Frame before you print

When choosing the final presentation for a print, knowing the choices ahead of time will allow you to make the print on the correct material and at the ideal size for the intended presentation.

If the print will be traditionally framed, first decide how it will be framed. Will you use a window mat? Will the print be framed to the edge of the image or will it be floated in the middle of the frame? Will the mounted print be floated in the frame or do you want to keep the paper border to mimic the feel of a window matte?

The paper you choose for your print should compliment your framing style of choice. If the print is going to be floated, then a paper with some thickness and presence will be more appealing then a thinner paper. Knowing whether or not a paper border will be used and what the relationship between the image and paper size is will also help you to choose the right support.

For most framing options, the print should be mounted to keep it flat. Depending on which option you choose, you may be able to see the mounting board.  Common substrates include: 1/8″ Sintra, 1/4″ Sintra, 1/8″ Dibond, and .063 Aluminum.

Window Mat

kenallen_website_ 107Framed to edge

kenallen_website_ 111Floated

kenallen_website_ 112Mounted Print Floated

FramingSample2up_LRPaper Border


If you are looking for a presentation that goes beyond the traditional frame, an option is to plexi face mount the print. If you go this route then you need to know which adhesive method your mounter will be using as this determines what type of paper you should print on. A matte paper is often used with adhesive silicone. At Ken Allen Studios we use an optically clear film adhesive, printing on a very smooth glossy material so no texture will be seen when adhered to the acrylic. Other considerations when face mounting are the thickness and finish of the acrylic. Common thicknesses are 1/8″ and 1/4″ with finishes in clear, UV, and non-glare. If the piece is going to be framed, then a backing board is not critical but still advised to better protect the print. If it will be a true “frameless” display then you need to choose a rear mounting substrate. Aluminum and Dibond add a nice contemporary look to the side profile of the piece while white and black Sintra will get the job done at a lower price point. The last consideration is how far you would like the piece to project off the wall. At Ken Allen Studios we offer 1″ and 3/4″ Aluminum tube braces as well as 1/2″ Z-Clips.

 Left: 1/4″ clear acrylic with 1/8″ white Sintra rear
Right: 1/8″ non-glare acrylic with 1/8″ Dibond rear.

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Aluminum Tube Brace

kenallen_website_ 060Z-Clip (bottom clip is mounted to wall and top clip hangs from it)

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