Every day I receive phone calls and emails from many of you
all over the country. Many are from newer collectors that have
come into the hobby at a time when so much conflicting information
is out there, they don't know what to believe. Many seasoned
collectors are just now dealing with the archival framing issue,
as they have watched the price of their posters go up dramatically
in the last few years. Wanting to protect and preserve their
movie poster investment, all collectors are re-evaluating posters
they have already had framed or are about to frame. As a wholesale
picture framer and a movie poster collector myself, I deal with
these issues daily. Here are some of the questions most frequently
asked of me regarding framing of movie posters along with answers
and suggestions to assist you.
PLEASE REMEMBER, MY ANSWERS ARE BASED ON MY OWN EXPERIENCES
IN FRAMING ORIGINAL MOVIE POSTERS FOR 25 YEARS. OTHER FRAMERS
MAY TELL YOU DIFFERENT. MY BEST ADVICE IS TO USE YOUR OWN COMMON
Why does it cost so much to frame a movie
is the most commonly asked question of me. My answer is that
it doesn't have to. You can frame a movie poster in quality
materials without paying an arm and a leg. Having said that,
I explain that some retail frame shops work on a large markup.
Obviously, many retail stores have a large overhead and all
that has to be built into the cost of your frame. In addition,
many retail frame shops are not use to framing collectible movie
posters. To them, it is nothing more than an oversize poster
and often gets framed accordingly. This is where we run into
problems. I have people who call me everyday to say, they paid
$250 and up to frame a one sheet and it's not even in archival
materials. Often the framer had glued their poster to cardboard,
trimmed the poster down to fit some standard size materials
on hand, or the customer was told they had to use spacers and
that would be about $50-$75 more. I have had customers tell
me of frame shops they went to where they were told if they
did not frame their poster in the manner suggested, the establishment
could not be responsible for future damage to the poster. Well
that's enough to scare any collector. In my opinion, that is
a bit of consumer blackmail at work. Framing anything is a basic
exercise. As long as you use high quality, acid free materials,
you don't have to frame your movie poster in solid gold to protect
it. Obviously, there is a way that we at www.hollywoodposterframes.com
can sell a totally archival, custom cut frame for a one sheet,
whether linenbacked or not, for $79.
Remember, though, I am selling it to you for wholesale cost.
I have retail shops who buy these frames from me and mark them
up 3-4 times before they sell them in their stores. Because
I do the framing for the studio's here in Los Angeles and ship
custom frames for movie posters to customers all over the country,
I buy very large quantities of materials. The UV filtered plexiglass
is the most expensive component in the frame job. Many retail
frame stores don't even carry UV filtered plexiglass and have
to special order it when needed. Special orders and small quantity
means high price. If you pick up a phone in your own area and
call a retail frame store or a plexiglass dealer and ask how
much it would cost for a 27"x41" piece of 1/8"
UV filtered plexiglass, the prices will start at about $150
per piece. It's the same with archival backing materials. Once
the frame store, who orders very small quantities of these archival
materials, adds their markup to those materials, the price of
your frame job just went through the roof. We at www.hollywoodposterframes.com
make the archival framing available to you at wholesale, because
as collectors ourselves, that leaves more money available to
buy another movie poster!!
What is necessary in a frame to protect my movie poster?
most important components in framing your movie posters to protect
them and preserve their longevity are what's in front of the
poster and what's behind the poster. The frame itself is mostly
for aesthetics and has little, if any, bearing on the preservation
of your poster. In my opinion, glass, whether regular or conservation,
is not recommended for value appreciating items. Glass can break and for that reason alone, it should
not be used. Moreso, regular glass
has no conservation aspects at all. Regular glass accelerates
fading having no UV or light filtering agents. While conservation
glass does implement those filters, it is extremely costly and
it can still break. Remember, the most common size movie poster
collected is still the one sheet and at 27x41 or 27x40, it is
large and the risk of glass breakage is high. Also, the weight
factor in glass adds to the risk. I see it all the time as customers
bring in movie posters framed in glass that have fallen. Usually
glass breaks from one corner to the opposite corner and often,
due to the weight, the top half of the broken glass slides behind
the bottom half and scrapes the face of the poster. Therefore,
a high grade acrylic, preferably a UV filtered plexiglass is
recommended. A good grade of this type of plexiglass should
be about 1/8" thick. Another problem with glass is moisture
entrapment. I get movie posters in all the time that have gotten
moisture inside the frame and they are now stuck to the glass.
