Ready to pull out your arts and crafts skills to enhance your movie or concert poster and place it in an expensive frame and hang it?

Dry mounting your poster may be the simple and cost-effective way of solidifying your piece of artwork within its frame. In fact, most people don’t realize the benefits of doing such.

However, there are posters that you will not want to dry mount which we explain below!

When and why you should dry mount your poster

So, you have a poster that you really like, and you want to hang it up on a wall in a frame. 

But first, you will need to decide how to mount it. 

What is mounting

It is a way to hold your poster in place so that you can frame it without the poster shifting, drooping, and creasing. It’s a necessity!

What is dry mounting

Dry mounting is a way to bond a poster to a piece of paper, card, or backing board. This method is permanent and long-lasting. The poster will hold its shape in any given frame you choose.

How is dry mounting done

Dry mounting usually involves a vacuum press, some sort of hard backing, and glue. 

It is an excellent way to ensure posters stay flat and crease free, so there is no chance of rippling or cockling. 

What mounting boards are usually used

  • Coroplast
  • Foam
  • Mighty
  • Plywood
  • Sintra

Benefits of dry mounting

  1. Permanent: Once a poster is dry-mounted, that’s it. It is permanently fixed to the backing. So, you don’t need to worry about having to re-do it again in the future. 
  2. Quality: If it is done correctly, then the poster will not fail, and it will remain in excellent condition going forward.
  3. Framing: The poster and backing are permanently fixed, but the frame isn’t. You can easily swap out frames without risking damage to the poster. So, if you move to a new house, or redecorate the one you are in… you can just buy a new frame that suits the new place you are going to hang it. 

What types of posters should be dry mounted

Dry mounting is great for any generic poster you like that you think you would like to frame and hang on a wall. For example, an open edition movie poster from a poster store is ideal for dry mounting. 

Basically, anything that can be easily reproduced or is cheap to replace are good options for dry mounting, as if anything goes wrong, you can just go and get another one. 

If you do have a collectable movie poster worth serious money you may want to consider getting it linen backed which is a whole other topic. We cover it in detail as well as the pricing. Check this article out:

What types of posters should not be dry mounted

You should not dry mount posters that are numbered or signed as this will decrease their value and make them less sellable.  Basically, any poster that is collectible and going up in value.

If you do not think you would be able to get the same poster easily or cheaply or are looking to sell for a profit… then dry mounting should probably be avoided.

A great explanation on dry mounting and how it is done correctly.

How to dry mount your own poster at home

I would recommend you get a professional to do it, but it is a fun little task to try yourself if you are ok with potentially damaging the poster.  The following explains how to use dry mounting paper with the heat activation effect.

Step one

Buy some dry mounting paper, these are easily available in stationary, art, and online stores. 

Step two

Buy a backing. If you intend for the backing to be the frame and hang it without a frame and glass. Then make sure it looks nice and is of good quality. If you are intending to always hang it in a proper frame behind glass… then any backing will do as it will not be seen. 

Step three

Cut the print to the size you want to match the backing. The two main techniques are to cut the poster to exactly match the size of the backing. The other method is to have the poster smaller than the backing so that the backing is effectively the border and the frame all in one. 

Step four

Cut the dry mounting paper so that it is the same size as the poster. The dry mounting paper can be slightly smaller than the poster, but it should not be larger or visible in any way. 

Step five

Professionals use a dry mounting press; you will probably use a standard home clothing iron. It must not be on a steam setting; you need to use dry heat.

If your iron has dirty marks or scratches of any kind… then you are best using a new iron and if this is going to be a regular hobby, then keep the iron solely for dry mounting. 

Heat the iron to a temperature recommended on the dry mounting paper instructions. 

Step six

Line up your backing, dry mounting paper, and poster in the position you want everything. Then tape the poster down at the edges with tape that will not damage the poster.

You will start the heat bonding process from the middle of the poster, so this enables you to ensure the poster does not move. 

Step seven

Put some blotting paper over the top of the poster as an extra piece of protection from the heat; it should be fine without, but the blotting paper is very cheap, so you might as well use it. 

Dry Mounting

Step eight

Take the preheated iron and place it in the center of the poster. Leave it here for 3 minutes or as per the dry mounting paper instructions. Carefully remove the tape. Then repeat the process all around the poster.

Do not use constant motion like you would when ironing a shirt. Place the iron on a new place and leave it there for the desired time. 

Step nine

Let it cool for half an hour or so, then it is ready. 

Final thoughts

Dry mounting a poster yourself is really easy and you can get great results really quickly. 

Just take your time and follow the instructions. 

If you are a bit nervous about trying it, then I would recommend you practice on some unwanted posters until you get used to the technique. 

Also if you are interested in collecting posters you may want to add a few from this list to your collection:

And if designing posters is your thing, you will want to check out our YouTube channel, which offers free tutorials on using Photoshop and Illustrator to create amazing poster designs.