Picture Frame FAQs

There is more to picture frames than just putting a photo on a ready-made frame. There are also some considerations you have to make in order to preserve the photo. There are also options to customize the picture frame or display case by using convex glass, inline oval frames or custom display cases.

Here are some of these considerations and frequently asked questions that relate to picture frames:

What determines the cost of the picture frame?

It depends on the options for various aspects of the picture frame – the size, the material (wood, metal or plastic), the type of glass and the type of molding. Optional additions such as additional matting or backing will also increase the price. Of course, custom frames and display cases will be more expensive, especially for uniquely-shaped frames.

What items can be framed?

Virtually anything that is “flat” enough. Aside from pictures, posters and certificates, 3-D objects can be framed using display cases and shadow box frames that provide more depth to accommodate items thicker than paper. Some of the objects that were placed in frames include wedding bouquets, sports items and memorabilia, items of clothing, a guitar and collector plates. There are also acrylic domes that allow the framing of objects that have more depth.

Is glass necessary to the picture frame?

It depends on the item you want to frame. How precious and rare is it and how well do you want it to last? Movie posters that are not rare or photographs that have digital copies can make do without the glass. However, as the item becomes more treasured and hard-to-find, adding a glazing option is a good idea to keep off dust, moisture, molds and other damaging articles. There are also glazing options that minimize the damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. You can also opt for acrylic glazing, which is more resistant to cracking and breakage than glass. Acrylic also provides more options pertaining to UV protection and viewing clarity. However, you need extra care when cleaning acrylic as it is prone to scratching. In addition, if you desire to have the look of an antique picture frame, you can opt for convex glass.

Is matting necessary?

Matting is optional but it performs the important task of separating the photo from the glass. Over time, the presence of moisture inside the glass may cause the photo to stick to the glass. Peeling it away may result in damage to the photo. Matting also adds another level of aesthetics to the frame and the photo, providing a “frame within the frame”. This gives space between the photo and the frame edges so that it directs the eye to the photo, rather than the frame. Another function of matting is that it allows you to do more with your photo/s. You can have window matting to display more than one photo, crop your photo to the desired size or hide any damaged edges. There are also more colors for the matting than those available for the moldings of the picture frame.

How much matting do I need?

This is a matter of personal aesthetics. A general rule of thumb is to have matting that is 1.5 times the dimensions of the picture, that is, 1.5 times its width and length. Another option is to have weighted matting, where the bottom of the matting is wider that the mat above the picture.

Why consider conservation framing?

Conservation framing offers framing and mounting techniques that seek to preserve the photo or artwork for as long as possible. Normal paper, cardboard and cardstock contain lignin, which can be found in the paper’s wood pulp. Over time, the lignin in the paper can produce acids that may seep into the matting and the photo. This, in turn, causes spotting, discoloration and brittleness in the photo paper. Ideally, a treasured photo should use conservation or archival material in its papers, matting, backing and adhesives.

16th Jul 2014 Eric Morgan

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