Examining Options in Acrylic for Picture Framing
Acrylic is the generic term for what many picture framers refer to as PlexiGlass, which is the brand name of a particular brand of acrylic. Here at Framing4Yourself we offer Lucite acrylic, a popular industry standard.
These days acrylic is increasingly used in picture framing as a substitute for glass. Favored for its light weight and shatter resistance, acrylic is virtually indistinguishable from glass in a frame, yet is safer to work with and less prone to breakage.
We offer three types of acrylic:
Our most economical alternative, regular clear acrylic is .080 thick and filters out more than 50% of UV radiation. It should be used with art that is easily reproducible such as posters, digital photographs, or art prints in open ended editions. It comes with a protective blue mask that must be peeled off before use.
Non-glare acrylic is treated with a light surface etch that eliminates the glare that washes across the surface of glazing, interrupting the view of the artwork. Some framers distrust the clarity of non-glare acrylic because it is cloudy to look through when the pane is held up in space. However, when the pane is brought to within an inch of the art the visibility clarifies. At .080 in thickness, non-glare acrylic filters out more than 50% of UV radiation. It should be used with posters, digital photographs, or art prints in open ended editions. It comes with a protective mask that must be peeled off before use.
For treasured art that is likely to increase in value over time, UV protective acrylic provides an extra measure of protection by filtering out more than 95% of UV radiation. UV radiation can cause art to fade or yellow during prolonged exposure to sunlight. The speed with which this can occur is a function of the length of time the art is exposed. Thus, art hung in a windowless room will suffer adverse affects much more slowly than art hung in direct sunlight.
For art that is easily reproducible and therefore unlikely to increase in value, UV protective acrylic may be overkill, but for original art, limited editions or signed prints whose value is expected to increase in time, it is recommended. UV protective acrylic is .098 thick and comes with a protective mask that must be peeled off before use.