How is the back of the frame sealed?
The sealing of the back of your frame is primarily functional, not decorative. The purpose of sealing the back of the frame is to seal out insects, dust and dirt. All three of these elements love to get inside of a frame without an appropriate backing.
There are four main types of backing applications, the choice being that of the individual framer, unless otherwise specified:
- Paper backing: This is an American style of backing. Adhesive is applied around the perimeter of the back of the frame, a brown or black craft paper is applied and then trimmed. In the USA, this is the style which is most common.
- Framing tape backing: This is a European style of backing. Brown, black or white framing tape is applied around the perimeter of the back of the frame to seal the gap between the frame and the backing board. This can be more durable than the paper backing technique. In Europe, this is style which is most common.
- Oil paintings on canvas: Oils are a special consideration. They are normally paper-backed, but a cut is made in the middle of the backing. The paper backing provides physical protection, plus a degree of protection against dust and dirt. The cut out in the back is necessary to allow the oil to ‘breathe’. An oil never completely dries, and if a cut is not provided through the backing for ventilation, mold may develop on the canvas.
- Metal frames: Metal frames are not backed because they are, for all practical purposes, not sealable due to the convoluted channels inherent to metal frames.