View Full Version : Spacers for framing pastels
Where can I find spacers for framing pastel work without mats. These sit between the glass and the art work to separate the two.
If you make your own, what do you use to make them?
If you buy them, where do you get them?
06-09-2003, 03:46 PM
I "make" my own....with my mat cutting mistakes. Just use small strips...and place between your mat and frame....or your mat and picture. Whichever you like..and frame.
A framer told me this...no need to spend money....if you make lots of mistakes cutting mats like me!!! (I am sooooo mechinically and electronically disabled!!)
06-09-2003, 04:00 PM
I learned about spacers and went out immediately and bought 1/4" plastic ones and then realized I could just as easily use foam core taped to the back of the mat. I use double stick tape to put the foam core on and leave about 1/2" from the bevel cut edge so it doesn't show. Barb
I would like to frame it without a matt, so the foamcore spacer would have to be taped/glued to the glass or art work. Is that a good idea?
06-09-2003, 07:05 PM
Actually I think you are better off with a plastic 1/4" spacer in that case. You'd have to foam core the glass and that would show up.
when in doubt - go to a frame shop, get the estimate and ask them how they would do it - and then when they give you the sky high price, tell them you have to think about it.
06-10-2003, 12:18 AM
Here is a site on line that sells framespace.. http://www.framingsupplies.com/ Look under framing supplies, then frametek. I have never ordered from this company, so I do not know how reliable they are. I usually buy my econospacers from ReddiArts down in Jacksonville, Fl. but that doesn't help you. :) If you would like to buy it locally, try asking art suppliers and frame shops in your area if they sell it. That's how I found it.
I am interested in this too........it should be possible without the most difficult supplies, I would think.......it is all about the space between the art and the glass......so one just needs to find a frame that is wide enough and overlaps the glass a bit. Put a thin strip of board/mat/whatever on your backing board (on which the painting is attached) and the glass on top..........mmmm.....you would need quite a wide overlap on your moulding......Isn't there somebody who can show us???
Did a search on the net and came up with this:
quote:"MOUNTING WITHOUT A WINDOW MAT
Mats are not always appropriate. Certain contemporary works look odd if matted, and mats are not historically correct for early prints displayed in original frames. When a mat is not used, the object should be hinged to a backing of archival board and framed so that it is not in contact with the glazing. Use of a spacer, which can be at least partially hidden under the frame rabbet, will assure a space between glazing and object. Like all materials inside frames, a spacer must be non-acidic and chemically stable. Strips of ragboard make effective spacers. Ragboard strips can be attached to the glazing under the frame rabbet with archival double-sided tape, such as 3M Scotch brand double-sided tape #415. If painted black, the spacer is less apt to be visible. An acrylic paint should be used. Spacers deeper than 4-ply can be made by laminating two or more strips together with #415 tape. Another option is to ask your framer to construct a frame with a built-in spacer."
I thought it was helpful.
Just tried it myself with some left overs ;). The first pic shows the frame from a frontal view, the second when you look into the frame and see the spacer. This was an ordinary frame, which was not specifically wide in its overlap, so you see the spacer if you look from an angle. But the painting is about 4 mil away from the glass, which was the aim.
Hope you find it helpful too.
06-10-2003, 05:30 AM
Sophie's answer is an excellent one. I think you should always make sure, when you use a spacer idea, that it isn't done with small blocks, but instead the spacer goes all the way around the picture.
When you use small blocks to lift the glass, or mat, away from the pic, leaving gaps all around, you get a shadow from the gaps you've created, if you know what I mean. This shadow will be emphasised by the light as it hits the picture. So, light from above the picture, will give you a shadow along the top edge. Light from the left, will give a shadow on the left-hand edge.
Thank you very much for the information. I just orders some clear freamspace from your link below. I can post the result once I get them.
Here is a site on line that sells framespace.. http://www.framingsupplies.com/ Look under framing supplies, then frametek.
Sophie, thanks for the demonstration and the quote. Very helpful.
06-10-2003, 09:48 AM
Recently I saw a pastel portrait framed with the painting directly in contact with the glass. A liner was used with the frame to cover the edges of the painting. It was fabulous...the colors glowed thru the glass without the usual glare, and from across the room I thought it was an oil painting.
