how i float mount a photograph

September 06, 2013

diy photograph float mount
Tomorrow I am throwing caution to the wind and entering a small selection of my most recent photographs into the local amateur photography contest just for the experience of it. This is my first ever such foray into such things and so I wanted to choose a simple yet elegant way of displaying my photographs without going in for lots of fancy (and potentially expensive) framing methods that I didn't feel was suitable for this very local, community event.

After a little research into my options, I decided to choose a simple, non-framed floating mount. This elegant technique works on a variety of media where you want to show off the edge as much as the content of the piece. As the name suggests, a float mount raises the artwork away from the background mat, giving it the illusion of hovering just above the surface.

This is how I did it:

diy photograph float mount
pencil & eraser, metal rule, craft knife & cutting mat, 1/4 inch foam-core board, plastic sheet or newspaper, spray mount adhesive, clean sheets of paper, mountboard, wax paper, masking tape

1. Print and trim photograph to size. In this instance mine was 5x7 inches.
2. With pencil, measure and mark where the foam board will go on the back of the photograph.
3. Cut foam board so that it is 1/2 to 1 inch smaller than the photograph on all sides. For example, I cut my foam board to be 4x6 inches.
4. Cover your work area and gently spray one side of the foam board with fixative.
5. Align the foam board with your pencil marks on the back of the photograph to centre it, and press down.
6. Sandwich your photo and foam board piece between two sheets of clean paper.
7. Weight it down with a heavy book for 1-2 hours.
8. Meanwhile, cut your mount board to size and lightly mark out the position of the photograph using the foam board piece measurements. Slightly off set it so that the bottom is deeper than the top to give a more visually balanced result.
9. With your pencil, locate the centre points of your cross-marks and press firmly into the mountboard surface. Then erase all working pencil marks to leave four dots.
10. Mask off the exposed reverse edges of the photograph with wax paper, leaving only the raised foam board uncovered. Once again gently spray the foam board with adhesive.
11. Using the pencil indents on the mount board, line up the four corners of the foam board on the back of the photograph. Press lightly.
12. Finally, cover the photograph once more with a clean sheet of paper to protect it, and again weight it down with your favourite heavy book. Leave overnight to secure adhesive.

For the purposes of the local competition I am entering, I have chosen to leave my photos without further framing such as in a shadow box like this for now, preferring to leave them a little more informal. I hope my choice is a good one.

diy photograph float mount
**Oh, and in case you're wondering, the photograph shown here was taken on my recent trip to the Pacific Rim National Park, on Wickaninnish Beach. The rock art, or 'inukshikairn' as we nicknamed it, was of my own construction.

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