The Art of Framing
Certain types of mouldings and certain framing methods can leave your artwork open to severe environmental damage, or even directly damage or reduce the value of your works. Avoid these framing methods when conserving fine art:
Metal art frames are almost never conservation quality, and should be avoided for any work of art with value. The joints and backing on metal frames cannot be sealed in the way wooden frames are, leaving your artwork exposed to damaging environmental factors, from moisture, air, bugs, dirt and more. Valuable artwork must be sealed to protect it from exposure to such environmental elements.
Mass-produced factory made art frames, a.k.a Ready-Made Frames rarely ever use true conservation level materials, and thus are very likely to damage your artwork over time. Matting, backing boards, and mounts are most often made from non-rag papers that will burn your artwork and photographs and damage the fibers of the papers from the acids they contain. Additionally, many factory made frames do not use UV protective glazing, leaving your art open to permanent fading from light exposure.
Frames that are too small for the size of your artwork will not hold the weight of the art, mats, mounts and glass over time and will eventually fail leading to possible direct damage or exposure to environmental factors. The frame you use on your fine art must be heavy and sturdy enough to bear the weight of the entire design over the life of the framing. Structural integrity of the design is a key factor in protecting your artwork.
Art frames that do not use mats or spacers to separate your artwork from the glazing open your fine art to severe damage caused by condensation that can form on the inside of the glass in the framing design. Mats, either fabric or acid-free rag paper are designed to separate and put space between your artwork and the glazing. This space is a key protection for your artwork against humidity and condensation damage. If for design and aesthetic reasons, you do not wish to use a mat in your framing, special spacers can be used in the rebate of the frame to lift the glazing away from the artwork.