Friday, June 22, 2012

The Harvey Girls Part 1

 Poster Mountain has built its reputation over the last 20 years primarily on restoring vintage movie posters. Recently we have had a huge boom in contemporary silk screens, but this week we are going back to our roots to show you the restoration of a 1946 Harvey Girls three sheet.

For those of you who don't know a three sheet is the size of three one sheets. A one sheet measures 27 x 41, so a three sheet is 41x 81. 

This poster came in pretty wrecked. It had chunks missing from it and pieces of tape holding other parts of it together. We do a lot of tape removal, hence why we are always cautioning people that there is no such thing as archival tape.

Pictured: The poster with tape along the fold lines, holding it together.

Aaron, our airbrusher, is also a master at tape removal. Using a heat gun to loosen the adhesive he slides a sharpened palette knife under the tape to peel it off the poster without causing undo damage. There is usually a sticky residue left behind that we use some solvent to loosen and the scrape off with a razor blade. 

Pictured: Aaron spreading the larger of the two pieces of the poster out to ascertain where all the tape is.

Pictured: Aaron using a heat gun, not a hair dryer, to loosen the tape from the poster.

Pictured: This was just too cute not to include, I am always reminding everyone to smile so it was nice to get a candid shot!

There are many different kinds of tape, some of which are water soluble and easier to remove during the mounting process. And as is typical for pieces with tape, this one had several different kinds on it. But once Aaron had gotten everything but the water soluble tape off it went into the conservation department to be linen backed.

Pictured: The poster after the tape has been removed. The fold you can see is on the interior because the exterior fold was only held together with tape.

Pictured: The brown tape is water soluble.

Robin prepped the linen and masa substrate, while Gabe started on the larger of the two panels. He wet down the front, then the back and used a special soap solution to help remove any toxins from 60 plus years of life.

Pictured: Robin laying the masa on top of the linen.

Pictured: Gabe beginning to wash the lower part of the poster.

Pictured: Gabe flipping the poster over. For those of you joining us after the Collider article, this is our very large garage where all the magic happens!

The poster is manipulated between two pieces of Mylar, but in order to get it wet we have to unroll the Mylar. When we unroll it small edges often want to stick to it. So both Gabe and Robin, who began washing the top section, had to keep their eyes peeled for small pieces of the poster lifting. 

Pictured: Gabe peeling a piece of the poster off the Mylar.

Pictured: Robin having the same issue as Gabe. This poster did not want to cooperate.

With posters that come in sections, there is always an overlap where one poster sits on top of the other. In this case the lower portion sat on top of the upper, so we had to mount the top section first in order for the image on the two sheets to line up correctly.

Pictured: Here is the first section laying on the substrate with the Mylar still on top.

While Robin mounted the top portion, Gabe spread glue on the back of the lower panel. To do this we flip the poster face down on top of a piece of Mylar so that when the glue is on we can lift the poster up with the Mylar on the front and move it over to the frame.

Pictured: Gabe spreading glue on the back of the lower section. This is a great picture because of the two Marilyn Monroe 6 sheets (twice as large as the poster we are featuring here) that you can see in the background.

Pictured: Gabe and John moving the lower section over to the frame. Pretty cool to see the poster with the light coming through it.

Things move pretty quickly while we are mounting a poster, however once the whole poster is on the linen we can step back and take a breath. This is the point when we make sure that the image lines up in the overlap and we put in small pieces of the poster that Aaron managed to save during tape removal, but were put aside until the end of the mounting process.

Pictured: John straightening the overlap so that the image lines up.

Pictured: Gabe squeegeeing the poster and Mylar so that the poster evenly adheres to the substrate. Another great shot of Marilyn in the background.

Pictured: John removing the Mylar and making sure that the paper does not lift up withe the Mylar.

Pictured: Robin putting in a couple of stray pieces of the poster.

So, here is the poster after mounting. You can see that there is some paper missing, but you'll have to check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this poster's restoration.

It should be noted that several crucial steps in our process have been omitted. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us via email at or by phone at 818.882.1214. Also check out our websites: and Please feel free to leave comments or questions on the blog!

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