Backing boards for framing question : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Good evening all,

I am getting ready to frame up B&W prints in Nielson frames (14x17 and 16x20). I will be using either #11, 12, or 22. I am using 4 ply mat with a 4 ply over mat, and 1/8" acrylic sheet for glazing. My question is:

Is a backing board necessary? Light Impressions says no. My local very good framing shop says yes, because warping will eventually occur.

If needed, should I use acid free foam core or is non archival ok? Local framing shop says non-archival is just fine if my drymounted print is on 100%rag which it is.

Thanks for your input!


-- scott jones (, August 30, 2001



I would add the backing board for greater strength, particularly if you plan to ship the prints to a customer or gallery. The backing board will also keep the Nielson metal mounting clips from damaging your drymount board. I would also opt for the higher quality foam core or museum board. Unless you are talking about a larger number of framed prints, the long term cost of adding good backing board is not that significant.


-- Dave Willison (, August 31, 2001.

Scott: The backing boards are important here in the South where is air is mostly water. Without backing, the mount board will swell with the humidity and pull away from the overmat, leaving a gap between it and the print (I learned this the hard way doing outdoor art shows). Things will return to normal once dried out. I use either mat board or acid free foam core. The foam core is very stable, but easily damaged if you are transporting framed prints. I cannot say for sure if it is safe to use cardboard as a backing, although I have seen it used. I am afraid the acid in the board will affect the print even though it is not in contact with it.


-- Doug Paramore (, August 31, 2001.

I use Light Impressions acid free corrugated board- it works well.

-- David Rose (, August 31, 2001.


I have to agree totally with Doug. I too do outdoor art shows in the South where humidity is a real problem. I always use foamcore backing board and it works beautifully as a moisture barrier. I frame all of my work in Nielsen #11 frames. If you use truvue glazing, 4-ply window mat, 4-ply mount board, and foamcore backing, you don't have to use the spring-like retaining things to hold the work in the frame. Everything will fit firmly into the frame.

-- Ken Burns (, August 31, 2001.

Backing boards are indeed a good idea, but you don't have to spend an arm and a leg for archival foam core. Light Impressions makes an "Archival Corrugated" board which looks just like the one-ply cardboard used for boxes only grey. I is solid, 1/8-inch thick and, being acid-free, will not damage prints or mount boards over the long term. The best thing is, it is only a fraction of the price. Calumet carries it as does, of course, Light Impressions. I order from Calumet because Light Impressions has higher freight charges. Check it out, it may suit your needs perfectly. Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, August 31, 2001.

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