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Framing with Nielsen Frames

Learn To Work with Nielson Frames in Four Easy Steps

The Standard Hinged Mat
The hinged mat is used for pictures with margins, bleed images (these go to the ends of the paper), or papers with a deckle edges you want exposed.

The artwork is attached to the backing board with hinges made of paper tape or handmade Japanese paper, which is thin, flexible and has long sturdy fibers. Two rules should be considered when making the hinges. First, use as few hinges as possible, while still providing good support for the artwork. Second, the hinge should always be weaker than the paper to which it is applied, so that under stress the hinge will give way instead of the art.

Never tape artwork directly to a mat or backing board. Even the group of tapes labeled archival are too strong and inflexible to be used directly on artwork. Although the adhesives on these tapes are initially water soluble, they become insoluble over time, requiring the use of a stronger solvent to remove them.

Making The Hinges
The classic hinge is made with two Japanese paper rectangles, typically torn from Mulberry paper or similar lightweight paper and adhered with wheat paste. Lineco's Hayaku Gummed Japanese Hinging Paper greatly simplifies the process.

1. Position the artwork as desired behind the window of a prepared, closed mat. Then open the mat window and make light pencil marks on the backing board around the two upper corners of the art work.

2. For a V-Hinge, invert the art work on its upper edge, face down, so the two upper corners rest just above the pencil marks.

3. Place the hinge pieces on a clean blotter and moisten the adhesive thoroughly. Wait for the adhesive to absorb water and get sticky.

4. Attach 1/4" of the hinge to the back of the art work and the remainder to the backing board, following either the T-Hinge or V-Hinge diagram.

5. Place the reinforcing strips on a blotter and moisten the adhesive. Carefully center a strip over the portion of the hinge which is attached to the backing board. The hinges should not be visible when the mat window is closed.

6. Check the fit, then let hinges dry before closing the mat window. Use standard foam board behind the backing board to support the matted work in the frame. Or hinge your artwork directly to acid-free foam board which works as both backing board and filler.

Matting with Mounting Strips or Corners
Use mounting strips or corners instead of hinges if you don't want to attach anything to the artwork itself. Strips or corners can only be used on images with fairly wide margins -- not on bleed images -- otherwise the corners or strips will show through the mat window.

To use Lineco See-Thru Mounting Strips, position your artwork on your mat, then peel the release paper on the acid-free Bristol strips to expose the pressure-sensitive adhesive. Press into place just outside the edges of the artwork and burnish for a secure grip. Mylar tabs hold the artwork.

Corners must be big enough to support the print, but small enough to not show through the window. Use Lineco corners, or fold your own from neutral pH paper like Rives Lightweight. Position your artwork on the mat, lightly trace the corners, remove the artwork, affix the corners and burnish well. Slip the artwork into the corners and close the mat window to make sure the corners do not show. Adjust, if necessary.

The Matless Mount
If you want to frame artwork without a window mat, consider the Nielsen Style 55 frame, the Daniel Smith Style 16 Wood Frame by Nurre Caxton, with Style 10 Spacers or Econospace plastic tubing. Each of these options creates space between the mounted artwork and the glazing material.


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