Introduction: How to Mount Photos Without a Frame
Here is a really simple way how to mount posters, photos and artwork without a frame.
- Photo Print, Artwork or Poster you want to mount
- 12mm MDF
- Spray Adhesive
- Command Strips
- Spray Lacquer
- Straight Edge (in my case plywood)
Step 1: Attach the Photo to the Board
I've been taking my photography a lot more seriously recently. I have a dedicated instagram account for it here - Average Joe's Productions. I've wanted to have some of my photos printed and mounted for a long time now so once I got some printed I decided to mount them myself. You can use this technique to mount other art work and family photos too. I think this would work great for mounting posters as well!
To make mounting the photo easier I started with an oversized board of 12mm MDF. This gives me plenty of wiggle room when it comes to attaching the photo to the board. I don't have to worry about the edges lining up.
To attach the photo to the MDF board I used spray adhesive. I applied a coat of the adhesive to the MDF Board and then applied the photo. Because the board is bigger than the photo I could easily make sure it was positioned correctly. I didn't have to worry about it lining up and being straight because we will sort that in the next few steps.
I gently applied pressure all on the photo making sure it was adhered all over. Smoothing out any bubbles that may be present.
Step 2: Cut Edges Flush to Edge of Photo
There is a lot of excess MDF on show and the photo is no where near straight so lets fix that! I used a band saw to cut away the bulk of the excess material but you could also use a jigsaw or a handsaw if you don't have access to a band saw.
I also wanted to get rid of the white board on my print. So I cut as close to the outline of the photo as I could without actually cutting into the photo itself. The lines cut doesn't have to be straight because we will sort that out in the next step.
To make the edges straight and to make sure the edges are perfectly flush with the edge of the photo I used a router with a flush trim bit installed. This is a bearing guided straight cutting router bit. The bearing can follow a straight edge and cut to match its profile.
I used a scrap piece of plywood to act as my straight edge. All you need to make sure is that's its longer than the longest side of what you want to mount. To protect my photo from getting scratched a used some painters tape to stick some brown paper onto the plywood board This will help prevent messing up the photo.
With the underside of the straight edge covered with brown paper I could flip it over and line it up with the edge of the photo. I made sure get the straight edge of plywood bang on the edge of the photo. I then used 2 clamps to clamp the straight edge to the MDF board.
With the straight edge in place and secure I could use the router to follow the straight edge and cut away the excess material that's sticking out. Depending how sharp the router bit is there may be some remnants of the white boarder left or at least some fluffy paper bits. These are easily removed with some light sanding by hand. I find the best method is to sand the edge in a downward motion. This just removes the loose bits resulting in a crisp edge. This process is repeated on all 4 sides of the photo board.
Step 3: Paint & Hang on the Wall
With all 4 sides straight and flush to the edge of the photo its time to paint the exposed edge. I went with black acrylic paint to match the black & white photo. Black is also less distracting to the eye so its able to focus on the photo more. I also painted a small boarder on the back just in case is was slightly visible on the wall. You could use any colour for this though. Perhaps using the same colour as the wall its going to be hung on could be a good choice or you could even use a vivid contrasting colour to make it stand out more.
The next step isnt necessary but I did use some spray lacquer on the edges and back of the board to help seal the MDF and protect the paint.
To hang the photo board on the wall I used some Command Strips. These are self adhesive Velcro pads. The adhesive doesn't damage the surface its applied to so they can be easily removed if need be. They making hanging stuff like this really easy.
After removing the backing adhesive strip its easy to hang on the wall applying some pressure. Because the strips are Velcro you can take it off the wall with ease and adjust it to make sure its level and straight on the wall.
Step 4: Done
Here is the result. I'm really pleased with how this turned out. Really simple to do and I think it would be a great way to mount posters, family photos and artwork too. It looks really modern mounting photos with out a frame like this.