A lot of people ask why should I spend the money on custom framing. The truth is maybe you shouldn’t…
You shouldn’t if you don’t care how your artwork will look over time.
You shouldn’t if you don’t mind some yellowing.
You shouldn’t if you don’t mind wrinkling or wavy artwork.
You shouldn’t if it’s “just a print” and you don’t mind buying another one and doing it again later.
And you shouldn’t if you just hate art in general. (Only joking, but seriously…)
The truth is that custom picture framing isn’t just for museums or galleries or artists, it’s for anyone who wants to protect and preserve any art or picture or anything for that matter.
Every component and part of custom picture framing is done to preserve or protect the art in someway.
Moulding – the wood (sometimes metal) part on the outside – is for protecting the artwork structurally. This creates the outer shell to protect the art from impacts and lays the foundation for all of the rest of the pieces to basically attach to.
Glazing – otherwise known as the glass or acrylic front – is there to protect the face of the art from dust or particles that could damage your artwork. It can also be used to stop damaging UV rays from hitting the artwork or picture. Glazing basically has measured or graded by three things – how much UV light it blocks, how much un-harmful light it lets through, and how much it doesn’t allow glare. As you can imagine all three of those things with glass are fairly impressive on there own, but when you start combining all three to make super (museum), UV-proof, crystal clear non-glaring, glass it gets very expensive.
Matting – otherwise known as Mat Board or the paper looking stuff, with a window, that is touching the art – is used to stop the artwork from touching the glass. Basically, it will buffer any moisture that would normally make the artwork stick to the glass and ruin it. The higher quality mat boards (which I will get into further in another post) will basically allow the artwork to stay the same longer. You’ll probably hear the word acid free being thrown around a lot when describing mat boards, and there are different degrees of acid free (like I said, I will get into later) but the truth is that the more expensive the mat board, the better it will protect your art and the longer it will last without yellowing or browning.
NOTE: Honestly the difference between “normal” (not acid free) mat board and the first level of acid free it shouldn’t be more than maybe $10. It is totally worth it. With non-acid-free mat board you’ll probably get a few months before you’ll be able to notice yellowing and with the first level of acid-free you’ll probably get a year or two.
The rest is basically just structural. There is a backing board that is usually foam core or some other type of board. There is the wire that hold the whole thing to the wall. And then there is the dust cover on the back that can either be just framing tape over the edges or a (usually kraft) paper all over the back.
After all of this you may say, I can just buy the materials and do it myself. This is true, you could… but the truth is that you could also buy all of the materials and build a house. And some people do, but most people are better off not doing that and just hiring a professional.
Custom framers have spent a lot of time learning and perfecting their craft. If the artwork or picture is at all important to you, I really suggest at least talking to a framer about it. Most framers would love to educate someone who doesn’t know. If you find a custom framer who doesn’t then they probably don’t know what they are doing anyway…
That being said, anyone can always drop us a line and ask any questions about custom picture framing. Any one of us will be more than happy to help.
If you are going to try to do custom framing yourself, for the sake of the future of art, please study up on it a bit. It’s really sad to see a beautiful piece of art get taken away from the world too quickly because of some silly amateur mistake which could have been avoided by an odd hundred bucks or just a bit of googling.
– Independent Framing