Choosing The Right Type Of Tape For Your Archival Needs

Taking care of your family’s valuable memories is an important part of adulthood. Photographs capture a single moment in time that, in many cases, can never be relived. As a result of their delicacy and uniqueness, photos must be cared for in the same way that you would treat the memory itself: with a gentle and informed touch so as not to damage or change it.


Whether you’re interested in displaying or storing these delicate moments, you’re usually going to require the use of tape. There are two main kinds — adhesive transfer and mounting/hinging — which we will then break down into their most important categories to ensure you’re using the right tape for the job.


Adhesive Transfer Tape


Commonly referred to as double sided adhesive transfer tape, this type is used primarily for sticking double mats together, attaching dust covers, and gluing spacers and fillets in place. They have a high initial tack (which means they grab surfaces quickly) and offer a secure, long-lasting bond.


  • ATG Tape: This adhesive is “reverse wound”, meaning the stickiness is on the outside of the roll for use in an adhesive transfer gun, or ATG. It can be quite cumbersome to work with manually as a result, so we don’t recommend exploring this type if you don’t have the accompanying gun. Since the acid content in paper is directly connected to its life expectancy (a neutral pH is ideal), ATG tape is available in an acid-free variety.


Mounting and Hinging Tape

As their name suggests, these tapes are used primarily for mounting photos, artwork, and papers to a mat board or backing board. “Hinging” describes the attachment of the mat and backing board together along the top edge, creating a seamless look and alignment. If you’re interested in hinged drop front panels, T-hinges, or V-hinges, you can’t rely on the classic adhesive transfer tape.


  • Linen Tape: Linen tape is a pliable white tape that is the ideal choice for hinging window mats to backing boards, although it also performs well in bookbinding and folder making. It is (shockingly) made of linen, and has a greater tensile strength than other tape options, making it an excellent choice for heavy or large pieces and photographs.
I’m Allison Febrey, editor of Art Magazine Online. After a few years too long in the cut-throat, competitive world of the New York City publishing industry, I decided to follow my passion and create an online magazine for modern artists around the world. This is a community site, if you’re an artist or just an art admirer, feel free to join the discussion!

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