Framed with glass, plexi, .125"?

SALLE au FOND - Paris

A
SALLE au FOND - Paris

  • 0
  • 0
  • 65
Hectic

D
Hectic

  • 4
  • 0
  • 135
Standing Out

D
Standing Out

  • 1
  • 0
  • 105
Chloe

A
Chloe

  • 2
  • 3
  • 191
Waverley Station

A
Waverley Station

  • 1
  • 3
  • 231

Forum statistics

Threads
189,836
Messages
2,647,312
Members
97,359
Latest member
Inaaf
Recent bookmarks
0
Joined
Feb 15, 2023
Messages
17
Location
Calitalia
Format
Medium Format
Hello photogs, I'm working on a series this summer in black and white and slowly accruing old frames. I am curious as to what the general consensus is regarding putting them behind the glass or Plexi or not at all. Glass I think kind of finishes It Off. 1/8 in?
Does the Plexi seem to work out as well? Are you papering the back in the classic way?
 

Valerie

Subscriber
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
1,182
Location
Magnolia, Tx
Format
Multi Format
Lately I've shown work framed but no glass. I know traditionalists will be in a huff, but its interesting to try new ways.

After the latest show, someone suggested varnishing the prints as a layer of protection. I'll be trying that soon.
 

xkaes

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2006
Messages
2,765
Location
Colorado
Format
Multi Format
I generally use SS (single-strength) glass but move up to DS for larger prints. That makes them pretty heavy, and need a heavier frame. For murals, I don't use glass -- too heavy and expensive.

Plexiglas is OK if it's a short show, etc. but it collects dust and can't be cleaned without scratching it.
 

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
48,340
Location
Southern California
Format
Multi Format
Because of the possibility of earthquakes in California art stores and framing stores have moved to using plexiglass instead of glass. They off plain, non-reflective, UV protection or non-reflective UV protection plexiglass as choices. I have some of my prints behind non-reflective, UV protection or non-reflective UV protection plexiglass dependent on location of the prints.
 

Pieter12

Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
6,067
Location
Magrathean's computer
Format
Super8
If you will be shipping the prints anywhere, acrylic (Plexiglas) is pretty much the way to go. Shattered class will ruin a print, guaranteed.
 

George Collier

Subscriber
Joined
Feb 23, 2005
Messages
1,307
Location
Richmond, VA
Format
Multi Format
I've used Lucite (acrylic, plexiglass, etc) for many years because of weight and ease of using. Also glass often has a very light green in tint. If you polish the lucite it with Brillianize, it will have a nice smooth quality to it and the static charge will be removed, nice for putting it together. I have prints that have been framed for 30 years - they look like glass (except for the green thing.)
 

fdi

Advertiser
Advertiser
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
406
Location
Dallas, TX
Format
35mm
Hello photogs, I'm working on a series this summer in black and white and slowly accruing old frames. I am curious as to what the general consensus is regarding putting them behind the glass or Plexi or not at all. Glass I think kind of finishes It Off. 1/8 in?
Does the Plexi seem to work out as well? Are you papering the back in the classic way?

My company has this glass vs acrylic guide for picture framing here: https://www.framedestination.com/info/glass-vs-acrylic-infographic.html
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
Plexiglass is a brand name. Acrylite and Lucite are other brand names. For small framed prints, .10" acrylic is fine, but once you get a bit lager, .125 (1/8th") would be preferable. You need to allow a little expansion/contraction room inside the frame rabbets. And it bows a little toward heat in larger applications. It being plastic, it's also electrostatic and attracts dust, so you need to peel the masking paper off in a clean environment and then treat the plastic with antistatic plastic cleaner, like Brillianize already mentioned, using a soft microfiber cloth with its lint shaken off or preferably rinsed out first.

The advantages of acrylic is that it's resistant to breakage and a good thermal insulator, discouraging mold growth on its inner surface. Acrylic also has a higher transmission factor than regular glass - it's clearer. The disadvantage is that it's pricey right now, and is susceptible to scratching or hazing if improperly cleaned. Unless you buy it precut, you need the right tools to size it. Small jobs can be done via a simple handheld scoring blade and steel straightedge, then snapping it. But production work is more involved, and you might need dedicated equipment.

