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Dry Mounting vs. Wet Mounting: Which Works for Your Artwork?
The staff at framing shops are well equipped to help you navigate their wealth of framing options, but it's still nice to know a little before you walk in the door. Learn about one of the decisions you may face with Groupon's overview of dry and wet mounting.
When framing an original drawing, a collectible, or a limited-edition anything, conservation-framing techniques are best—they're not permanent, so the piece itself is not altered in any way. But if you’re looking to hang an inexpensive movie poster, a hardware store receipt, or anything else that's primarily of sentimental or decorative value, dry and wet mounting can be good options. These permanent techniques may also do a better job making wrinkled or torn pictures look presentable again.
During the dry-mounting process, a dry adhesive tissue is placed between the object and the backing (called a mount board). This art sandwich is then put through a heat press that uses either mechanical or vacuum action. Heat activates the adhesive, and, in concert with the machine's pressure, helps secure the artwork. Though bubbles can form over time in extreme environmental conditions, this method usually keeps artwork flat for good. Pieces of art that are sensitive to heat or that could melt at 190 degrees should not be dry mounted—a category that includes Polaroids, inkjet prints, and wax-, pastel-, and cheese-based works.
The wet mounting process is simpler: the framer uses a water-based glue or paste to adhere the artwork to the mount board. After the piece is enclosed in glass, steady pressure is applied, with no need for heat to make it stick. This is often the most inexpensive framing method. This technique shouldn't be used on charcoal sketches or pastel drawings, since the moisture of the glue can ruin these water-soluble media.