Quick and Cheap Mounting for Laserprints

1 Oct

There are all sorts of fancy, and often expensive, ways to properly mount your photos. However, sometimes you just want a way to tidy up a printed image. It doesn’t matter that it’s not archival and may die after a year – you can always print another one. This is how we’ve mounted a few recent pictures. No guarantee of longevity but that’s ok with us – we plan to cycle at least one new picture onto our walls every month.

  • Find out the heaviest card that you can print through your laser printer (in my case 170GSM) and that you can buy cheaply (in my case 160GSM), and print your picture out on this A4 white card. If your printer has manual feed options for printing heavier materials, you will want to use them.

  • Here’s a table full of requisites:  The printed A4 picture, black A3 card, metal ruler, pencil & paper, glue stick, paper cutting device (knife or guillotine), a sheet of glass, and a couple of heavy weights with straight edges (in this case samples of granite benchtop). Also required, a cloth and (in my case) magnifier.
  • All printers have an “unprintable area”, in my case about 6mm, at the edges of the card. Unless the picture happened to be exactly the same aspect ratio as the paper, there will also be a wider white strip at top/bottom or sides. These look ugly – but don’t just chop them off. Measure outwards from the printed image for 2mm.

  • And cut the card back to leave just the 2mm of white along the edge.

  • Repeat on all four sides.

  • Now measure the dimensions of your trimmed photo, and also the dimensions of the A3 black card (which should be 420mm x 297mm).

  • Calculate the offset from top/bottom and sides. Ii.e. left offset = (width_of_a3 – width_of_picture) / 2.

  • Put the black A3 card down and position heavy, straight-edged objects in from the edges by the calculated offsets.

  • Apply glue-stick to the back of the printout, paying particular attention to the edges (a waste piece of paper helps). This is a $2 stick of “Amos” brand glue.

  • Place the trimmed and glued printout carefully onto the backing sheet. You don’t want to get glue anywhere but underneath the printout as it will show on the black.

  • Burnish flat with a piece of cloth (here, a tea-towel). Laserprinter toner is melted plastic – it doesn’t rub off easily.

  • Place a piece of (clean) plate glass over the picture to press it flat. This piece is out of a flat-bed printer.

  • Put some heavy-ish objects onto the glass to press everything flat. A sheet of paper protects the glass from getting scratched. There’s about 3kg used here.

  • Leave for 30 minutes (min) to 24 hours (max). I haven’t noticed much difference. Final result is as below. Bonus for us, if when we have another earthquake, these won’t do any damage when they fall on your head!

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