I have my own framing digs and can easily handle any size of acrylic or even sheet glass up to six feet wide. I've worked with quite a few types of both, including expensive optically coated picture framing glass. I overwhelmingly recommend acrylic instead for most photo purposes. You don't need to be paranoid about shipping it. There is even an optically-coated reflection-free version of acrylic, but then you're talking very serious money.

I don't personally care for the muting effect to blues in color prints which UV-control acryics do (analogous to how pink skylight and amber 81A filters do shifts color film response). Nor have I found them taming the effects of UV all that much, certainly not as any alleged substitute for avoiding UV-rich display lighting entirely to begin with. But the previous post looks like a good resource to discuss and price your options.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
8,080
Location
New Jersey formerly NYC
Format
Multi Format
I made up around 30 16x20" color prints in 22x26" metal frames with glass. They were hung in my house for a lot of years, then put in storage and then shipped by truck with my furniture when we moved. Nothing broke. In retrospect, non-reflective glass would have been better although I don't know if it was available back then 25 years ago or too expensive. But today, I would always use it. The framer papered the backs.
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
Old-style non-glare glass was just basically etched or frosted, so completely unsuitable for photo applications. It's still made and widely available in thin pieces. But for several decades now, sheet glass has been coated much like lenses, at relatively high price. It's similar to tempered glass in requiring special cutting wheels.

One problem with real glass occurs in commercial environments or certain geographic locales where you get strong diurnal temperature swings which induce condensation behind the glass, especially when hung on poorly insulated perimeter walls. And it can be a serious issue in humid tropical climates too. Where a print is shipped, and how it is going to be displayed is critical to doing an ideal frame sandwich.
 

MTGseattle

Subscriber
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Messages
787
Location
Seattle
Format
Multi Format
Living in a large-ish metro area helps here too. I've tried to use the supposedly "museum grade" acrylic products for the art around our house. There's a specific brand of it that Tap Plastics sells. I get it from them for about 40% less than what a framing shop charges me. I'm comfortable doing up to 24x36 for myself, but beyond that I lack a large enough clean surface that doesn't involve moving a bunch of furniture.

I did a quick google; Acrylite is the stuff that my local Tap Plastics sells.
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
Acrylite is an entire line of acrylics, and the brand Tap generally carries. Acrylite FF or its present equivalent is fine. They don't carry things like TrueVue Museum grade acrylic, but do carry tinted UV-control Acrylite if you want that. I once bought all my sheet goods in bulk wholesale for about 30% of what Tap charges, but do recommend them for their general selection of plastic and supplies. I also have quite a bit of acrylic fabrication equipment (made all my own archival slot washers, etc, too). There are numerous reasons for a photo printmaker to acquire acrylic skills. Tap sometimes offers free classes.

But for those who mainly frame in just certain repetitive sizes, it might be handy to just pay the extra and order up a quantity of pre-cut glazing and frame sections from an appropriate supplier.
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
8,080
Location
New Jersey formerly NYC
Format
Multi Format

fdi

Advertiser
Advertiser
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
406
Location
Dallas, TX
Format
35mm
Why would someone pick your TruVue UltraVUe UL70 over the more expensive Tru Vue museum glass?

If you are not worried about max archival protection 99% UV filter, then you can save money but still have as much visibility as possible without skipping the the glass. However 70% UV filter is significant so it is still has good protection. Also, something people don't realize is even with 99% UV filter if you put the artwork in direct sunlight it might still fade quicker than a piece behind 70% UV filter that is not in direct sunlight. If you are doing your own printing then archival is not an issue. In my case I would typically be replacing a print with a new image before it faded anyway.
 

David Brown

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2004
Messages
4,012
Location
Earth
Format
Multi Format
I have moved over to using non glare acrylic from glass. Full disclosure: I am a customer of Frame Destination and an acquaintance of the owner. I did it for weight and the non-glare aspect. It costs more than plain glass, but less than special "museum" glass. I can recommend FD. They may have changed their product line in this area, but I trust that they did it for good reasons. I have no complaints about their products or service. Let's face it: proper framing is not cheap - never has been. (I cringed a few years ago when I sold a large print to someone; who immediately put it in a cheap Michaels (or such) frame with no mat and the print against the glass.)
 

