Monday, 25 September 2017

Adding TABS to unframed artworks on paper

Having recently entered a selected art exhibition, a new quandary came up for me and it appears I'm not alone in this. We are required to supply our work to the show, unframed, with paper tabs attached for hanging... without damaging the work. After a couple of tests I have now made and attached the tabs and so thought I would share what I have done in case you too are wondering how to do this.

This is just my way of doing this - by no means an "official" or "approved" technique. 
Seems to have worked okay, thankfully! Whew! So far, so good!

I used Hahnemuhle Sumi-E rice paper to make the tabs as it is a strong but lightweight paper.
Cut 2 strips 10cm x 3cm. (The work I am hanging is 61cm x 40cm).

Fold the strip down leaving 2cm overlap.

Now, fold the doubled-up section in half onto itself. 

With the top section folded down, mark centre lines.

Punch a hole through all layers.

Using minimal cornflour paste, glue the folded section down.
Here's my recipe for cornflour paste which is archival and very quick and easy to make.

Put a weight on the tabs and leave them to dry flat.

Glue two tabs at the top of  the artwork, lining the fold on the tab up with the top of the work.

Weight all the tabs down to dry flat.

The tabs can be either unfolded and sit ABOVE the top of the artwork or they can be folded DOWN and remain invisible. This is my preferred option. Being unsure what the curators' intentions are in hanging the show I decided to allow for flexibility. The tabs can be cut down or could be gently soaked off if they need to be removed.

You could alternatively use purchased archival 
however, as this is not a regular requirement for me, 
I didn't want the extra cost. 

I'm keen to hear of any alternate ways to do this 
so please comment below. 

I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Thanks Beatrice, it was a bit white knuckle but worked just fine in the end. Hope your tabs are a success too xx

  2. Very impressive. Update when they have hung for a while and keen to know if they cut the mustard.;)

    1. Thanks Tracy. Will do. These works will be hanging at Mairangi Arts Centre at the National Printmaking Awards so I really DO HOPE they stay on the wall! Feeling confident they will do the job tho'.


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