I also noticed in a recent show that several paintings seemed to be framed this way. I haven't tried it yet but I think Marsha Savage has, perhaps she can share more about how its done. I don't think every painting would look right with this technique...or maybe I just love mats! but I'll be trying it out soon with some of my landscapes.
Direct contact with the glass.....?? That's interesting......I think it would look fine, but would it stay that way over the years, I wonder? The pastel particles will all be pressed flat against the glass...dunno......
I don't understand what you mean with a liner to cover up the edges.....though?!
I think I will try to frame my larger landscapes like this. I was wondering how big a mat to choose for them, but the painting will turn out immense then......so maybe NO mat is the solution.....just a wide frame.
Marshaaaaaaa.......! Ooohooo.....?? share your experiences!
I've put pastel paintings right against the glass. They look great, but if you ever take them out of the frame, some of the pastel comes off and is left on the glass.
Maybe one can use fixative to prevent that, but that has its own problems.
If pastel against the glass when you take them out is the only problem.....just don't take them out and if you do, wipe off the glass....eeer.....right......?
when you take them out is the only problem.....just don't take them out and if you do, wipe off the glass....eeer.....right......?
Well, sometimes you have to take them out. For example, if you or your customer wants to change the frame. I change frames quite often, because I rotate my paintings.
The problem is not that the glass will be dirty, but that the top layer of the painting is lost. :(
oh, yeah....of course.......duh!
Hi, I tried the framespace spacers. It worked on a small picture 11x16, but with a larger one 18x24, the painting collapsed into the glass. Also, I had trouble making the spacers stay with the glass, so I used a tiny strip of double sticky tape, a tedious and error prone process.
Also, the spacers added 1/4" thikness, and it no longer fit in the frame very well.
So, I am not crazy about these. I am still looking for a better alternative. As for the picture, I removed the spacers and framed it flat against the glass.
Shame you did not like them! But one learns what suits you and what not......
The fact that the painting collapsed against the glass must be because there was not enough space/margin on the painting and the spacers did not keep the painting back. Or, the painting was done on extremely thin paper. Both should be easy to avoid.
The thickness......yes......with ready made frames that can be a problem I think. I want to add two mounts and a spacer, plus a backing board, so my frame gets a pile of about 4 mounts in thickness.......sometimes the clips fit, sometimes not....Maybe you can add your own clips.
I also think you need to use double sided tape to stick the spacers against the glass. A bit of a frilly job, but it works. Dunno about the archival qualities of double sided tape though.........
Thanks for sharing your experiences! It helps me too, to read about them.
06-16-2003, 07:16 PM
I went to the local art and crafts store. They have a framing dept. and they sold me plastic spacers they use with no problem. They are clear plastic about 1/16" thick (quite small)and the best thing about it one of the sides has sticky paper on. You cut it to the length, peel the paper and put in place - done. They come in 4' length and I paid about $1.oo each. They take very little space, are clear so almost invisible and have already glue on. Just talk to people from places like this. They will be happy to help local artist! They even let me go to the back of the store and dig in all leftover mats they have stuck there. All colors and sizes you can dream of and since they are leftovers they are really cheap! I got all of this after first approach. All you need to do is ask - I think.
Good Luck in making your life easier.
that's a good idea, I think thin spacers with sticky on one side would be ideal. I'll talk to the framers.
06-17-2003, 11:32 PM
Don't be tempted to frame work directly in contact with glass - with ANY medium. My husband is a framer and we've seen some horror results. We've seen some very valuable artwork totally ruined by this practice. Paintings tend to "sweat" when in contact with glass and there is outgassing from the paper and medium over time which makes the work stick to the glass and even develop mildew. That air space is vital or long life.
06-18-2003, 12:02 AM
Minky and alll:
Thanks for a very infomative thread! I can attest to what Minky has said. My first pastels, done many years ago, were framed against the glass. I decided to take these out of the frames and found that most of my pastel was "glued" into a hard crust on the glass. A similar experience happened with some old acrylic paintings of mine. I guess I wouldn't have noticed any of this had I just left the painting in the frames.
