Whether you are bringing your art to a professional frame shop or doing it yourself, we have some tips and tricks for you to keep in mind.
- Insist on conservation grade materials. Materials that are acid-free and specifically designed for use in art framing are the only acceptable choice! Scotch tape and cardboard do NOT count!
- Explore your mounting options. Any original artwork must be mounted in a safe and reversible way; if you want to re-frame this piece later, you should be able to. Hinging is the generally accepted way to safely mount two-dimensional art. Hinging tape can be self-adhesive, heat-activated or water-activated. (NOTE: dry-mounting is a popular and relatively inexpensive way to mount that is *not* reversible!)
Learn more about mounting and substrates HERE.
- Use glass or plexiglass to protect your art! Photographs, watercolors, and pretty much anything except sealed paintings NEED a type of “Glazing” to protect them. It can be standard glass, anti-reflective glass, UV resistant glass, or even plexiglass – but something needs to protect your art from splashes, bumps, spills, drops, and other calamities. We generally prefer glass that has UV-resistant coatings as well as anti-reflective properties. Learn more about glazing (and our free glass replacement policy) here.
- When cleaning glass, make sure to spray your cleaning solution onto the paper towel (or, preferably a microfiber cloth) and then clean the art. DO NOT spray cleaners like windex directly on the glass! The solution will often seep into the matboard or even into the art itself – a sure way to ruin your art.
- While we’re talking about glass – it is important to ensure that the glass does not physically touch the art. It can touch matboard, but it should always be spaced off the art in some way. Matboard is often a simple way to create this space. In other cases (especially when framing posters or photographs without a matboard), an adhesive acrylic spacer is applied to the glass to provide this space.
- If you are using Inkjet prints, make sure the print has plenty of time to “Off-Gas” before being installed behind glazing.
- When installing your framed image on the wall, use TWO hanging nails instead of one. This gives you extra insurance if one of the nails fails and also helps to keep the image perfectly level on the wall.
- If at all possible, ensure that your artwork stays out of direct sunlight throughout the day. Even with UV resistant glass, temperature and humidity changes will be affected more strongly under direct sunlight.
We re-do shoddy framing all the time. The biggest DON’TS include:
- DON’T use glue of any kind on your art!
- DON’T use tape to hold things together!
- DON’T use cardboard, even just as backing!
- DON’T skip the glass!
When in doubt, take it to a local, professional frame shop and feel free to ask questions! Any respectable shop will make you feel comfortable leaving your art in their experienced hands. You should feel respected and your questions should certainly be answered. Make sure whatever shop you choose is willing to stand behind their work.