By Chris A. Paschke
Looking for framing tips or considering DIY frames when it comes to protecting and presenting your pastel work? Get started by learning how to apply your own dust cover.
A dust cover is the sheet that is taped or glued to the back of a completed frame to prevent dust, dirt and debris from getting into the package. It also retards pollution and bugs, although the little critters can eat through almost any paper, glue or tape. Papers are available in a variety of grades; Brown Kraft paper, Black Kraft, Lineco Gray and White Tyvek are the most common.
Brown Kraft paper quickly ages, gets brittle and yellows. Black Kraft paper is classy looking, but has carbon in it that can leave a mark if bumped against a wall and will leave a ghost on any light colored wall over time even without direct contact to it.
Lineco Dust Cover Paper is used most often in preservation framing practices. It’s a 40-lb., blue/gray, acid-neutral buffered paper available by the roll from Dick Blick. All Tyvek is neutral pH, tear, dust, mold and mildew resistant, and also water resistant—something all other papers are not.
Dust Cover Step-by-Step Application
All your new tools may be used for application of a dust cover. Use your bone folder to crease selected paper 1-2 inches larger than the frame, then cut with a sharpened bamboo knife. Apply a continuous line of double sided tape with ATG gun to the back of the frame about 1/8-inch from the outer edge.
Apply the cut backing paper by squaring it to the far end of the frame and press firmly to attach the tape. Pull the loose sheet tightly and attach at center of opposite end by pressing firmly to tape.
Snuggly pull paper to the table, creasing the paper and press against the adhesive along the full end edge to the corners.
Beginning from the center of each side, pull and press the paper to the tape. Once you’ve snuggly pulled and pressed it, firmly rub around the perimeter to hold.
With a steel-cork-backed steel ruler and sharp knife, trim excess paper from the edges 1/8-inch in from the frame exterior.
After trimming the paper, rub away any exposed tape adhesive along the outer edges, then burnish the edges with a bone burnisher or folder.
Attach wires for hanging with a cordless screwdriver. Add plastic or felt bumpers to the bottom corners to lift the bottom away from the wall, stabilize the frame and allow air circulation.
The finished dust cover will be taught and clean. Never use water, a mister or a paper backing to tighten it. Doing so could make the dust cover shrink unevenly and damage or break a narrow frame. Moisture should always be kept away from art and framing. Learn the correct method for application, and the dust cover will always be taught without the addition of moisture. Also, selecting heavyweight 45- to 60-inch papers makes dust cover application easier.
Chris A. Paschke (www.designsinkart.com), of Tehachapi, California, is an artist, certified picture framer and guild commended framer. Read her framing tips for using household items to help protect your work in the August 2014 Pastel Journal, available in our online shop and on newsstands July 15.
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