THE REAL STORY BEHIND CONSERVATION PICTURE FRAMING
the past several years, antique paper collecting, has become
one of the hottest investment opportunities in the market. However,
for most of us who collect for the love of the posters, finding
out that our poster collections have increased in value, is
an added bonus. Displaying our collections can be costly and
if not done properly can deteriorate the posters. A lot of information
has been disseminated to collectors on how best to frame their
posters, some beneficial and accurate, but some erroneous.
all fairness to retail frame shops, many are not experienced
in collectible posters. Others, however, tell customers they
need frame components that are truly unnecessary to increase
the price of the overall frame job. Often, they play on the
customerís lack of knowledge and desire to preserve their posters
by suggesting that by adding this component or that component
they will preserve and even increase the value of their collectable.
There is generally some truth to the suggestions but remember,
these are still just posters, not original works of art and
they do not need to be framed in gold to preserve the archival
integrity for many lifetimes.
receive phone calls, emails and letters daily from customers all
over the country telling me that they were told they had to
do this or that in the framing to preserve their poster often
telling them if they did not follow the suggestions, the framing
establishment could not be responsible if the poster deteriorated.
Well, this is enough to make any serious collector submit to consumer
blackmail since for most of us our poster collections are one
of the most important things we own and treasure. So in an attempt
to clear up some misconceptions and hopefully educate the collector,
here are some tips on framing.
of all, the actual frame you choose has little, if any, impact
on the preservation of the poster. The frame is, for the most
part, purely aesthetic. Now this is assuming that you are choosing
custom frame quality materials specifically designed for picture
framing. If someone tears the side of a barn off and makes a frame
for you, it may look great, but it might also have some friendly
little termites living in it.
most important components of the frame job is whatís in front
of the poster and what is behind the poster.
begin with whatís in front. First off, glass is a no-no!
Not only does it break, but it is very inexpensively made and
has no archival attributes, thus creating an environment for
fading and decay. Glass has one other very negative aspect and
that is moisture entrapment. Framers often recommend spacers,
but then do not dissuade customers from using glass. Also, even
if you use spacers, posters are large enough that they often
touch the glass anyway nearer the center, therefore defeating
the purpose. In addition, military posters, whether linen-backed
or not, will move into the space in front of them and begin
buckling. Paper has a memory and the only way to remove the
buckling, once it's there, is to either linen-back or re-linen-back
often recommend conservation glass, which does have archival
qualities except for one thing, it still breaks. Conservation
glass is also extremely expensive since it is very much a specialty
product. Glass, of any kind, is also extremely heavy for a piece
the size of a military poster. When glass breaks it can shatter
or just have a clean break in half. Either way, the likelihood
is moderate to severe damage to your poster. Often times with
such a large piece of glass, when it breaks, the top half of
the glass slides behind the bottom half and scrapes the face
of the poster which is extremely difficult to repair. Thus,
plexiglass is the recommended covering for your military poster.
have had customers who say they donít like the look of plexiglass,
that it scratches, turns yellow or gets an opaque film over
it with time. This is not high grade plexiglass. Just as some
people call all tissues, Kleenex, many people call all plastics,
plexiglass and it is not. There is Lucite, styrene, low grade
acrylics and many other forms of plastic sheeting, most of which
have no archival qualities and least of all have no UV filtering
which is the most important component of plexiglass for poster
preservation purposes. Plexiglass also does not absorb dirt
and grime from the air since typically it has been polished
with an anti-static cream before it is installed in the frame
and it actually repels dirt and dust and very rarely even needs
cleaning or repolishing.
an added note, if you currently have something framed in your
home in plexiglass or any form of plastic, never use any ammonia
based cleaner on it as the chemical reaction with the plastic
is what causes clouding. One of the other complaints I hear about
plexiglass is that it warps and gives the poster a distorted look.
