We get a lot of questions about dry mounting, so I'm going to address the topic as best I can. Keep in mind Poster Mountain does not offer this service, so the information you're getting here is the result of experience-based speculation and some internet research. So here we go.
Compared with linen backing, paper backing, or the gelatin process (all of which we offer,) dry mounting is inexpensive. You can do it yourself at home or you can have your framer do it.
Dry mounting involves fusing your print or poster to a sturdy backing with dry mount paper or spray mount adhesive. The dry mount paper goes between the backing and the print, and it's fused using either a heat press or a standard fabric iron. The backing can be a sheet of wood, plastic, foam core, or cardboard.
HERE'S THE BIG DRAWBACK:
Dry mounting is technically irreversible. You cannot undo it, although WE usually can. Once the print is on there, you are not getting it offa there. Some types of dry mount paper claim to be reversible. I don't know. In my twelve-odd years restoring posters, I can't say I've heard of reversible dry mounting. On the streets of conservation, the general consensus is AVOID.
Here's why it's bad:
You may not care whether that print ever comes off the backing, but if there is a flood or a fire or even just a spill, even if you just move to humid Florida, the paper will get damaged, moldy, brittle, brown, stained, wrinkly, or wavy. Paper is fragile and a frame is not a hermetically sealed chamber. The elements will get in.
In order to repair a damaged print, you're going to have to take it to a conservator like Poster Mountain. In order for us to fix the print, we'll need to take it off the backing. And if it's dry mounted, we often won't be able to remove it without a lot of labor and even some invasive damage to the print (read: invasive damage to your wallet.)
Here are a few images of dry mounted misery. Sensitive viewers beware.
|Here you can see the anatomy of a dry mount, with the poster on top, nasty horrid dry mounting paper in the middle, and foam core board at bottom.|
|The first battle in a dry mount war is the backing. John has clamped this piece face-down to a table and is shaving down the foam core with a sharpened spatula.|
|John lays a sheet of mylar over the poster to let the bestine soak in without evaporating.|
|The dry mount paper came off pretty easily in this case, but...|
|Now John has to remove a very thick coating of adhesive.|
|There are many variations on removing a dry mount. Here they will be working from the front. The poster is resting on a board that has been elevated on one side to let the bestine run down.|
|**This week's coupon code is "Mary"**|
|The poster is gently lifted up off the backing. You can see where the bestine has seeped down behind the dry mount paper.|
|We still need to buy some size-small rubber gloves. Here Robin peels back the dry mount paper to reveal tape! Yay, more stuff to pick at!|
|Here's what the dry mount paper looks like once it's moulted. Yech.|
Your print may not have much value in today's market, but you'd be surprised what fifty or a hundred years can do for the value of ephemera. Linen backing really is the best way to mount paper. It's archival and reversible. If you take the benefits into consideration, and the avoided potential headaches, linen backing is easily worth the extra money.