Framed Art

Written by Sarah Provost
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A piece of fine art deserves a fine frame. Framed art is protected from dirt and dust, and from being harmed in moving or handling. Framing also enhances the aesthetics of the work. A professional framer can give you good advice about what will work best with your painting, but be sure you are thoroughly happy with the suggestions. After all, you're the one who will be living with it.

Some Guidelines for Framed Art

The first question to ask yourself is whether you want your framed art glazed with glass or an acrylic such as Plexiglass. Glass is cheaper and easier to clean, but it's heavy and breakable. Its reflective surface can also create problems with glare. Acrylics, on the other hand, are shatterproof and can be treated to protect the artwork from ultraviolet rays. It is also much lighter, which becomes more important with larger works. However, acrylic attracts dust, which makes it hard to clean. It must also never be used to frame works in charcoal, pastels, or other "dusty" media.

The matting protects your framed art from lying flat against the glazing, which would be harmful, and also adds greatly to the beauty and presence of the piece. Standard margins are three to four inches on the bottom and three inches on the top and sides, but you can certainly vary that to suit your taste. Be sure to pick matting that complements the painting, not your furniture or walls. Again, a framing professional can be of great help in choosing matting.

Works on paper can be matted up to the margins or "floated." That means that the edges are exposed, which is often desirable if the edges are anything but straight-cut. Be sure that all matting materials are acid-free and of archival quality.

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