Unfortunately, they have to be scraped off the glass and restored.
I have dealt with UV filtered plexiglass for over twenty years
and have never had a piece stick to it. Archival, 100% acid
free backing board should be placed behind your movie poster,
whether linenbacked or not. If you use ¼" archival
foamcore, not regular white foamcore which is not 100% acid
free, you not only have an acid free environment, but the rigidity
to keep your poster as flat as possible. The Archival Frame
and Deluxe Frame available for wholesale on my website, www.hollywoodposterframes.com
includes all the components you would need to frame and display
your collectible movie posters.
Should I use spacers?
you are using high quality acrylic or UV filtered plexiglass,
there is no need to use spacers. In fact with most items as
large as movie posters, they are ineffective. Spacers are typically
small acrylic rods that sit out on the perimeter of your glass
or plexiglass, in theory, to hold the glass or plexiglass above
the media. However, if you look closely, the only place the
spacers are holding the glass or plexiglass above the poster
is out on the perimeter. In actuality, the glass or plexiglass
is touching the poster in most of the middle of it. Since we
don't typically mount movie posters to boards anymore, when
we install them in a frame, it is usually just the poster or
the linenbacked poster. One of the downsides of spacers in this
situation, is that if there is any space in front of the poster,
the paper, whether linenbacked or not, will move forward into
that space, usually causing major rippling and buckling. Paper
has a memory and often that buckling is permanent, so that if
you remove the buckled poster from the frame, you have to have
it linenbacked or re-linenbacked to get it to be flat again.
Can I use corrugated cardboard behind my movie
You shouldn't put regular corrugated cardboard behind anything in a
frame that you care about. Standard cardboard, whether corrugated or
not, is basically junk paper. It is loaded with acid and is
the fastest way to paper decay. Not only does it turn your poster
yellow, it depletes the moisture in your paper that gave it
any suppleness it might have and cause the paper to become brittle
and break and tear easily. I have taken framed posters apart
to reframe that had cardboard behind them. Not only had they
turned yellow, but the corrugation lines of the cardboard were
now on the back of the poster. Older vintage posters were printed
on flat paper stock which is much more absorbent than the glossy
stock used for current movie posters. They will absorb the acid
from the cardboard faster than anything and since it is typically
the vintage posters that are more valuable, standard cardboard would
not be a viable product. Acid free cardboard is available, but my recommendation is acid free foamcore, preferably Artcare conservation foam board.
Why can't I buy a ready made frame for my
movie poster at my local Walmart?
posters are not standard sizes in the readymade framing world.
Readymade frames are typically based on photographic sizes.
However, with movie poster collecting becoming so popular over
the last few years, there are a few larger chain stores and
even a couple of internet sites that offer one sheet sized frames,
mostly for current 27x40 movie posters. However, these are mass
produced and usually made of inferior products for display only,
not for protecting your posters from harmful acid decay. At
www.hollywoodposterframes.com we sell an Economy Frame in a
one sheet size for $49 wholesale, which includes the UV filtered
plexiglass and ¼" white foamcore and a custom quality aluminum frame available in several colors. Since we custom cut every frame, we have
each customer hand measure the poster they will be installing
in the frame before we cut it. That way if you have an odd poster,
for example a reproduction movie poster, that is under 27x41,
we cut it to it's actual size so your poster fits perfectly.
