Such is the case with the process known as Dry Mounting.
We’ve all witnessed the phenomena of a framed print or photograph that has developed a distinct wave or wrinkle. Depending on the lighting and the angle you are viewing it from, this buckling can distract from the artwork and prevent you from enjoying it. Glossy items exhibit this waviness in a particularly annoying way.
The likely cause is simple. Essentially, paper is a sponge that wants to absorb any moisture in the atmosphere. As it absorbs that moisture, it naturally wants to swell and expand, but in the confines of its frame, it frankly has nowhere to go. Hence, the birth of the “wave”.
The preventative step (as well as the remedy) to this annoyance is known as Dry Mounting. In simplest terms, the dry mounting process bonds the artwork to a firm backing board to give it the added strength to resist the aforementioned “wave”. The process basically places a heat sensitive adhesive between a backing board and the artwork, and places it in a hot press that applies pressure while the heat melts the adhesive which then forms a bond upon cooling.
Historically, the process has been reserved for decorative prints and posters only, due to the permanence of the bond. Limited edition prints and originals were usually not candidates for dry mounting because the adhesive was not archival, and you would be irreversibly altering the original nature of the piece.
Technological advances in adhesives, however, have now made dry mounting possible for some of these excluded items, allowing them to be bonded to an archival backing board with a reversible archival adhesive that would allow us to easily remove the artwork from its back boarding – returning it to its original state.
So, there you have it. Dry Mounting 101. Consider it for your next framing project or to correct a wave in artwork already on your wall. It’s a simple process, and it will ensure years of enjoyment of your artwork.