fdi

Advertiser
Advertiser
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
406
Location
Dallas, TX
Format
35mm
Thanks for the mention David. Initially we carried Acrylite and ArtGlass because TruVue did not have much acrylic and their anti-reflective glass was too prone to scratching. Unlike a custom frame shop, our customers have to handle the glass for final frame assembly. Since then TruVue upgraded their glass product line and added an acrylic line. Although Artglass does carry a product very similar to the TruVue museum glass no one has a product like TruVue Optium Museum acrylic.
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
I've done a lot of actual testing of tinted museum glass and acrylic in relation to color photos. If you've got a seriously bad UV display scenario like direct sunlight or high-UV artificial lighting (quite common now that classic tungsten bulbs are no longer used), that kind of tinted glass or acrylic won't help much - maybe a 5% to 15% increase in print life at most. There is simply no substitute for keeping prints away from UV. And if someone wanted TrueVue Optimum on one of my own prints of any significant size, it would be a thousand dollars upcharge to the framing itself. That is a seriously expensive product.

The tint on UV-control plastics also affects print colors, especially blues, much like a pink skylight filter or 81A amber filter.
 
Last edited:

eli griggs

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
3,212
Location
NC
Format
Multi Format
Hello photogs, I'm working on a series this summer in black and white and slowly accruing old frames. I am curious as to what the general consensus is regarding putting them behind the glass or Plexi or not at all. Glass I think kind of finishes It Off. 1/8 in?
Does the Plexi seem to work out as well? Are you papering the back in the classic way?

All works on paper should be protected by glass slightly separated from the art/photograph.

Plex is tough but is always collecting dust through static.

Do not, that is DO NOT EVER, leave you work without a protective glass, or crystal print envelope, unless there's a tactile factor you want in person viewers to touch, such as a paper cut collage or textures you have added to the piece.
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
Plastic shops sell antistatic acrylic cleaning solutions which do a pretty good job in that respect.
 

eli griggs

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
3,212
Location
NC
Format
Multi Format
Plastic shops sell antistatic acrylic cleaning solutions which do a pretty good job in that respect.

They are generally not 😊 of enough, from what little I've seen in galleries.

Otherwise thanks!
 

DREW WILEY

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2011
Messages
12,238
Format
8x10 Format
Lots of galleries do lots of substandard things when it comes to presentation. One of the most annoying to me is when all the margins around a mounted photograph get trimmed the same width, and the widow mat sides all the same, just due to laziness. Most big frame shops today have computerized mat cutters; and it would be a matter of mere seconds to punch in the commands for a little more width allowance at the bottom margin.

I'm in our living room right now with big acrylic-fronted prints all around me, but also two rambunctious cats playing all around. Yet there's no cat hair clinging to any of the acrylic glazing. Antistatic solutions work.
 
Last edited:

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
48,340
Location
Southern California
Format
Multi Format
Lots of galleries do lots of substandard things when it comes to presentation. One of the most annoying to me is when all the margins around a mounted photograph get trimmed the same width, and the widow mat sides all the same, just due to laziness. Most big frame shops today have computerized mat cutters; and it would be a matter of mere seconds to punch in the commands for a little more width allowance at the bottom margin.

I'm in our living room right now with big acrylic-fronted prints all around me, but also two rambunctious cats playing all around. Yet there's no cat hair clinging to any of the acrylic glazing. Antistatic solutions work.

I will not use a frame store that does not allow me the ability to specify margins and boarders. So you point is well taken. Because of earthquakes I now use acrylic plastic, but I use the best museum quality including 100% UV protection and anti-reflection. Especially large prints, color or black and white, deserve the best.
 

eli griggs

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
3,212
Location
NC
Format
Multi Format
One thing that I believe a lot of folks do not know of, is that 'white' eight ply museum quality matboards are available.

It's an expensive material, however, if you look around , you'll find both art and matboard dealers, will give a good (from the photographers and artists perspective prices when bought at wholesalers so, if you have a valid tax number for your company, or know of someone willing to help you buy with theirs, do it and treat it as the very special material it is and enjoy working with it.

If you are showing at a gallery or for a contest where framing is mandatory, frame using whatever format you want to use, and use these heavy (thick) boards, which in most cases tells the judge(s) you are seriously pursuing your art - photography, which may give your work an invisible leg up over, The Competition.
 
Last edited:
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab Blue Moon Camera & Machine
Top Bottom