Using Acrylic Glazing for Your Picture Frames

Glazing is one of the protective components in picture frames. It keeps dust and grime from settling into the photo or artwork. The glazing also protects from the oils and dirt that may come from the curious fingers of children or the grimy paws of pets. In the olden times, people used convex glass not just to keep off the dirt from the photo but also to minimize the points of contact between the photo and the glass.

Over the years, people shifted from convex glass to flat glass. With the use of matting, the surface of the photo no longer needs to touch the glazing. The glass can also be fitted with additional protective properties, such as UV protection.

However, glass is prone to breakage and cracking. When the glass breaks, the shards may cause damage to the picture. Also, glass is heavy. An oversized frame that uses glass may run the risk of falling, especially if the hanging mechanism is not solid enough. The frame itself may be compromised, so you need to check that the thickness of the frame is enough to support the added weight of the glass.

Thank goodness, then, for acrylic glazing!

Benefits of Acrylic Glazing

Acrylic glazing provides a great solution for the problems posed by glass. It works for both picture frames and display cases. Here are some of the benefits of using acrylic glazing for your picture frames:

  • Shatter and crack resistant. Acrylic, which is made of durable plastic, does not easily break and can sustain a fall without cracking. If your house has children or pets, you should use acrylic since it is safer – there will be no shards that can injure children or pets.
  • Lighter. Compared to glass, acrylic is lighter. This makes acrylic ideal, especially for large frames. The overall weight of the frame and glazing is considerably less so that you do not need to reinforce your hooks or hanging mechanisms.
  • Visual clarity. Glass produces a greenish or yellowish tint, depending on the angle by which you view the picture. On the other hand, acrylic produces no such tint and thus is considered more optically pure. And because acrylic is able to let more light into the frame, the image is also clearer.
  • Additional protective capabilities. Acrylic can also be equipped with UV protection and glare protection. Because acrylic lets more light in, you also need some protection against UV rays. You also have the option of adding glare protection so that viewers can more clearly see the image framed inside.
  • More convenience in shipping and storage. Because of its durability and light weight, acrylic makes shipping and storage less of a challenge. Glass, on the other hand, needs to be carefully wrapped and handled with utmost care.
  • Better thermal insulator. During warm or cold weather, glass is prone to produce condensation from the inside. This, in turn, may cause water damage to the photo.

Disadvantages of Acrylic

That said, acrylic also is not without its disadvantages. Acrylic is more expensive than standard glass.

Static may also cause dust to stick to the surface of the glazing so you need to carefully wipe and clean the glazing, ensuring there is no residual dust in the inner surface of the glazing. In addition, because acrylic can bend a little without breaking, acrylic can also be more prone to warping and bowing.

Although it is shatterproof, it is not as immune to scratching as glass is. You need to be careful when cleaning acrylic because using harsh chemicals and rough fabrics can cause scratches on the surface of the acrylic. Over time, these scratches can affect the clarity provided by the glazing. When cleaning acrylic, avoid using paper towels and cleaners with ammonia.

14th Jul 2015 Eric Morgan

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