Tips for framing artwork

Today, there are many options when deciding the framework for your art. However, before making a decision, first, we must decide the style of work that you are planning on displaying, and then, we must take into account different parameters, such as, measures, colour or type of wall in which we are going to hang the picture. Here are some tips that you should consider while considering a frame to have a framed artwork in Australia.


Protect the art from manipulations, dust, atmospheric pollution, etc. as it is quite crucial. UV rays are the main agent of deterioration and yellowing of varnishes and paints. The cover protects its surface and prevents the infiltration of dirt and dust. Either frame with glass or frames with acrylic sheets, known as methacrylate, can be used.  Whether we opt for glass or acrylic, the protection sheet should never touch the surface of the work.


The methacrylate incorporates a “standard” UV filter. which is good enough. In addition, there is no risk of breakage. In contrast, it has long-term durability problems. Its low resistance to abrasion and cleanliness and its deterioration as opacity, grating and yellowing phenomena can appear very easily.

 In museums, there is a tendency to use methacrylate for the graphic work to avoid the risk of breakage and fragility of the crystals, mainly because if protector of any kind breaks, they could damage the work of art itself.

What is taken into account is that these methacrylates should be replaced by new ones. There is a similar type of plastic but much more expensive, more resistant to abrasion and degradation, which is polycarbonate.

It has the advantage that they weigh less than glass and do not burst into pieces when broken. But, on the contrary, they scratch very easily.

Since they have great electrostatic attraction, it is not recommended for graphic work of powdery techniques such as pastel, charcoal or chalk.

Glass is more resistant to friction, abrasion, and cleaning achieves greater transparency but has no UV filter and is easily breakable, with the risk that it can damage the work with one of the broken glass fragments. If the art framed with glass must travel, a protective tape is usually put on the entire surface to hold the fragments in case of breakage and prevent damage that could result in the fall of a fragment on the work.

A trick to determine if a work is framed with glass with UV filter is to look at any source of illumination reflected in it. If it appears green it has a UV filter. If it appears in the same colour as the light source, it has no filter.


Passpartout placement

The passe-partout is composed of upper cardboard, which presents an opening or window to show the work and lower cardboard that supports it. The most common cardboard thickness when making this type of assembly is 5mm.

Never fully attach the work to second support by traditional methods, used by photographers, such as dry mount tissue, spray adhesives, carpenter’s or rubber glue, pressure tapes (self-adhesive), etc. With respect to the adhesive tapes, we will never use our own packaging or office material, but the so-called “archival quality”, as these are designed for preservation assemblies and not to be applied directly to originals. These adhesives can penetrate the paper, and, by natural aging, yellow, darken, become stiff, friable and difficult to remove.

Many of the cartons available for framing are of very poor quality. The acid content of these cartons can cause the contact paper to yellow and become friable.

You have to choose cartons called “file quality” which are “acid-free”, with neutral pH and are sold in stores specializing in conservation material and many framing stores.

For the rear, which closes the frame from behind, holding the passé-partout in place and isolating it from the wall and external agents, we will use a rigid sheet of chemically stable material.


The use of corners, mounting strips or fastening strips allow us to mount a photograph to support without the need to apply adhesive on it, which facilitates its removal and dismantling of the art at any time.

Normal, triangular closed. This type of corner is the conventional one. The simplest and whose format can be purchased in the market, in ready-made corner boxes and ready to be pasted without further ado. It is the basis of some of the models that will be explained later.

We start from a strip of paper of width according to the size of the corner we are looking for. For example, 2 or 2.5 cm wide. We bend the ends of the strip perpendicularly. First one side and then the other, so that we form a triangular pocket, at a right angle, where the corners of our photograph will fit.

When gluing this corner to the mounting cardboard, we have several possibilities. We can do it with small pieces of double-sided tape, taking care that it does not reach the edges of the paper so that the adhesive does not reach the verse of the work in case it oozes.

Or, we can go through a strip of self-adhesive tape through the corner. This method is convenient and fast, common in places where the assembly of photographic work is constant. But this implies placing an adhesive layer too close to the surface of the work. The adhesive layer is separated only by a layer of paper, that of the corner, which may not be enough to insulate it.


On the contrary to the graphic work (in which a frame is essential)   crystals are not usually put on the oil paintings. It is considered unnecessary. It is more the risk of creating internal microclimates in works by the formation of humidity and temperature chambers when putting a glass that it advantages.


Attention with contemporary art, as the general fashion is not to put any frame. We have explained that the frame was initially created as a protective element of the art. But today, in general, the artist’s vision of his own work is given more importance than conservation needs.


If you are one of those who shy away from making holes in the wall with a drill, It is recommended that you choose to make your frames with a methacrylate glass instead of glass. The result will be equally aesthetic but the weight will be much lower, so you can hang your frames on the wall simply with a nail and a hammer.

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