How to mount your prints
Roger Hicks gives us a DIY guide on how to mount your own prints.
1. What You Need – You will need an Olfa mat cutter, a straight edge, a pencil, a scalpel and a Rotatrim cutting board or other cutting surface. Exhibitions are normally ‘panic stations’ as there’s never enough time or money. We cut the mounts while Frances was still working on the hand-coloured prints from her latest series.
2. Measuring The Print – The image is printed 160x250mm, or about 6½x10in, on 12x16in paper as Frances wanted a wide black border. Double-check the dimensions before cutting the mounts, and make sure the pictures are ‘true’ (not tapering or trapezoidal). Measure top and bottom, left and right.
3. Mark The Board For Cutting – You can just about see how the clear lines on the Rotatrim cutting mat make it much easier to measure and to cut. One side is metric, the other is imperial. Cutting mats can be bought in a range of sizes depending on your needs. They really are one of the most useful tools you can have.
4. Cutting The Board – Some scrap card under the mount saves cutting into the Rotatrim mat and prolongs its valuable life. Our cutting mat is about 15 years old. Most of the damage was incurred in the first five years before we started using the card like this. Obviously you want to do everything you can to preserve your tools.
5. Marking Up The Mount For Cutting – Again, the grid on the board makes life much easier. While things like this may seem unimportant to mention, little elements such as this can save you a great deal of bother and time when arranging your exhibition.
6. Cut From Inside The Frame – If you don’t cut from inside the frame, the 45° bevel will be the wrong way round. Press a bit harder on both the straight edge and the cutter than is evident here – this is just to give you an idea. Again, put a bit of scrap card under the mount to protect the mat. Make two to three cuts at increasing depth rather than a single cut.
7. Carrying Bags – These bags protect the framed prints. Three sheets of cotton make a bag with an inner separator to carry two prints face-to-face. It should go without saying how important this is. It can be so easy to scratch or damage your work, so do everything you can to make sure it’s secure and protected.
8. Hanging – You need a chain for hanging, wire for making hooks and reliable wire cutters. This wire is rather heavier than anything you would likely need for your own work, but it’s what I had handy and I didn’t want to buy any more. Better to overcompensate than undercompensate.