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Hinging materials

Hinging artwork properly is an important conservation issue. Artwork is always hinged to a backing board and not to the back of the mat. The backing board should be of acid-free material and of sufficient rigidity to support the art without buckling. It acts as a barrier from contamination from any filler board, and creates a surface from which to hinge the artwork. Conservators recommend using 100% rag boards – 4 ply boards are the most commonly used. The backing board is then taped to the window mat. We recommend using a water activated acid-free linen tape to attach the board to the window mat. Click for instructions/video.

There are many different hinging materials i.e. Japanese paper & paste, pressure sensitive tapes, as well as mounting corners which were developed primarily for photographs.

Japanese paper & starch paste

The time proven method used by museums is to make strips of long-fibered Japanese paper and use a wheat or rice starch paste. Paper by weight is approximately 6% water, and therefore absorbs & releases moisture. A paper hinge is used because it will expand and contract like the artwork. Wheat paste is used because it has great adhering power, won’t discolor, and is water reversible. A hinge made with wheat paste will be as easy to remove years from now as it is 10 minutes after it is applied. We have instructions/videos on: making japanese hinges, making wheat paste, attaching t-hinge, attaching v-hinge.

Archival Pressure sensitive tapes

Although not museum quality, archival tapes have become very popular because they are acid-free and easy to apply. They typically do not discolor or soak into the paper. The disadvantage of these tapes is removability. For a short period of time they can be removed with water (except on photographs). There can be difficulties removing them after a longer period of time and solvents may have to be used. We recommend using them when the ease of application is more important than strict conservation. Click for instructions/video.

Mounting Corners for Photographs/works on paper

This is the best method for mounting photographs. No adhesive touches the artwork. They are easy to apply just peel and stick. They are also used on matted pieces when the artwork is very heavy, such as watercolors. Click for instructions/video.

Museums prefer to make their own paper mounting corners. They are made from an archival paper. Click for instructions/video.

This site is recommended as an additional resource on papers and hinging:

Northeast Document Conservation Center