Cardboard and Masking Tape--Artwork Villains


For more than three years I’ve been disassembling the framing package of dozens of Marion Fleming's (my mother) paintings. This accomplishes two things: One, a much better photograph of the art may be taken without the obstruction of the frame and glass glare.  Two, I can remove the framing materials used in the past: cardboard and masking tape. These materials are harmful to artwork because they contain acid that causes the paper to yellow and become brittle. If you have artwork or photographs that are special to you and are assembled in a frame with cardboard and masking tape, consider reframing them to prevent further damage.  Additionally, if the beveled edge of the mat in your painting package has turned a dull brown, it is not an acid-free mat and you may want to consider replacing it as well.

Another important reframing decision is the type of glass to select.  As I reframe each of Marion’s paintings, I am replacing the standard glass with UV conservation glass. Conservation glass has a coating that scatters and diffuses 99% of UV light to protect the art. I had one painting reframed with non-glare glass a few years ago because it supposedly had been greatly improved, but I found I am still not a fan. Images tend to look a bit fuzzy to me under non-glare glass because the glass is etched to disburse reflections.  

Most costly is museum glass. It has multiple coatings for low light reflection, color clarity, and 99% UV blocking. I ordered museum glass for three of Marion’s most lovely paintings, and they look fabulous. However, I subsequently decided my main objective was to block UV light and the additional feature of museum glass is not within my budget as I reframe several dozen paintings.

Further, if the wire on the back of your piece is old, uncoated, or coming apart on the ends, you will be pleased to know that plastic coated wire is now available.  I find it safer, cleaner, and aesthetically more attractive than the old uncoated wire.  

Finally, remember the old screw eyes that marred your wall and caused the painting to lean forward?  Well, no more.  Flat picture framing hardware called strap hangers are now available that eliminate both the wall marks and the forward lean.

These are a few of the things I learned while preparing to sell prints of Marion’s art. There are many sources of information on the internet about framing best practices and different types of glass to meet your own needs. Seeking the advice of an experienced professional framer is well worth the time and money, in my opinion, even if you can do some of the steps yourself. Despite the additional cost of updating the framing package, in the long run, I think you will be pleased to have preserved your prized images.

Lastly, I would like to compliment the framing company I have been working with for the past two years: Frame Masters in Fairfax, Virginia. (I am a customer only.) The framing packages are very well done, but what makes the experience so great is the exceptional assistance one receives in making mat and frame selections. I took some of the reframing work to two other framer shops before I went to Frame Masters, but the advice I receive from Frame Masters is by far the best. (Richard, as I've said before, I couldn't do it without you!) If you live in the greater Washington, DC area, I highly recommend this business. 

Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,
Julie <3