Float Framing Without Glazing


WOW Framer
Artist has two items to float frame. One is a 6" cast resin 'tile', with a bas relief sculptural element on the front. The other, a 10 x 20 photo printed on metal. Wants to mount a metallic finish mat substrate to hardboard (or something similar), then attach float items and frame without glazing. (More to them, but that's the salient information.) These are prototype designs that he would then keep making on his own. (Or have the cruise lines frame them?) They need to be sturdy enough to survive temp/humidity changes in shipping, and travel to different climates.

I told him that, even if mounted to a sturdy substrate, a mat without glazing is vulnerable to humidity and surface damages, but he loves the look. He plans to float off the mat with wooden strainers that he'll attach, and I said he needs to make sure his adhesives can withstand temperature extremes. I also told him that plastic can contract/expand. (I don't know if cast resin does the same?) I also said he needs to use materials that can stand temps from freezing to over 120 degrees. I suggested that, rather than just attach the items to the mat surface, it might be good to screw through the board backing the mat substrate and into the strainer. I can imagine doing all this, but the main question I have is about what adhesive to use. He plans to glue his resin tile to the wooden block/strainer with something like Gorilla clue. (I suppose VHB tape would also work). He thought something fierce from HD would be fine for the mat, but I said that we have to use something that's not going to harm it. For fairly light projects, I tend to mount mat substrates to Canvas Mount Core and call it good. But we need something that wouldn't warp with humidity. What glue/adhesive would you use for attaching the mat?
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Forum Support Team
Staff member
Awesome selection, nothing close to me unfortunately.

Shayla, why not paint or spray paint the back board? I don’t see mat boards as an option really. You would be more flexible in choice of materials. Trip to your local lumberyard or hardware store!


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
In most cases, "Artists" were never taught the physics of the materials they want to use.

Wide temperature ranges and durability are to topics that are generally not clearly understood by the uninitiated. Ah, and then add in cost of materials! The artist has to have some flexibility in their final package design.

We all know the adage:


David Hewitt

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Sign company can help a a-lot. Thinking Dibond with decorative metallic vinyl cover. Mount strainer to tile, and metal with VHB, 100 percent silicon, contact adhesive, or a liquid nail type product. The strainer can be mounted to Dibond with screws for easy removal.


WOW Framer
Thanks so much for all these ideas. He's used to working in bronze and is trying to branch out. Came in and fell in love with a fancy Bainbridge mat finish. He's obsessed with it, and not being a painter, I can't create something similar. He needs something creative, durable and easily repeated, as he plans to scale up for mass sale. I'll pass these ideas along.


PFG, Picture Framing God
Have Home Despot do a color match of the mat for paint. I do it all the time.
Once he has the color matched, it is in their computer and they can remake it over and over.

He can then spray a piece of plywood or masonite or something as the backdrop for his "art".


Forum Support Team Angry_Badger
Staff member
The pattern on the mat can be scanned and printed directly to a stable substrate. ACM (DiBond) would be my go-to.
If there is a copyright issue, the surface paper of the mat board can probably be purchased from Bainbridge by the roll and mounted to a substrate and laminated.
Remember to charge for your design time for this one as the final production will probably be outsourced to a production facility.