game room with unversity of alabama memorabilia, diploma frame, and shadow box on wall

Are you wondering how to frame 3D art? If you have decorative art, invitations, birth or wedding announcements, or other items with 3D art, consider preservation by framing them in a sponge-mounted frame or 3D art shadow box. Used by framing professionals, sponge mounting is a technique that can be used before framing to cushion your artwork.

Sponge mounting allows you to flatten a piece and remove any warping or cockling while maintaining any 3D raised elements. Done properly and by an experienced framer or conservator, sponge mounting can improve severe warping and allow for safe mounting and a nicely framed presentation of items with 3D elements.

Sponge mounting can be used for items with raised 3D elements, such as:

  • stationary
  • note cards
  • envelopes
  • birth announcements
  • wedding invitations
  • school graduation announcements
closeup of quilled paper flowers on homemade card

When we refer to 3D elements, these may include embossed seals or marks, raised designs, decorations, low-relief cast paper designs with soft edges, calligraphy, or monogrammed stationery. Performing mounting methods other than the sponge technique is potentially damaging to these 3D framed art elements. For example, traditional dry mounting will not work because any raised areas will get crushed.

A dry mount press is used with sponge mounting, but with a protective, thin layer of sponge foam overlay. This creates a cushion covers the entire area of the artwork and thus prevents the 3D frame art of the piece from being compressed during mounting. The sponge molds itself to the varying heights of the object to shield it from the pressure of mounting. When done with a mechanical press, the depth of the platen or heated surface may need to be adjusted to account for the extra layer of foam. In a vacuum or cold press, no special adjustments should be necessary. Do not use a reversible heat-activated board for sponge mounting projects as the sponge will leave residue on any exposed adhesive area.

wall with wedding photos and shadow box filled with memorabilia next to plant and mirror

Since the sponge mounting technique is permanent, it should not be used for irreplaceable originals, such as diplomas, certificates, or original artwork. If you have a diploma or document that has become cockled or warped, proceed cautiously in any attempt to flatten it.

The primary concern to keep in mind is the long-term preservation of the document, so be sure any steps taken are reversible and will not cause further damage. As with original artwork, a small amount of warping is considered normal and is preferable to jeopardizing the safe preservation of the document.

If investing in sponge mounting isn’t for you, have your 3D wall art framed in a custom shadow box instead! An impressive and affordable option, a shadow box is a 3D art frame that allows you to arrange items how you’d like and provides space for a variety of items to be displayed. A Church Hill Classics shadow box is a 3D picture frame to help you showcase your most valuable memorabilia.

A shadow box keepsake frame is designed to preserve and protect 3D framed artwork and items like children’s crafts, polaroid photos, concert bracelets, event tickets, dried floral bouquets, and more. The framing opportunities are endless, and a major benefit it it’s not permanent! It’s easy to rearrange 3D shadow box art or switch out keepsakes whenever you’d like.

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