Turning Your Work Into Artwork

To see the new website and blog, visit Brooke Murphy Photography {here}!

A few months back, one of my Mom’s acquaintances had asked to purchase one of photographs.  I brushed it off as a form of flattery and thought nothing more of it.  The next time I saw this acquaintance, she again brought up the photo and said that she really was interested.  I let it slide – why on Earth would anyone want this photo?  It didn’t make sense.  Mom called a week or so ago and said “Toni wants it, in black and white, please do it this time.”

OK… third times a charm… your wish has been granted… I’ll do it.

But I didn’t just want to print the image and hand it off.  I mean, she was purchasing this photograph to hang as art in her home (her bathroom to be more precise).  I had to dazzle it up a bit more to appear professional [because I am not].  And to take my claim to fame.  Even if it is in the john.  So I mounted it.

I haven’t mounted anything since high school art class.  And even then, posterboard and masking tape were the main ingredients.  So I did some quick research, purchased the supplies and mounted this bad dog.  And I happened to have the kahuna poised to share with you how to mount your own photographs if you wished to gift them or to keep for yourself.

It’s very easy.  Actually, the only thing I found difficult was separating the hinging tissue from its backing.  And I’m not gonna lie, the supplies can add up quickly.  I made an extra purchase of protective plastic sleeves since I was going to be shipping this mat – I’m not taking any chances on it getting dirty, faded or worn.  But let’s hop to it.

How To Mount A Photograph


What you need:

  • a mounting board (the back)
  • a mat
  • adhesive hinging tissue
  • a photograph

You’ll notice that my mounting board is blue.  The photo and mat will cover it so it really doesn’t matter what color it is [which is good because the store didn’t have white boards].  And I selected a white mat.  There are debates on using colored mats and I figured white is universal enough for Miss Toni.  I did re-process my original image and made hers black and white; at first I was on the fence but once I saw it matted, I liked it.


First, I hinged the mounting board and mat together with the adhesive hinging tissue.  The tissue is acid-free, should cause no discolorations and will help the pieces stay together.  I laid the board facing up and the mat facing down, lined their tops up and taped them.


I didn’t have a long enough piece of hinging tissue so I cut another so that the adhesive strip would extend most of the length of the boards.


Once it’s hinged, you can fold the mat down on the mounting board.  Everything should be square.  Now you’re ready for your photo.


The mat’s opening will be slightly smaller than your photograph.  You’ll want to move the photograph around, closing the mat to make certain you’re OK with its position.


Once you find the right place, take a pencil and mark the corners of the photo on the mounting board.  You don’t want to lose your place.  Believe me.

I decided to create a T-hinge with my photograph.  Since it  will be matted, the adhesive strips will never be seen.  There are other techniques – I didn’t do those.  It’s my understanding that a T-hinge holds the photo in place but also allows it to naturally expand with the mounting when framed; if you taped the photo down completely, bubbles would be created over time.


To create a T-hinge, you first need to apply two two-inch pieces of the hinging tissue to the back of the photo.  When you lay the photo on the board, the adhesive side will be facing up.  Line your photo’s corners up with the pencil marks you made earlier.


To finish the T-hinge, take a second piece of adhesive tissue, about two-inches in length, and lay it over the top of the first piece, creating a “T”.  Same for the other side – don’t want to forget about the other side.


And then you’re done.  Your photo is mounted.  Or rather, my photo is mounted.  And matted.  Much more professional than just a flat 8×10 in a cardboard envelope.  Yeppers.


The only thing left to do was tag and bag the finished product.  I’ve heard so many different people weigh in on how to sign, where to sign, what to sign, what to sign with on a mat.  I chose pencil (HB) and signed my name and dated it the year it was taken, 2009.  Since I really have no title for the piece (I didn’t feel comfortable writing “Week 21: Toilet” on the mat), I left it off.  This is enough for me.  The last thing to was to slide it in the protective plastic sleeve.

Wow.  Looks… real.  Whodathunk?

There’s something rewarding about placing that white mat on top of your work.  I happen to like that feeling.  And I hope that Miss Toni likes her new bathroom art.

To learn more about Brooke and see her recent work, visit her new site at brookemurphyphoto.com. Follow Brooke on Facebook or Twitter.

June 15, 2010 - 10:49 am

Wendi - Great How-To Boo. And I love that this image is going in someone’s bathroom. If I had art in my bathroom, I’d want this too.

