Print to Frame

When I began printing my images I knew I wanted to get them framed but the thought of outsourcing didn't appeal to me.  It is important to me to know exactly how everything is assembled and to be apart of the process every step of the way.  After much research on the subject, I decided to buy all the materials I needed to do it myself.  I will walk you through my own personal framing method when it comes to my framed prints.  In the example below is an image that comes in a wood frame.  For the images in aluminum frames, the difference is that there is no dust cover and I don't need to drill screws or drive framer's points into the frame. 

The first thing I need to do is cut the glass down to size.  I hand cut the glass using an aluminum ruler with a soft backing which grips the glass while also preventing any scratching. 

Next, I cut the matboards.  I use a Logan 850 to cut each of my mats.  For the 4 ply I am able to get 2 cuts per side of the blade.  With the 8 ply, I use one side of the blade per cut.  Because of its thickness, I need a fresh blade in order to get the cleanest and sharpest cuts I can possibly get.

After making the necessary cuts to the glass and matboard, I am ready to print.  I print using my Epson SureColor P600. This is Epson's newest 13" photo printer.  It is designed to make exhibition prints, with its ability to produce detailed color and rich blacks.  The images I am able to get from this printer are truly beautiful.

After printing, I place the image in a Lineco Museum storage box for at least 48 hours to let the ink settle while also protecting from dust.  When I am ready to frame, I title, date, sign, and number each image on the back in the bottom right corner.  I use a 4B lead pencil to sign each one.

Next, I center the image and mount it to the foamboard using archival and acid-free mounting corners. 

Once I have the print mounted, I apply Scotch 908 ATG Gold Tape using my ATG 700 adhesive applicator.  I apply two strips of tape per side.  This binds the matboards to the foamboard.  I use the same method to bind together the two matboards.

After adhering the matboards together, I center them over the image.  I press down on the matboards from the center of each side and slide my hands towards the corners, distributing pressure as equally as I can.  As I'm doing this, I am wearing clean white cotton gloves to avoid pressing any dirt into the matboard.

At this point, the matted image is just about ready to go into the frame.  Before doing so,  I remove any dust on the image or matboard with a pressurized air can.  I wipe down the glass once more with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or fingerprints and lay it over the image.  I inspect it closely for any dust or debris and remove if necessary.  This usually takes me between 3-5 times of laying down the glass only to discover a single piece of debris on the inside of the artwork.  Once I am sure the area inside the glass is clean, it is ready for the frame.

Now that the "sandwich" is complete, I can begin to drive in framers points to hold everything together.  

Two points per side.  Here's what the back looks like before adding the dust cover.

Back to the ATG 700 to line tape along the borders of the frame. 

After laying down the dust cover, I use a paper trimmer to cut the excess paper.

Next I drill 3" from the top for the D-ring hangers and hanging wire.

The last thing I include is a Certificate of Authenticity.  I print each CoA on the same paper I used for that particular image.  I use my RotaTrim to give me the precise cuts I need to reduce to 5x7.  Next, I use a custom embosser to imprint my logo on the bottom center, and sign it.  I include each CoA on the back of my framed prints which provides more detailed aspects of each image.  I include the title, the edition number, the date it was taken, the camera and lens used, the printer and paper used, as well as the image size and resolution. 

Here is what you can expect the back of my wood framed photos to look like.

And the finished product!

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