How to Mount a Poster to be Hung

It's easy to temporarily hang a poster with tacks, double-sided tape, or poster gum. But for a more finished presentation that will look attractive outside of a dorm room or a teenager's bedroom, you'll want to mount or frame your poster before hanging. Poster frames in standard sizes are readily available at home decor stores. If you'd like to mount your poster, you'll need the following materials and tools:

  • art-handler's white cotton gloves (optional)
  • 1/4-inch acid-free foamcore sized a few inches larger than your poster
  • spray adhesive
  • iron
  • thin strips of wooden molding
  • hand saw for cutting molding
  • utility knife and new blades
  • straightedge
  • eyescrews and picture-hanging wire

Step 1--Mount the Poster

If you wish, wear cotton gloves to keep hand oil and dirt off your poster. Glossy images are especially susceptible to damage from hand oil. Lay out your poster and foamcore on newspaper. Thoroughly spray the foamcore with adhesive. Spray the back of the poster only if the adhesive manufacturer recommends that both surfaces be coated. If the poster is tightly rolled, temporarily hold it down with a few strips of scotch tape. Roll the tape on your fingers or your pants beforehand-- this will neutralize some of the adhesive and protect your poster. Starting with one edge, and gradually working your way to the other side, firmly press the poster to the foamcore. Your goal is to eliminate any bubbles from between the poster and the foamcore. If the poster was printed on heavy paper, you shouldn't have any difficulty eliminating air pockets by pressing and maneuvering the poster with your palms. However, to properly flatten lighter-weight paper, you'll need to use an iron. Place a thin cotton cloth beneath the iron to protect your poster.

Step 2--Trim the Foamcore

You will use the straightedge and utility knife to cut away the excess foamcore. Your cuts should penetrate the full thickness of the foamcore. Try a few practice cuts to make sure you know how to apply enough pressure. When you're ready, line up your straightedge with each edge of your poster and trim away. Remember that it's usually better to cut away a little of the poster than to leave an unsightly white line of foamcore. Fresh blades will ensure clean cuts, so be ready to swap blades a few times during this step.

Step 3--Cradle the Poster

Foamcore is the backing board of choice for professional framers. It's stable, lightweight, and durable. However, when temperature and humidity changes, foamcore may warp. To prevent warping, you'll attach a simple cradle that will stabilize your mounted poster in both directions. Purchase several lengths of thin wooden trim or molding at your local hardware store. For a "floating edge" effect, cut two pieces of molding a few inches shorter than the height of your poster. Place your mounted poster face down, make sure it is absolutely flat, and use spray adhesive to glue the molding about two inches in from either side. Cut two more pieces to run perpendicularly, and glue them pieces down. No need to worry about clean joinery: the molding isn't structural, and no one will be able to see it; its purpose is to prevent warping along the vertical and horizontal axes of your poster.

Step 4--Hanging

Allow your mounted poster to dry according to the adhesive manufacturer's recommendations. Use a nail or thumbtack to make two pilot holes in the molding behind the poster, and attach your eyescrews. Tie on a loop of wire and you're ready to hang your poster!