How to use T-hinges to mount a photograph

Sometimes what appears obvious to one person is not so for another. I was talking to a customer in the workshop the other day and I mentioned that I would be using T-hinges to mount their photograph. I found myself explaining exactly what a T- hinge is and why it is a good Idea to use this technique.

Hence this post where I describe the use of T- hinges and the use with a window mount.

T- hinges are a standard and proven way of mounting photographs and other works on paper in preparation for framing. They attach the work to the under mount using the minimum necessary contact with the work yet provide a secure fastening to ensure that the work does not move once framed. Used correctly they eliminate the cockling seen on badly mounted photographs and are reversible, allowing the item to be removed from the frame with no damage. Try doing that if you use masking tape.

T-hinges are almost always used with a mount with an upper window mount hinged using tape to a lower sub-mount to which the artwork is fixed.

For this demonstration I’m using a photograph of the northern lights and a window mount cut from conservation grade mount board cut on our computerised mount cutter.

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T-hinges are designed to allow strong and reliable mounting of paper based artwork but at the same time to allow the artwork to move ever so slightly. Paper expands and contracts with changes in humidity and if the paper was taped along all edges, or even one edge, there is a significant risk that when the paper expands the picture would wrinkle (cockle in framing parlance) as the expanding paper has nowhere to go. T-hinges allow this expansion to take place and the use of a window mount allows the paper to expand and move under the edges of the mount.

T-hinges are made from two strips of gummed paper and attached to the reverse of the top edge of the item to be framed. Once the item has been positioned correctly a second strip of paper is used to secure the first strip to the under mount. This forms the ‘T’ shape and holds the item securely in place.

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