Techniques for Stretching and Mounting Paper | Keeping the Pastel Surface Flat, Part 2

In last week’s posting, I shared a procedure for stretching pastel paper that helps to keep it flat when wet techniques are utilized. This week, the conversation continues with a couple of methods of mounting pastel paper that avoid an investment in heat press equipment or a trip to a professional framer, which can prove to be expensive.

commercially mounted pastel boards and mounting film | stretching paper

Commercially mounted Wallis Board, UArt Board, Lineco Neutral pH Adhesive and a package of Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film

Many pastel paper manufactures are currently offering their most popular surfaces on a heavier substrate. Examples are: Art Spectrum Colourfix Board, Canson Mi-Teintes Touch Board, Multimedia Pastel Panel, Richeson Premium Pastel Gator Foam and Ampersand Pastelbord. Two of the most popular sanded pastel papers, Wallis and UART, are also available pre-mounted to a pH-neutral conservation board. Dakota Pastels (, a mail order company, offers mounted Wallis paper as “Dakota Wallis Boards.” Mounted UART paper is available from any distributor of their products as “UART Boards.”

If the commercially available sizes of these surfaces don’t meet your needs or for economic reasons you wish to physically mount your own paper, there are both wet and dry methods that can be employed. The first consideration is the archival nature of the products being used. Always use a rag or pH neutral mounting board. It’s recommended that it be slightly larger than the paper for handling and positioning ease. The excess can be trimmed later or hidden under framing. If water techniques are to be employed on the surface, avoid adhesives that are water soluble such as Yes! Paste and many book binding adhesives. This defeats the purpose of mounting the paper. Spray adhesives should also be closely scrutinized. While they can provide good tack, many are not pH neutral and gas-off over time. This can produce a film on the inside of framing glass similar to the inside of a car windshield. It’s best to let spray adhesive mounted surfaces thoroughly air out for a few weeks before framing.

When wet mounting, acrylic polymer PVA mediums are very popular. In theory, any thick acrylic painting medium can be used as long as it doesn’t set too quickly. Personally, I use Lineco brand Neutral pH Adhesive. It’s a permanent, non-acidic PVA adhesive that dries clear, remains flexible, has excellent lay-flat properties, is buffered for added protection and is specifically designed for paper uses. I apply this liberally to the backside of the pastel paper, flip it over onto the mounting board, and apply gentle pressure from the center to the outside. Be very careful of adhesive oozing from the edges. If it gets onto the pastel surface, attempt to remove it quickly with a damp rag. These mounted papers need to be pressed under a large flat board to dry overnight.

A method for economical dry mounting is to use Grafix brand Double Tack Mounting Film. It’s available in two styles: original and archival. Be sure to use archival because it’s acid free. This double-sided adhesive film is permanent, easy to cut to size and doesn’t require heat or paste to set. It is available in sheet sizes 9×12, 18×24 and 24×36 inches. Simply remove one of the white polyester liners, exposing the acrylic based adhesive, and adhere it to the pastel paper. Then remove the other liner and position it onto the backing board. Apply gentle pressure and the paper is permanently bonded.

If a flat surface for your pastel techniques is a goal, I hope one of these methods of stretching or mounting will prove helpful.


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2 thoughts on “Techniques for Stretching and Mounting Paper | Keeping the Pastel Surface Flat, Part 2

  1. Lee McVey

    I like using Double Tack to mount my pastel papers to boards. It’s so fast and easy, espeically for the 6 x 8 and 8 x 10 sizes I use for plein air work. I’ve never used Lineco adhesive, but it sounds easy too.