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It's not all about the frame. What about the glass?

A picture frame could be defined as that object you put around an artwork to match your home decor and to help make the room look pretty, right? But at our bespoke picture framing studio we know that this is just a tiny part of the whole process. There are many technical aspects to consider if you want a good job done. One of those aspects is the frame itself or, more accurately, the rim or moulding you choose to frame your photos, original artwork, posters, etc. The main function of the rim is to help protect the artwork from being damaged. There are many different options available in the market but today we are focusing on another protective aspect of the picture framing process: the glass.

Art framers know very well the importance of using the appropriate glass for each picture and the First Floor Gallery Picture Framing Studio offers all rages of glazing from conservation to museum level.

The most common type of glass is the so called clear glass. It has some reflection on it and a bit of uv protection as well. It's the most economical way of protecting artworks like watercolours, photos, memorabilia or needlecraft. If mirror glass has 100% reflection on it, clear glass has about 7% only. Guild Certified Picture Framers use glass that has been designed specifically for the picture framing industry as not any sort of glass is suitable for this purpose.

If you want to avoid the 7% reflection on your pictures that you get with clear glass then the best way to go is to use non-reflective glass. The important characteristic of non-reflective glass is that it has about 1% reflection. This sort of glass will always make any artwork look better and it is commonly used for works that have a dark background, needlecraft or box frames as it allows to see detail without any impediments.

Despite the fact that artworks should never be put into direct light, sometimes the room where they are going to be displayed has too much natural light. Using non-reflective glass under these circumstances is highly recommended despite the slight increase in costs if compared with clear glass.

For artworks that require a higher UV protection level due to their value or age, the best glazing options are UV glass and museum glass. Their price is something to consider but really worth it when preservation and protection of the item is paramount. In general, non-reflective glass has about 70% of UV protection whereas UV glass has between 98% and 99% protection.

Finally, we would like to introduce you to acrylic glass which is much lighter than other types of glass but at the same time is less fragile. This sort of glazing is commonly used in work environments, spaces used by children or in highly trafficked areas. Acrylic glazing can even have non-reflective properties and UV protection like the type used in museums for instance. Where health and safety is important, acrylic glass is the answer despite its higher costs as this sort of glazing is much less fragile.

As you can see, there are many glass options available in picture framing and the ones presented here are just a few of them. Many of you may be wondering if canvases would ever need any kind of glazing and the answer is yes, but: paintings on canvas are usually protected by the artist using several layers of varnish that can be satin, matte or glossy with or without UV protection. This should be enough protection against wear and tear however, always try to get informed if the painting has been varnished by the artist at the time of purchase.

As bespoke picture framers we always look into the various options and prices for glazing artworks with you in our framing studio so you can take the best decision of what sort of glass to use.


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