Acrylic for Picture Framing: Better than Glass?




Non-Glare Acrylic SheetSo you have a prized piece of artwork that you want to frame – a photo or your son and his bride, your kindergartner’s art project, or a watercolor painting by a renowned local artist – and you can’t decide whether to use real glass or acrylic for picture framing.  Although glass has been the historic favorite, the advantages provided by today’s acrylic framing sheets have made acrylic the preferred framing material amongst artists, galleries and consumers for both practical and aesthetics reasons.

7 Benefits of Acrylic Sheet for Picture Framing

1.  Light Weight

Compared to glass, acrylic sheets for framing (often referred to as plexiglass) are much lighter in weight, making acrylic the overwhelming choice for framing large pieces of artwork.  Galleries or anyone who moves artwork around frequently prefers acrylic for its portability.  And for artwork that is going to be packed and shipped, lighter is always better to reduce mailing costs.

2.  Safety

Acrylic for framing is shatterproof and virtually impossible to break, making it by far the safer choice.  Drop a piece of glass and it will break into many sharp shards that can injure bystanders as well as damage the artwork.  For artwork that is going to be shipped, the risk of breakage during transport is eliminated with acrylic.

3.  UV Protection

Today’s acrylic sheets offer superior protection from the damaging effects of the ultraviolet rays of natural and artificial light.  Some acrylic framing sheets, like those by Acrylite, filter out 98 percent of UV rays to preserve the brilliant colors in your paintings, prints and photos.

4.  Reduces Glare

The highly reflective quality of glass acts like a mirror and can make it difficult to view artwork, especially in certain lighting or from a particular angle.  Designed to minimize glare and reduce reflections, non-glare acrylic sheets have a matte finish that lets the beauty of the art be seen and appreciated from just about any angle and in nearly all lighting conditions.

5.  Enhances Clarity

Although glass appears clear, it can actually have a green tint to it because of the iron content, which can reduce the light level and alter the look of the artwork.  Acrylic sheets are more optically pure and thus provide a clearer view.

6.  Cleaner

Because acrylic sheets are sold with a protective plastic or paper masking, acrylic is cleaner and easier for framers to work with.  In comparison, glass is typically dirty when purchased and requires careful cleaning to remove the dust and smudges.  If not done properly, the cleaning process can result in a build up of static charges which in turn cause more dust and lint to cling to the glass.  Wiping acrylic with an anti-static brush right after removing the masking will effectively eliminate any static charges.  Cleaning acrylic is easy using a soft cloth or micro-fiber cloth (not paper towel, which can scratch) and a special plastic cleaning spray.

Some purists still prefer museum quality glass for framing archival artwork, but for the rest of the art world and the majority of consumers, the benefits of light weight, anti-reflective acrylic for picture framing makes it better than glass for  protecting and displaying their artwork.

7.  Ease of Fabrication

Since acrylic sheet cuts easily with ordinary woodworking tools, it is a preferable material for the do-it-yourself framer. It is also very easy to make custom vitrines (box frames) out of acrylic sheet.

Tell Us…

What is your preferred framing material, and why?

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