Sunday, February 5, 2012

How to Float Mount a Photograph on the Cheap!

The materials you will need to float mount a photograph
I love to create photographs, but I rarely print them, except for Christmas present and for entering in our local fairs.  My brother and his fiance are excellent photographers, and when he told me about this method for float mounting photographs, I asked him to explain every step to me.  It seemed easy enough, so I collected the materials.  Because I have been teaching a photography class this fall and winter, it is the perfect economical solution for mounting and displaying the kids' best photos for a show at school next week.  My oldest daughter is in my class, so I asked her to mount her photograph so that I could do a tutorial.

You will need:

Foam board
Your photograph:  I printed ours in 8x10 format with a matte finish.
1 exacto knife with new blade 
A metal straight edge ruler 
Spray adhesive.  My brother used 3M.  It was expensive, so I bought Krylon

You will also need a clean surface you can cut on.  I used the old picnic table in our yard, but cardboard is what I'll use at school. You will need a clean cloth to smooth your photograph out when mounted on your foam core.  You will need a clean surface, such as cardboard, on which to spray the adhesive on your foam core and photograph.

You're ready!  Wash your hands well.  Prepare your materials and surface.  Read the instructions for your spray adhesive.

We used our photograph to measure the size we would need to cut our foam core.  If you'd like to protect your photo, simply outline it on a piece of cardboard and use that as a form.  From our experience, I found that we wouldn't have to trim edges later if  if we had originally cut our foam core 1/4 inch smaller length and width-wise.  Keeping this in mind,  you may want to cut a form 1/4 inch smaller instead of using your photo as the template, as we did. 
We held the photo flush with the straight edge ruler, cutting a 45 degree beveled cut through the foam core toward the photograph.  This will allow the photograph to appear to float when it is mounted.  No foam core should be visible when mounting is complete.
Once all four sizes were cut at the 45 degree bevel, there were some rough edges, which we cleaned up by using the straight edge ruler to guide us.  

Side view of the 45 degree bevel.  The foam is ready to be used to mount our photograph!
A piece of clean cardboard served as a place to spray our adhesive on the back of our photograph and the top of our piece of cut foam core.   Be sure to follow the specific instructions for your brand of adhesive.  We sprayed one piece at a time, then did jumping jacks (literally!) for a minute while the glue got tacky.   Be sure to spray the LARGER side of your foam core, so that the bevels will go in below your photograph and will not show.
We were very careful to correctly position the photograph correctly before allowing it to touch the glue on the foam core.  This is because it's VERY sticky. 
We used a clean cloth to smooth the photograph over the foam core, ensuring a good strong mount.  

We used blue sticky mounting putty to mount the photograph on a wall in our home.  You will find this in the duct tape aisle at your local hardware store or even at Target.
We straightened the photograph, then gently pressed against its surface to help it stick to the wall.   You may want to use your clean cloth to do this if you're worried about fingerprints.  We used matte finish photographs and don't have sweaty hands so it wasn't a problem for us.

 "Voila!"  You have an aesthetically pleasing float-mounted photograph that people will go nuts over!

1 comment:

  1. We went into the exhibit room and found Eva's Fleece, hat and photo. :) We were very proud!


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