No having to center the poster in the frame or uneven borders
Do all my frames need to match?
is a question only you can answer. For most of my studio accounts
and many of my collectors across the country, satin black is
the most popularly ordered color. Many of my customers feel
the need for consistency, since the posters themselves are already
somewhat busy. However, I do have many collectors who frame
according to the poster itself. For instance, many of my customers
who collect western posters use the satin bronze color for their
frame of choice.
Is a wood frame better than a metal frame?
frame is strictly for looks. A metal frame is less expensive
than a wood frame, assuming you are using custom materials.
Also, when framing a large movie poster, you can use a small
metal frame, but if you choose wood, it must be wide enough
to hold the weight and flexibility of the frame. A metal frame
is assembled with an L-shaped metal corner, whereas, a wood
frame is put together with glue and nails. So you can't frame
a one sheet in a ¼" wood frame, but you can in a
¼" metal frame, and they still look great. In the
end, it all boils down to the look and how much it costs to
get it. Custom quality metal frames are much less expensive
when you get up to that size of frame.
Do I frame a paperbacked or linenbacked poster
not at all. Again, if your poster is sandwiched in between the
plexiglass and the acid free archival backing, you are safe.
Depending on the frame you choose, the poster is secured in
the frame to reduce sagging from gravity. It is important, though,
that the framer overcut the frame at least 1/8" bigger
than the actual poster, whether linenbacked, paperbacked, or
not. This is for a couple of reasons. I like to call it breathing
room. Just as your front door swells up when it rains outside,
so, too, does your movie poster paper/linen, which the humidity
changes. The poster needs room to "breathe" or it
can begin rippling or buckling in the frame. Some rippling is
common just due to the fact that the poster is not mounted to
a stiff board and has some pliability in the frame. However,
if your frame is not overcut to accommodate poster changes,
when the poster "breathes" it will have no space to
move into and thus will buckle toward the middle of the poster.
This can be a problem later as paper has a memory and sometimes
the only way to get severe buckling out of a poster is to have
is linenbacked. A linenbacked poster is not immune from this
problem also, even though it has more substance than a non linenbacked
poster. If it buckles or ripples too severely, often you have
to have it re-linenbacked to get the poster to lay flat again.
How do I get rid of wrinkles from fold lines,
you are the type of collector that likes to have their posters
lay perfectly flat in the frame and look like it just rolled
off the press, you have no choice but to linenback and restore.
However, linenbacking and restoration is a costly process and
once again, our motto is to keep as much money available to
buy more posters. There is a little gimmick I use to install
folded movie posters in the frame. First off, I do a light reverse
fold on the fold lines. You have, on a standard folded one sheet,
3 horizontal folds and 1 vertical fold. Just unfold the poster
all the way and basically, lightly fold it backwards. Then roll
it up for a day or two to about a 2-3 inch diameter roll. When
you unroll it, the folds will have fallen out as much as they
are ever going to but it makes for a nice display in the frame.
This is a procedure that should be done before measuring for
the size of the frame, also. Remember, tension in the paper
has been released at the fold lines. When you flatten it out,
it may now be larger than it's original non-folded size. This
is very common when linenbacking movie posters. I have had 27"x41"
movie posters sent to me to frame that upon linenbacking stretched
out to as much as 28"x42" not counting the excess
linen that is left around the border.
When should I linenback or paperback a poster?
is another one of those questions that only you can make the
decision on. There are reasons that we linenback or paperback
a poster. Linenbacking is usually done because some sort of
restoration is going to also be done to the poster. Generally,
when a poster is linenbacked, the restorer also does a cleaning
and deacidification process. The linenbacking or paperbacking
process itself, lends a solid surface for restoration to be
done. Fold lines, holes and even major paper loss can be restored.
Often, just the cleaning process alone makes original colors
in the poster come to life again. However, some collectors like
the "weathered" look for their posters. They don't
mind a bit of aging or a little fold separation here and there.