Again, this is typical of the lower grades of plastics that are
very thin and donít lay flat in the frame. A good piece of plexiglass
should be the same thickness as glass, about one eighth of an
other note regarding the differences between glass and plexiglass
that definitely is not crucial to the preservation of the poster,
is that glass has a green tint to it and a good grade of plexiglass
is crystal clear. Lower grades of plastics have been made with
inferior materials and are not acid-free. Remember, the most important
element of framing anything you want to preserve is that it be
framed in an acid-free environment. Plexiglass with extremely
high levels of UV protection often has a yellow tint to it and
this type of plexiglass would be used on extremely valuable items
and perhaps items that are hung near high exposure areas. Plexiglass
is available in clear and non-glare.
many years I had customers who preferrd a non-glare covering over
their artwork. Non-glare glass was available, but there are inherent
problems with this product. By nature of itís design, non-glare
glass is glass that has been acid etched on one side to achieve
the non-glare effect. When placed over the artwork, it has a tendency
to dissipate color and take the art slightly out of focus, especially
if you are using a mat over your artwork, and of course, most
importantly, it still breaks.
few years back, non-glare plexiglass became available that was
as near true-view perfect as you can get, while still maintaining
the high quality of UV. I immediately switched all of my posters
that hung in highly lit areas into this non-glare plexiglass product
and have been thrilled with the look ever since. Whichever type
of plexiglass you choose, as long as you select high quality material
with UV filtering, you will be helping to preserve the integrity
of your own collectables.
last component and probably the most important is the backing.
Whether you poster is linenbacked or not, it is still important
never to put a non acid-free product behind your poster. Paper
is very absorbent and will absorb the acid out of cardboard or
the like very quickly and you will be left with a yellowing and
brittle poster. Many people, including picture framers, believe
that foamcore is the best product to use as backing for valuable
items. However, regular foamcore, which is what most people use,
is not acid-free. They assume because it is white in color it
must be acid-free. IT IS NOT.
have had customers bring me very valuable military posters that
had been framed elsewhere, believing they had paid for a museum
quality frame job, and when we removed the foamcore behind the
poster it began to disintegrate in our hands. In addition, the
side of the foamcore that faced the poster was yellowing. Remember,
most poster paper is not acid-free either, so in order to stop
it from yellowing and disintegrating away, it must be housed in
an acid-free environment.
are several companies that make an acid-free foamcore or artboard.
One of the best is the Artcare Archival System by Bainbridge.
Artcare is the only foamboard that actively protects artwork from
the ravages of pollution, paper degradation and the by products
of the artworkís own aging. It traps and actually neutralizes
harmful pollutants that cause fading, discoloration and damage.
For my customers who frame a $100 poster to a $10,000 poster,
this product preserves their condition from the day they are put
in the frame. The amazing thing is, this acid-free foamboard only
costs a few dollars more than the plain non acid-free foamcore,
but many framers cut corners and assume the customer will never
bottom line is that it doesnít have to cost an arm and a leg to
frame your movie posters in an archival way for display. You also
donít have to fall prey to custom frame shops where the only thing
thatís free is expensive advice.
are a wholesale picture framer, located in the heart of Hollywood.
Each month we do hundreds of frames for the studios: film, television
and recording. We do picture framing for the sets of some of your
favorite film and t.v. shows, including their actors and crew
members. In addition, the Motion Picture Academy, the television
academy, the Motion Picture Producers Guild and many more studio
affiliates have our company supply the quality custom frames needed
for the valuable movie memorabilia they display. More importantly,
our company is owned and operated by two poster collectors who
understand the framing dilemma faced by most collectors.
over 16 years, we have framed thousands of posters for most of
the top collectors in the country. It has been by word of mouth
that has made us the number one choice of the studios and collectors
alike. Please visit our website or feel free to call us at anytime
with any questions regarding movie posters and framing. In addition,
we now offer linen backing service for our customers. You can
send us your poster for linen backing and weíll return it totally
custom framed to you all in one easy step with no additional charges.
Our purpose at Hollywoodposterframes.com is to make your framing
experience top-notch and carefree at wholesale prices so that
we might continue to serve your poster and framing needs.
Thank you, Sue Heim Hollywoodposterframes.com