What is Archival Picture Framing?
By Bruce Wood, MFA
Archival picture framing is the art of protecting pictures or paintings from the environment. There are special procedures that need to be followed in order to protect the pictures properly. This article will discuss everything you need to know.
A painting will slowly deteriorate if it's left exposed to the environment. There are many things that can degrade the integrity of a picture. Some of the most common include light, mold, and dust.
Sunlight and strong fluorescent lighting will cause the color to fade over time. With archival picture framing, special glass is used to filter out over 97% of ultraviolet light. Acrylic can be used instead of glass. Acrylic is lighter than glass and also won't shatter during shipment. However, acrylic can be scratched easily. It may also be unsuitable for use in large frames since it may bow.
Archival picture framing also helps keep mold at bay. It's common for the surrounding temperature to fluctuate. This combined with humidity changes can increase the likelihood of mold forming on the interior of the glass. It's important to keep the temperature as consistent as possible.
For proper archival picture framing, you must also use a proper matting to separate the painting or picture from the glass. The matting has to be acid-free to keep the paper from disintegrating over time.
It is also best that you use a paper dustcover across the back of the frame. This will allow air to circulate to the benefit of the painting. If you choose not to use a dustcover, you may experience a few problems. Particles of dust will get inside. Small insects can also crawl in and cause problems.
There are a range of options you can use to attach simple pictures. If you want to use tape, you need to ensure it's completely acid-free. If you use masking or scotch tape, the paper will turn yellow over time. Another option is to use simple acid-free photo-corners to keep the picture in place. You simply attach them to the backing board to hold the four corners of the picture. That way you don't need to use any adhesive to keep it on.
Archival picture framing helps protect your painting or picture from the environment.
Lighting can have a negative effect, so using proper protective glass is vital. There also needs to be matting to protect the painting from the glass. A dustcover should also run across the back of the frame to help keep dust and insects at bay.
This frame includes a shadow-box for the medal,
plus archival matting and mounting for four documents.
Museum glass was used to help preserve
the collection and reduce reflections.
A first-release CD with cover-art and case.
This collection of historic photographs is archivally
matted and mounted in a gold-leaf frame.
Museum glass was used to help preserve the
collection and reduce reflections.