Those that have been enchanted by the luster, durability and uniqueness of metal prints may experience just one stumbling block: how and where to hang them. Luckily, metal prints are easy to frame and hang, provided you have the right tools, knowledge and the perfect space.
The metal prints that we are referring to use a dye-sublimation process. Other metal print options are available that use a direct printing process, usually printed with a flatbed printer. In those cases, the surface is usually more susceptible to scratching and other damage compared with dye-sublimation metal prints. Depending upon the ink that’s used, they may not have the fade-resistance of dye-sublimation metal prints. You can still frame them without glass or other glazing, but extra care should be taken.
Dye-sublimation metal prints may be sold with or without a hanging block (also called a mounting block or float mount), which is a rectangular piece of metal or wood that features small slots for nails or screws; these blocks are located on the back of the print. Alternatively, some prints can be ordered with four pre-drilled holes in each corner. These prints can be hung with small metal posts that attach the print to the wall. Both of these types of prints can be hung immediately, and will give the appearance that the artwork is “floating” off the wall much like a floater frame.
Challenges of Hanging Metal Prints
One of the downsides to hanging a metal print with four posts is that the print cannot be easily moved: once it’s on the wall, it’s there to stay. Additionally, instead of just one or two holes in the wall, you must create four, which can only be covered by a larger frame or by patching the holes. With the hanging block, on the other hand, you’re stuck with one look – floating – which may not match a more traditional home décor.
Even if your print comes with a hanging block or pre-drilled holes, however, you can still hang metal prints in a frame.
TIP: If you haven’t yet ordered a metal print frame, whether or not it has a hanging block determines what kind of frame and accessories you will need.
Keep in mind that a metal frame could potentially scratch the edges of a metal print, since metal will be in contact with metal. Apply self-adhesive frame sealing tape to the inside of the frame where contact is made between the metal frame and the print to mitigate this issue.
Wood frames will eliminate the chance of scratching but still require a backing board for support and to protect the metal print from the flexible metal “points” used to secure the art and backing. Regardless of which frame you choose, remember to take the thickness of the metal print and the backing board into account.
Metal Prints Without a Hanging Block
If your metal print has arrived without a hanging block, you can simply treat the print like any other piece of artwork and frame as you normally would, though without mat board or glazing. Metal prints don’t need to be as protected from the elements as carefully as paper-based prints, since the aluminum features a special coating that prevents it from degrading quickly.
Metal Prints With a Hanging Block or Pre-Drilled Holes
If your metal print has arrived with a hanging block, you’ll need to swap out one accessory: instead of purchasing foamboard to protect the print, you can order precut mat board that will be used as the backing board. The opening in the mat board will be cut to allow the hanging block to fit through.
Hanging blocks make metal prints far thicker, requiring a frame with a deep rabbet. Frame Destination carries a number of frames with rabbets at least ¾-inch thick to accommodate hanging blocks:
If the metal print has pre-drilled holes you’d like to conceal with the frame, measure the distance from the corner to the holes and purchase a frame whose width is large enough to cover them.
Location, Location, Location: Metal Prints
All frames should be hung on a wall with the hanging hardware secured to a stud or by using another secure method to ensure that the art does not fall off the wall. Metal prints can be hung wherever a regular print is located, but remember that some metal prints have a luster that can be particularly shiny when opposite a window or in a brightly lit room.
Because metal prints are so durable, they’re ideal for spaces with high moisture content, such as bathrooms, or rooms that frequently have odors or smoke, such as kitchens. However, in those situations, keep in mind that if the print is hanging from a wood or metal block that used an adhesive (adhesives can fail over time), you should take extra care and consider hanging those prints from a wire attached to a frame.
Metal prints can also be hung outdoors, but similar steps should be taken to avoid the potential failure of a backing that was attached using an adhesive.