The idea about the ragboard spacers sounds like a good bet. I'm going to give that a try.
Originally posted by Autieri
Minky and alll:
... framed against the glass. I decided to take these out of the frames and found that most of my pastel was "glued" into a hard crust on the glass
The idea about the ragboard spacers sounds like a good bet. I'm going to give that a try.
This advice came just in time. Since I did frame it against the glass, I took the picture out of the frame once more. This time I tried mat board. I cut 4 thin strips (~3/8") wide and the length of the frame side. I glued them to the glass with small strips of double sided tape. Then layed the picture (canson paper) and the foam core backing on it. This worked very well.
Thanks for the timly information.
09-23-2004, 04:49 PM
If you go into any local frame shop and ask for any scraps of matting they plan to discard, they will probably give you the scraps for free. It worked for me. I use the scraps for spacers as well as backing board.
09-23-2004, 05:06 PM
Thank you all for such informative information. This is a super thread
09-23-2004, 05:07 PM
I cut 4 thin strips (~3/8") wide and the length of the frame side. I glued them to the glass with small strips of double sided tape. Then layed the picture (canson paper) and the foam core backing on it. This worked very well.
This method will work unless the glass breaks. Then you have all that mat-work to do over. For future pictures, consider gluing the mat to the back board then you just have to replace the glass if there is an accident.
09-29-2004, 06:43 AM
Okay, Carly and others wanted to know!
I have framed my pastels flat against the glass. Not always -- just sometimes. I have several very old pastels -- antiques in fact -- that I took apart -- they were framed against the glass. There was no discernible damage to the paintings themselves. There was a very small amount of pastel on the glass -- dust only! I just cleaned the glass and put them back together!
The reason I am doing this is for some of the larger works where I have not mounted the paper to foam core. If you use the small plastic spacers against the edges of the glass -- there is the possibility of the backing board with your artwork attached bulging in the middle and touching the center of the glass. This is when you have a large expanse of glass. I have had it happen -- I think someone else here mentioned it also.
Of course, you do have to be careful where you hang these paintings. Don't hang them in high humidity areas of your home. Don't hang them where sunlight will strike the glass -- condensation will form and ruin the painting.
As Carly mentioned, these paintings framed without spacer or mat look like an oil painting from across the room. You might not want that! You may want everyone to know it is a pastel because there is a mat. But, I got tired of going back into the gallery after delivering work to them and finding pastel dust on the mats -- they are never as careful with your paintings as you are. No matter how many times I tell them not to turn them face down, some new worker at the gallery eventually does it!
With saying this -- I do like the look using the plastic spacers that fit just under the edge of the frame and directly onto the glass -- these look great! It just won't work for large paintings. I also like the fact that using no mat, keeps the painting dimensions down in size and the price too! And not to mention the weight be adding the extra glass that the mat size requires.
I'll be glad to answer any questions if you have more! I also want to say the people talking about not framing against glass have a valid point about the damage that can result! You must be aware of what can happen.
09-29-2004, 08:55 AM
I've just begun experimenting a bit with framing without a mat and some against the glass. I saw an article in Artist Magazine (on alternative framing methods) where Maggie Price saiys she is doing this. She tapes the glass, painting and frame together like a sandwich.
If someone wants to change the frame the whole thing comes out like a package and goes into another frame. Theoretically the only reason the glass would have to be removed would be if someone decided they couldn't live without the mat. To be honest, I kind of rationalized that at that point since I, the artist, did it without a a mat, if they open it up and have problems...well...so be it. Of course, the reality isn't so simple, I realize. But certainly short term it doesn't seem to be a problem. There is a bit of pastel dust on the glass but nothing that can't be wiped off and the painting is fine. And I don't have to worry about the stupid dust all over the mat.
I have been having that problem with all the schlepping paintings around this summer. When I pack them up they are fine but when I get to the show sometimes the mats are embarrassing. And I like the look of the painting without the mat.
It is interesting to read what other people have been doing.
I did order some plastic spacers from here:
This page: http://www.framingsupplies.com/FrameTek/FrameTek.htm
I should have them tomorrow night and will see how I like them.
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