Once your poster is in archival framing, any further decay is
virtually stopped. Some customers have their current rolled
movie posters linenbacked because they want them to look at
perfect as possible in the frame. Some collectors feel that
linenbacking devalues the poster. All is up for debate. Remember,
linenbacking is an expensive venture. So, determine your own
reasons for linenbacking. Also, with the rise in movie poster
prices over the last 5-7 years and many more collectors coming
into the hobby, there has been an incredible rise in the number
of linenbackers available out there. As a collector myself,
I can't emphasize enough how important your choice of linenbacker/restorer
is. Even though I am somewhat partial to the framing end of
my collection, being a conservation picture framer, I know as
a collector, there is no one more important to the life of your
movie posters than who you choose to linenback/restore them.
Find out years of experience, get referrals, ask questions,
shop around. Don't always go with the cheapest in this case.
Talk to movie poster dealers of longstanding. Ask who they use.
In many cases, these posters are worth thousands of dollars.
I offer a service through my own company www.hollywoodposterframes.com
for linenbacking/restoration on my own wholesale account. Remember,
inform yourself the best you can by asking lots of questions
and when in doubt, use your own common sense.
I trim off the excess linen from my poster before I frame it?
the old days, linenbackers would often return your restored
poster to you trimmed right to the edge of the original poster.
In more recent years, many linenbackers leave a small amount
of excess linen around the poster. This is done for several
reasons. One is that when it is shipped back to you, if it moves
around in the tube, the excess linen can take a bit of a bend
instead of the poster. Also, since the canvas fabric can fray
a bit on the edge, by leaving a little extra, you don't have
the frayed fabric going into the poster. When handling the linenbacked
poster you have a little excess linen to grab instead of the
actual poster paper. I'm sure there are a few other reasons
we could think of, but I think these are among the most important.
When you go to frame the poster, if you are using a mat border,
there is no reason to trim the excess off, because it will be
sitting behind the mat and you won't see it. Which brings us
to the reason for this question. Many collectors do not like
to see the excess linen in the frame. Typically, it is not the
same color as the actual movie poster paper and to some, it
looks odd. Also, not all linenbackers leave an equal amount
of excess linen but then tell customers never to trim the linen
at all. Well, why would anyone frame a poster with uneven amounts
of linen around the edges so that the poster would not be centered
in the frame. This is another one of those "use your common
sense" questions. For me personally and for a large contingency
of my customers who prefer not to see the excess linen, when
framing, I trim the linen down to about ¼" all the
way around. That way, I have not trimmed right up to the edge
of the poster and the frame lip on most frames will cover that
¼" of excess linen and I will never see it. It is
a personal choice. I have a few customers who believe that trimming
down the excess linen devalues the posters. My "common
sense" tells me since the linen was not part of the original
poster, how can it devalue the poster. Also, I know from having
been in this hobby for 30 years that if you have a valuable
movie poster to sell, no one is going to not buy it because
there is only 1/4" of excess linen around the edges. If
that were true, then all those posters that were linenbacked
years before leaving excess linen was done, would be of lesser
value. I don't believe that to be the case. I still buy posters
today that were trimmed right up to the edge of the paper. Again,
this is one of those topics debated frequently.
Should I mount my poster to a board before
is commonly felt that mounting a movie poster to a mounting
board or matboard or such, devalues the movie poster. Because
of this commonly accepted rule of thumb in the hobby, it is
best not to mount your posters to insure the highest value for
future sale or trade. However, it must be noted, that with high
quality materials that are available today, a poster could be
mounted and as long as acid free board and water based adhesives
were used, the mounting process is reversible. I say this to
collectors who have posters that will probably never be worth
much money. They don't want to go to the expense of linenbacking,
but they want their poster to lay perfectly flat in the frame.
