So you have a treasured heirloom or costly investment you’d like to preserve and display? But you’ve already spent enough money on the item that the additional cost of custom framing just isn’t in the budget? Since art isn’t meant to be just stored in a box under the bed, here is a simple solution to help you enjoy your item while retaining its value.

 With archival framing, our goal is to create a sealed package for your work where no harmful elements exist, and barriers are in place to guard against external pollutants. In this economical scenario we’re a little more concerned with the “preserve” aspect than the “display” part of custom framing, so some of the more decorative elements like mats and fillets will be omitted.

 Starting from the front, glass in direct contact with nearly anything is a bad idea. Photographs may stick to glazing or leave a ghostly image behind. Condensation can occur during temperature and humidity changes and moisture may accumulate inside the glass leaving watermarks on artwork if a critical dew point is reached. Acrylic glazing, however, possesses different thermal properties and is a much safer option for the “Direct Contact Overlay” (DCO) framing method. This DCO is a generally accepted practice within the museum and collector community, and is suitable for many types of flat paper-based artwork. And in our scenario of archival framing on a budget, the best glazing option will be UV-filtering acrylic. This specially formulated glazing will block 99% of the light’s damaging UV rays. However, it is worth noting that 99% isn’t 100%, and even that pesky little 1% of UV light that makes its way through will still degrade your item over a long period of time, especially if it is hanging in direct sunlight. (It is very important to note that this method is NOT suitable for charcoal or pastel drawings. Many acrylics can carry a static charge which will lift the charcoal from the paper.)

 The other component to consider is the backing – what the artwork itself will be placed on. An acid-free and archival foam board will keep your artwork supported and ready to display, and the absence of harmful materials will keep it in its best condition. We’re essentially creating an archival and acid-free sandwich where the only components in contact with your art (the acrylic and the archival foamboard) will be of no threat to your item for long term display. This concept is similar to the small plastic sleeves that valuable baseball cards are stored in. Now we’ll line your frame with aluminum barrier tape, finish fitting the piece, and we’ve completed your archival package economically with very few materials.

This is a simple, safe, and minimal method to display many types of artwork but certainly not all. Please consult with your framer at Custom Picture Framer of Glenside to ensure that each of you are making the correct decisions in preserving your valued works on paper.