Lengthen the Life of Your Prints and Photographs with Preservation Matting
Preservation of antique,matting and framing for,Preservation Framing
Photographs and prints can be taken only once; there is no “rewind”
that you can apply here! So if you want your antiques to last forever,
ensure that they are endowed with proper preservation matting and framing.
Let us explain what we mean in case you are a novice to this arena.
What are the enemies of your ancient objects? Along with aging, environmental
factors such as heat, light, humidity and air pollution do their part
too. To provide protection against these and the ravages of time, we try
to create a mechanically and chemically stable environment. This is achieved
by providing a house (matting and framing) for each object of value.
Now, there are many shops which will display varied frames for your approval.
You would be well advised to equip yourself with a basic knowledge of
the field of preservation before you step into any of these stores. And
if you have observed the latest where materials and techniques are concerned,
well then, no shopkeeper is going to get the better of you! Especially
when they throw words such as “archival”, “preservation”, etc. at you!
When we mention “matting”, we are referring to the mats or mounting boards.
These are ideally made from chemically purified wood pulp or cotton rags.
Here are some suggestions on what you should look for in frames and mats/mounting
(1) In case you opt for a wooden frame, ensure that the rabbet (A rectangular
groove made to hold two pieces together) has a lining of polyester tapes
with acrylic adhesives or aluminum. Then, your mat package (this will
be explained later) will not be affected by the acid coming from the wood.
(2) The mat package/mounting board must guarantee that there will be
no acid leakage (test for lignin—must come up negative) or fading of colors.
Ask for mounting boards that have qualified in PAT (Photographic Activity
(3) As far as the length of the board is concerned, a minimum of 4-ply
will do. But 6-ply and 8-ply ensure greater security.
(4) You can go in for a metal frame too, instead of wood. Whichever frame
you opt for, ensure that the rabbet is deep enough to hold the mat package
securely in place with the aid of brads or pins.
(5) An important thing to remember—your mat package is supposed to adjust
to your photograph or print; not the other way round. Of course, some
room is to be left for expansion and contraction (according to seasonal
Okay, now that is done with, let us give you some pointers on the actual
hanging or storing of your antique “memories”.
(1) You have to ensure that your object is truly secure. Try “hinging”
it with the aid of long-fibered Japanese tissue; the adherents used should
be wheat or rice starch paste. You could also go in for polyester film
strips and corners, or acid-free paper. Avoid lamination processes or
glues at all costs.
(2) Are you planning to use the outside wall as a display platform? There
has to be a polypropylene or polyester film (to keep away moisture) between
the dust cover and the back board.
(3) Glazing materials have an adverse effect on your precious antiques.
Get a window mat and attach it to the back board with the aid of linen
tape. Use the linen tape along one side only to prevent it from coming
in contact with your print or photograph.
(4) These places are an absolute no-no for your antiques—above radiators,
above fire places, in the path of intense light sources, in the path of
direct sunlight, attics, basements, and places susceptible to extremes
(5) Even when you store photographs or prints, ensure that they get a
cool and dry, as well as a stable house.