Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flattening Art Work for Mounting

Caring for children's work is a bit of an obsession with us. We build portfolios over the course of the year and send the collections home at the end of each school year. In the previous post, Labeling Children's Work, I shared a little bit about how we label children's work. There is often a lot of work that precedes mounting the pieces the children have been working on.

We use a variety of surfaces for paint and collage, but primarily we use some kind of paper. As paint or glue is applied to paper, it pulls and shrinks it. On some collage projects, like the Kuitca-inspired paintings the children worked on last year, paper must be glued onto the back to balance and pull them back onto a mountable surface.

On easel paintings or on simple painted paper, I use an iron. If I have time, or rather if I don't have time to sit and iron, I use hollow blocks to flatten works. Some items take A LOT of weight AND time. We have a collection of large boards in the basement that we use to flatten works like the glue-washed easel paintings and the latest BIG paintings. After a few days these works, which before flattening would have resisted all methods of adhering to our walls for display, are ready to emerge like butterflies.

A stack of glue-washed easel paintings ready to emerge.
The BIG paintings are on 60-inch lengths of recycled, heavy stock paper. With each 
layer of paint and brush stroke, the paper pulls and shrinks. I place the paper, painted 
side down so that curled portions don't become creases -- children can put creases in 
paper, but it should not happen during my care!
I had to use several sheets of 4'x8' plywood because the BIG painting are so BIG! They have to be flattened because the paper's weight will pull it down unless the tape is able to attach itself evenly.


  1. Your posts are so helpful Lesley. Thank you. Maria @ E11 :)

  2. Thanks Maria! I was kind of worried about this post. I worried that it may be kind of bookkeep-y, but I spend so much time trying to figure out how to keep things up on the walls!