Glass Options for Framing Works on Paper

Glass Options

First and foremost, glass protects works on paper from dust and other pollutants, but it can also serve other important functions:

Regular glass is the type most commonly used. It’s scratch-resistant but breaks easily in transportation and only filters out about half of the damaging ultraviolet (UV) light rays.

Nonglare glass works well on pieces placed directly in front of a window. The drawback is that this glass tends to soften the image and give a slightly fuzzy appearance to the work. It also gives low UV protection.

Conservation glazing is a coating applied to glass that offers 97 percent UV protection.

Museum Glass is the ultimate—so clear and glare-free that you can’t see it at all when you stand in front of a painting. It also provides the best UV protection. This glass is expensive, but worth the price.
Acrylic glazing, also known by the trade name Plexiglas, is much lighter than glass, which makes it a good alternative for large works of art. It’s virtually shatter proof, although it scratches easily. Available in regular and nonglare forms, acrylic provides about 60 percent UV protection. Regular glass cleaners may leave the surface looking foggy.

Rosemary Barrett Seidner is a director of Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a freelance writer. Read Seidner’s other advice on framing in her article “The Fine Art of Framing” in the June issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Topics include:

• To frame or not to frame
• No-frame options
• How to conserve wall space
• Framing works on paper
• Matting aesthetics

Check out the June 2010 table of contents here.


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