“Hinge mounting” is framer-speak for mounting artwork by suspending it with tabs of tape. When performed using tapes designed for the purpose, hinge mounting is considered a sound archival mounting method and can be used with oneof- a-kind artwork, such as original art on paper or limited-edition prints. Proper mounting and hinging tapes are acid free and have the quality of “reversibility”, meaning that the stickiness of the adhesive can be reversed and the tape can be peeled cleanly off the artwork without damaging it, if need be.
The most common hinge mounting technique is called the T-hinge. It is used when the window of the mat is slightly smaller than the artwork and the edges of the mat’s window therefore overlap the edges of the paper. A tab of tape is applied vertically at the top edge of the artwork about two inches from the corner (Figure W‑1). Half the tape is adhered to the back of the artwork and half to the back of the mat. A second tab of tape is applied vertically in the same manner about two inches from the opposite corner. Then both tabs of tape are crossed with additional tabs of tape for the purpose of reinforcing the hold of the first tabs against the back of the mat (Figure W‑2).
Note: Only two tabs of tape are employed against the artwork. The artwork is not taped along the full length of the top edge, nor is it taped at the sides or the bottom. It simply hangs in the window. The reason for this is two-fold. First, because we want to conserve the artwork, we want to minimize the amount of adhesive we put into contact with it. Second, it is the nature of art on paper that it “breathes”. That is, it expands and contracts as it absorbs and releases moisture. Unless we are going to coat the artwork with adhesive, we cannot prevent it from breathing, and anything we do to restrict it from breathing will create buckles and waves. In fact, most artwork that shows evidence of buckles and waves has been improperly mounted by taping it along the full length of the top edge or at the side or bottom. Proper hinge mounting promotes breathing by taping the artwork at only two points.