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I am working on a painting (acrylic) on heavy plywood (about 2cm thick). It is 48x48cm. I would like to frame it when it's finished. But I am worried about using screws. Is there a way to frame that painting without making holes in the back? Also, the whole picture should remain visible so I can't press its edges on the front against the frame...
Thanks a lot for your help.
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We do have a thread from awhile back that may be of interest (see here) so have a read and let us know if you have additional questions. "L" brackets combined with a bracing system along the outer edges (and possibly with an additional wooden bar across the back adhered to the outer brace NOT the panel) may be one way to go. We will check with some of our conservator colleagues on this subject as well.
After having reached out to a couple of framers who work closely with conservators, here is some information that they were willing to share: Screw only into the frame, liner/brace or subframe (strainer). Offset brackets is the chosen hardware for such an installation process. They are attached to a strainer, liner or the frame and will hold without any screws in the panel or stretch bars. If you want to frame it without covering any of it up under the lip of the frame, you should use a floater frame. Here's an example of one. The problem comes in holding the art in place. As a framer I'd normally use the offset brackets Jerry showed attached to the stretcher bars or screw through the floater frame into the stretchers. That's acceptable because the stretchers are the support, not the art. In your case though the plywood is more of an inherent part of the artwork and you stated you did not want screws in it. Another option for holding a painting in place in a floater frame is Dual Lock, which is sort of a heavy duty Velcro, but it still needs to be attached to the back of the painting. Finally, they may want to take a video and photos of the installation process for future reference. See the attached photo for reference (floater frame).Floater_Frame.png
One option is to glue strips of wood to the back of the panel along the edges to creat a full cradle or even shorter pieces to act as risers. A floater frame could then be attached from the rear by screws into the cradle or risers. There are floater frame mouldings on the retail market in 1 1/2 inche or 2 inches depth so the cradle/riser could be fairly thick. This system is sometimes used as a way to frame 1/8 inch thick tempered hardboard panels in floater frames.
A framer I know of recommended using dots of 100% silicone glue around the back edge of a panel as a way to easily float frame. One advantage is that a thin knife can be used to detach it without damage if a different framing method is desired down the line. A disadvantage is the unknown longevity of the glue. I have used a dual system to provide a backup -- paper hinges as a failsafe (as if you were float mounting paper art), plus the silicone glue.