Block mounting blueprints

I bought some absolutely beautiful blueprints from Aviation Shoppe of a P-51 Mustang, F-4U Corsair, F-86 Sabre and a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. They were very affordable and quickly posted. That’s where the problem started however, I had no idea on how to mount them or even where to hang them and so they’ve sat in their cardboard tube in my office for an embarrassing number of months now… (9 if we’re counting)

F-86 Blueprint as it arrived in July 2011

As I’d recently finished cladding the cinder block wall in my office I now had somewhere to hang my blueprints and so I decided to get somewhere to mount them. I did the obligatory google and found a few local art houses that would mount them. However I never really got any further as it became reasonably obvious I’d be paying more than I paid for the prints to get them mounted. What to do? Well go to the local hardware store of course. There I purchased some sheets of 6mm MDF ($11 per sheet) and some Ados Multipurpose spray adhesive ($17 a can).
I took a sheet of the MDF and clamped some straight pine as a router guide and routed the sheets down to the size of the cut marks (950mmx650mm) already on the blueprints (they have very generous over hangs for mounting).

Routed MDF ready for mounting

The reason I used the router is because it gives the smoothest edges. Since I planned on wrapping the edges of the print around I didn’t want a jagged finish which you’d get from a jigsaw or skilsaw. The rest of the mounting was relatively simple. I sprayed both surfaces (MDF & back of the blueprint) with the Ados in a hatch pattern (45 degrees and then back over perpendicular to the first run). I allowed a minute of tack and then started the alignment process. Now this is where if I was smart I would’ve waited for some assistance. I chose the Ados as it “remains positional for 2 mins”. Whilst this is true, it wasn’t easy with a large sheet of paper and contact adhesive. Fortunately I managed to salvage the job to a reasonable standard and then worked on smoothing the paper from the centre out. I’m not sure if the solvent of the glue activated some of the blueprint ink or if the ink is always going to come off if you rub it but I don’t recommend using a rag to press the paper down. I’d looked for a rubber roller at the hardware store, like the ones you used to use in art class, but couldn’t find anything suitable. The blueprint hasn’t smeared but enough colour transfered to the rag to make me feel uncomfortable.

Blueprint aligned on block and smoothed

I kept an eye on it for the next 20 mins or so which is the bonding time as stated on the can but was generally happy with the initial smoothing bond. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with this Ados spray adhesive. After a couple of hours (the can says 24 for full set) and rolled the blueprint over onto it’s front after putting some towels on the saw horses for protection. I then repeated the spray and press process to fold the over hangs on to the back to get the wrap around affect. Some judicious trimming with a sharp knife and I was very pleased with the result.

The final result, block mounted and wrapped Merlin blueprint

I’m totally happy with the finish although I’m not sure what to do about the protection of the surface (it’s still just paper after all) or exactly how to hang it. Currently I’m thinking of epoxy or polyurethane glue mounts on the back although a little mechanical assistance would be preferred. I think for the second attempt I might put some screws through the front into some glued blocks on the back. This will entail a little more work as I’d need to fill the holes in the front again so this is still something I’m pondering. In the mean time I’ll be appreciating the awesome blueprint adorning my mancave.

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3 Responses to Block mounting blueprints

  1. John says:

    Those are beautiful Scott (I had no idea you could even buy blueprints).

    As a nipper I worked in a picture framing shop and we regularly sprayed mounted posters with several fine coats of polyurethane aerosol. Maybe you could sink some rare earth magnets into the MDF (and wall) and stick the posters to the wall with magic 🙂

    • scott says:

      The polyurethane idea I’d floated past my better half but she wasn’t convinced but your endorsement has swung me. Thanks!

      Hmmm, maybe I should make a rail of magnets and have all my pictures levitating along the wall, then they can be rearranged with ease 🙂

  2. James says:

    Love this! Keep up the posts!

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