Therefore it is important to consider than under certain circumstances,
with the correct materials mounting a poster can be reversed
at a later date if the value of the poster increased or there
was a future desire to linenback the poster. Reversing a mounted
poster is something that can be done by most linenbacker/restorers.
What if I want to swap out my posters in the
frames I build for my company www.hollywoodposterframes.com
are specifically made for just that purpose. Many of my studio
accounts have to switch out posters all the time as new movies
are coming out and there is only so much wall space. This is
a common situation with many movie poster collectors also. When
you consider the frame you will choose to display your posters,
this is something you might want to consider and that is the
ease of swapping out posters in the frame.
do I get rid of glare on my framing?
we have already talked about glass as not being recommended in movie poster
framing, we can now address the types of acrylics and plexiglass
that is available for your frame. Remember, you always want
to choose a high quality acrylic of approximately 1/8"
thickness. Plexiglass is available in clear and non-glare. For
many years, I was not a big proponent of non-glare glass. This
was because when you laid it on the poster, it gave a bit of
a grey cast, dissipated color and took the poster slightly out
of focus. This was the tradeoff, however, to get a non-glare
product. A few years back, the company I buy my plexiglass from
came out with a non-glare product that is actually true view,
which means you don't get glare from the lighting in front of
the frame and the poster looks just like it looks with no plexiglass
in front of it. However, non-glare plexiglass costs more than
regular clear plexiglass, whether UV filtered or not. I only suggest
non-glare plexiglass when you are hanging your posters in an
area with lots of direct lighting, say, from track lighting
or high intensity lights pointing directly at the framed poster. Many of us are hanging framed movie posters in TV or theater rooms in our homes. Large screen TVs or screens give off a lot of light which cause high glare and reflections to the face of the framed movie posters. That is why, in todays market, many collectors only use the true view non-glare plexiglass for their movie posters.
What do I clean my plexiglass with?
off, you never clean it with an ammonia based product which
is highly abrasive. Usually, plexiglass has been polished when
you get your frame job, so you can just save old t-shirt material
and every so often give it a dust. If something were to get
stuck on it, you could use a little water. Beyond that you can
buy yourself a bottle of plastic of plexiglass cleaner in your
local hardware store or art store. This cleaner works great
on your t.v. and computer monitors also since it is typically
an anti-static solution.
Can I frame my movie posters myself?
you certainly can. You can go to art stores, hardware stores,
etc. and buy all the materials to do the framing yourself. But
remember, the story of the retail framers who buy archival materials
in small quantities and thus pay top dollar for them. A good
part of my customer base are people that use to do just that,
frame their posters themselves. Most of them could not afford
the cost of the UV filtered plexiglass so they used glass, many
to disasterous consequences. They bought pre-made metal sides
that were only made as large as 40", so for their 41"
posters they either folded back or trimmed off the extra inch
to make it fit. I am constantly sending posters to the linenbacker
to restore the extra inch that so many of my customers trimmed
off when trying to fit their poster into a 40" frame leg.
Because of the volume of materials I buy and the fact that I
sell the framing for wholesale, you couldn't buy the materials
and do it yourself for even close to the cost of a completely
custom cut archival frame from my company. I encourage customers
not to take my word for it, but to call around in their own
hometowns and check for themselves. I have customers who buy
archival frames from me who have previously bought from local
retailers in their own areas. They tell the retail frame shop
about us and they are told that for that low cost, it has to
be a cheap plastic frame. When their frames arrive and they
take them in for the local retailer to check out, the retailer
is on the phone to me to inquire how I can make that frame in
those archival materials for so low of a price. I usually tell
him it is because I buy about 150+ 4'x8' sheets of UV filtered
plexiglass a month. That's the plain and simple of it, it is
all about quantity pricing. We can even send you unassembled frames for larger posters, such as 3 sheet, 40x60s, and international posters.
I hope I have answered many of the questions that you are faced
with when caring for and framing your movie poster collection.
I am always available for questions or comments so please don't
hesitate to call me directly.