June 15, 2010 - 11:11 am

Susan the Pod-Mate - Wow, that looks fantastic!

June 15, 2010 - 11:16 am

amyblam - Awesome instructions! I think even my clumsy self could pull that off!

June 15, 2010 - 12:30 pm

Anamaris - I love that shot too! i know what you mean about your own work–if you even consider it that. I’ve had friends make similar requests, but, like you, I think it’s just because they love me and feel they’re required to. I frame and hang my shots at home and my office, and I love looking at them and remembering the moment I took it.
It’s good to have outside fans of our work, I think we’re too critical of ourselves.

June 15, 2010 - 11:57 am

katie o. - It looks so freaking cool! Now I just need to know what you charge for your work…because I’m really liking this idea. :)

June 15, 2010 - 1:15 pm

Anamaris - also, you’re rocking that nail polish. Whatitbe?

June 15, 2010 - 12:19 pm

classicoriginal - Love it!

June 15, 2010 - 1:38 pm

shutterboo - @Anamaris – I agree. I mean, I look at my own stuff so often that I normally find nothing but the flaws. Just like when I get a blemish – all I see is the blemish, no one even cares to notice. :)

June 15, 2010 - 1:39 pm

shutterboo - @Katie – You’re too sweet. Seriously, too sweet. You’re giving me a toothache.

June 15, 2010 - 1:39 pm

shutterboo - @Wendipants – Thanks yo!

June 15, 2010 - 1:39 pm

shutterboo - Hey A, I can’t remember the name of it, some Sally Hansen brand stuff. But I call it “Electric Youth” because I feel like I’m bringing back the eighties.

June 15, 2010 - 11:10 pm

M. Addiea - Hi, I really like your blog! I don’t take pictures much and when I do I really don’t know what I’m doing (lol) but I love just looking at the pictures on your website. They’re so beautiful and vibrant. It’s inspirint!
I just started a blog of my own (there’s nothing much yet). Check it out sometime! :) http://www.peopleandraindrops.blogspot.com

June 16, 2010 - 10:13 am

rev - you wanna be a knight, then act like a knight…read Don Quixote, man it’ll change your life.

June 17, 2010 - 8:14 am

Annah - That is one great photo :) My friend Marcus would love that sort of thing. Congrats!

June 17, 2010 - 11:22 am

M. M. - Very nice. :)

June 23, 2010 - 2:01 pm

preparationmeetingopportunity - Thank you for this! I usually get everything I need for DIY online and this is NO exception. I’m so glad I found your blog!

July 3, 2010 - 9:44 pm

katie o. - okay, it’s official, i have to have this photos (signed by you of course) hanging in my downstairs bathroom. I haven’t hung anything on the walls because I’m secretly waiting to have your picture hanging in there. does that make me a dork?

July 14, 2010 - 12:58 pm

Larimie - This post was beyond helpful! I’ve been meaning to do this with some of my work and you made it seem so easy. Thanks! I can’t wait to get started! P.S. I love the new theme. It looks good.

July 16, 2010 - 9:59 am

Victoria - Great tutorial!
I’ve been thinkin’ ’bout this just recently. Perfect timing.

Question: Where do you get your shots processed? Was that mentioned up above?

P.S. Love the new site :)

July 16, 2010 - 10:41 am

Brooke - Thanks Ms. Riddles!
I order through flickr and they upload/process through snapfish. And I print everything in matte because it looks so much better than glossy photos. Snapfish usually has some coupon codes to apply to help save money too (like 50 4×6 for 50cents). But a matte 8×10 is $2.99 + shipping (S&H is where they get you). You can also have them printed through Walmart/Walgreens through snapfish but I just let them do it; I think it’d be easier to get refunded if need be. I’ve been using snapfish for a few years and have had no problems though.

August 18, 2010 - 3:46 pm

MB - Remember, O can always give you free tips if need be. Great stuff. Would expect nothing less. :)

August 18, 2010 - 4:13 pm

Brooke - Thanks MB! Long time, no see. :) I did think of O when I did but I’m not framing – only matting. I still need to that newspaper article from my MIL… I’m thinking I’ll visit O after Thanksgiving. :)

August 21, 2010 - 8:49 am

Jeff - Hey Brooke –

Decided to return the visit and see what you’ve been up to – turns out to be luscious photography! Also enjoyed reading about your photo framing. Never tried it myself – yet. Looking forward to that day when I get a similar request!

Keep writing, keep shooting!

– Jeff

S o c i a l
M o r e   i n f o