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How do I strengthen the back of a paper hanging scroll painting without damaging it further? Answered

Hi, I have a beautiful old hanging scroll form Japan. It wasn't expensive at the time, probably because the painting on it seems never to have been finished by the artist, but I value it highly. The paper itself is crumbling in some places and I would like to somehow attach a backing (I was considering cloth of some kind) to that the paper won't eventually rip when the picture is hanging. 
What kind of adhesive should I use to attach a light fabric to the paper that won't eat away at the paper from the back over time?
any other suggestions, i.e. alternatives to my fabric idea, are also very welcome.
thanks in advance.



3 years ago

Assuming it isn't an antique of great value, you could attach (stick) it onto another material, possibly paper.

If it is opaque you could glue gauze to the back. I suggest spray glue.

You could trap it between 2 panes of glass or plastic and hang it up.

If it is possibly valuable i would let a specialist look at it.


Answer 3 years ago

Thanks, I like Vyger's photograph it, I do that all the time, my camera is my photocopier/scanner I should have thought of it.


3 years ago

Lots of questions come to mind, especially about the type of paper. After WW2 things like paper were in short supply in Japan. The stuff they were making locally was made with low quality fibers and often had acid in it which gave it a limited life span. It was not archival paper. For painting on they often used rice paper and not canvas. Some rice papers are of very high quality and are hand made. some are designed to do things like wrap candy and are edible and dissolve in water. If your paper is falling apart there may be no practical way to save it except to convert it to digital and then reprint it. You can do high quality scans of almost anything. But in terms of archival, digital might be the best way to go.

Next, UV light and room light accompanied by oxygen in the room cause paper to become yellow and get brittle. To prevent this from happening and still be able to see the art it needs to be protected with a glass or plastic pane that stops UV light and limits the contact with room air. A sealed picture frame (more like a shadow box really) would help to lengthen the life of the painting.

If you use any kind of glue on it it has to be an archival glue that does not damage the paper more than it already is.

There is a photo mounting process that is considered archival provided the mount board is acid free. It uses a "dry mount tissue" which is a thin tissue paper that is coated with a type of hot melt glue. The mount paper is tacked in place with a tack iron (a little hot tool) and then positioned on the board. A hot press then seals and melts the tissue bonding the photo to the mount board. If the print can withstand the mild heat it permanently bonds to the back and to the mount board.