounting to Gatorboard vs. Strecthing

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Question
Hi,
I'm going to have some canvas prints made and am trying to decide if I should have them stretched on stretcher bars or mount them on Gatorboard or Acid Free MightyCore.
The canvas prints will measure 9"x12", 12"x16", 9"x14".
I'll frame them too.
They'll be traveling with me to a show and hopefully someone will buy them.

If I mount them is Gatorboard ok to use (not going to leech chemicals into the print)?
Is MightyCore strong enough?
I thought I'd use PVA to adhere the canvas prints to the board or should I use something else?
Is there an issue with expansion and contraction of the canvas if it's adhered to a board?

Thank you for your time,
Christine

Answer
Hi Christine,

The prevalence of new printing methods such as giclees and printing on canvas has forced us to rethink how we deal with them. While stretching has been (and continues to be) the preferred choice for traditional works on canvas, the materials used for canvas printing tend to stretch in unpredictable ways and the ink layer can crack even with very gentle tension. Considering this, mounting them to boards is an appropriate alternative.

The choice of materials depends on how much preservation you want. Some would argue that the mere act of gluing the prints down negates any preservation, but if you're producing these for sale you may as well do it as well as possible.

For the substrate I would lean to the Mighty Core since it is acid free and therefore more chemically stable. However, given how very smooth it is you will need to roughen up its surface with fine steel wool so that the adhesive can get a good grip. Otherwise it could just peel right off. You could get around this by using the tan variety of Gator Board but it is not acid free.

PVA adhesive or an adhesive formulated specifically for fabric (Mighty Muck, Frank's Fabric adhesive, etc.) would work well since you're doing exactly that: adhering fabric to a board. Since you're using a liquid adhesive you need to be very careful, since some inks are water soluble. If even a small amount of the adhesive soaks through the fabric it could spell disaster. You'll definitely want to experiment on a few "disposable" pieces.

Finally, I don't see any problems with expansion and contraction. At the small sizes you're looking at it would be minimal, and the adhesive and fabric are both flexible.

Good luck with your sales, and feel free to follow up.  

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF

Expertise

I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.

Experience

I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Organizations
Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

Publications
DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Education/Credentials
Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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