Dry mounting a movie poster isn’t always cheap, but if you are looking to display your piece of art, it may be the best decision you could make.
That being said, there are many ways to go about getting it done. We always recommend the professionals, and below you will see why. One other note is that dry mounting is not appropriate for all posters, especially old and collectible ones…you could destroy the poster and its value.
In fact, some restoration companies charge hundreds of dollars to remove the unwanted dry mount paper from the poster, and it’s not always successful.
Plus, there are articles of disgruntled poster owners out there that had collectible posters dry-mounted only to learn later their posters are now worthless.
Is it worth dry mounting a poster?
There are many ways to display a poster, and dry mounting is one of the best for general posters. Linen backing is also an option, but that is a whole different process and sometimes done by movie poster collectors.
What is dry mounting?
Mounting a poster basically means using a technique to hold the shape. For example, if you just put a poster inside a frame without a mounting, it could shift, crease, and curl.
Dry mounting is a method of securing the poster to a type of backing board like foam, plywood, or coroplast. This is an excellent way to prevent rippling and cockling.
It is an excellent method for movie posters because they are shiny and glossy, but they are made from paper that is easy to roll up, making them likely to curl up in a frame if they are not mounted.
The process of dry mounting a poster involves the application of heat to bond the poster to the board through an adhesive. Most posters handle heat well, but obviously, don’t try it with anything that contains wax or oil, for example.
We go into further details about the process of dry mounting in this article here.
Why should you dry mount a poster?
There are many ways to mount a poster, but what are the benefits of dry mounting them?
Dry mounting is a permanent procedure; once it is done, it is done. You will not have to re-do it, touch it up, re-apply glue, or swap out backing boards.
If you have chosen a quality backing board, then the dry mounting will outlast you. It is a really effective way to mount any poster of any size, and it will never curl or ripple, which posters can do with other methods.
There are many ways you can dry mount a poster, and they all look great. For example:
- You can dry mount onto a thick backing board and mount the poster to the full size of the board. This means you can hang the poster without a frame of any kind. This is a great contemporary look.
- You can choose a high-quality board that is pretty itself and bigger than the poster. This creates a border and a frame without needing an actual frame.
- You could get the poster mounted onto a thin board and have it hung within a custom frame like you would a piece of art.
Versatility is important because your circumstances may change, or you may need it to fit into a new environment. For instance, you could move homes or offices.
What are the disadvantages of dry mounting?
The only real disadvantage is that it is permanent.
So, it would help if you had an idea in mind how you want to display it before deciding on which board you want to dry mount the poster to.
Once it is done, that is it. You cannot change your mind. If you do not have a vision or style that you are going for, you might be best using another mounting method.
You also have to be prepared that the poster could be ruined in the process, it is unlikely, but it is possible. If too much heat is applied, it could leave a mark, or if the person makes a mistake and leaves a crease in the poster… that cannot be fixed.
However, you should only be using dry mounting for general run posters anyway (non-collectibles), so if you ruin one by mounting it, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to you, although it is annoying.
The reason I say you should only dry mount general posters is that Artist Prints and Limited Editions should never be dry mounted.
Dry mounting is a permanent method and will reduce the value of an Artist Print or Limited Edition. It would be best if you always left Artist Prints and Limited Editions as close to the original condition as possible.
How much does dry mounting cost?
Obviously, money plays a massive role in how you want to display your poster and the main reason you are here…so let’s dive in.
By a professional
If your budget allows, I would recommend you let a professional do it. They will be more experienced, practiced, and have better equipment than you. For example, they will have a proper vacuum press, while you would probably have to use a clothing iron.
It is a quick process, but you will have to pay for the labor time. You will also usually have to buy the materials from them, which they will have applied a mark-up on.
Probably the main cost will be the backing board, and what size and quality you choose.
As a guide for a standard backing board and dry mounting for a 24×30 movie poster, then you are looking at the $25 – $75 range, depending on quality materials. As with anything, shop around, but the cheapest option isn’t always the best option.
You will also want to consider a frame, and sometimes you may need to get a custom frame which we discuss here.
If you have a clothing iron and some scissors, then doing it yourself is very easy and cheap. All you must do is buy the backing board and dry mount paper.
However, you must factor in the time you will need to learn and practice the technique to make it look professional, and remember if you make a mistake, the poster is effectively ruined.
So, doing it yourself is definitely an option, but sometimes it is better to pay someone who knows what they are doing.
Dry mounting is a very reasonably priced way to make a poster look even better in your home or wherever you decide to show it off.
Also, if collecting posters is your thing or you want to get into it, then you have to read this article: