View Full Version : 10/20/10 Product Info Tip of the Week: To Frame Or Not To Frame

Blick Art Materials
10-20-2010, 10:27 AM
To Frame Or Not To Frame
The question whether or not to frame art work is a subjective one. Knowing what form of protection is right for the artwork will depend on what it is and how it is to be presented. However, making sure the art is properly protected will provide lasting preservation of the work for years of enjoyment.

Protective Storage
Print and Document Protectors, Archival Storage Boxes, Archival Frames with Dust Covers, and Flat Files are amongst the favorites in artwork protection and preservation.
Print and Document Protectors work as sleeves or envelopes to slide print artwork into to protect them from dirt and debris. Most print work does not require a top coat as these protectors provide a tight seal to the coatings. Keep in mind the characteristics of the material. If the medium is brittle, such as pastels and charcoal, a fixative may be required to set the coating to prevent smearing.
Archival Storage Boxes are mainly paper based that has been depleted of any acids and lignin in the wood pulp to protect the artwork from deterioration. With a hinged lid design, much like a pizza box, these boxes allow for easy access to loose pieces of artwork. Glassine, and interleaving tissue paper, may be laid between layers of artwork to space them away from each other, whether the artwork be prints, paintings, or photographs.
Archival Frames with Dust Covers work with archivally sound mat boards and backing materials to prevent acid deteriorating the artwork. Dust Covers are offered in both acid-free quality papers and basic construction paper rolls. For physical protection from dirt and debris, construction paper is sufficient, as it does not touch the artwork inside the frame.
Flat Files serve as protective furniture to house stacked artwork. It is recommended to work with the base and top in conjunction with the file units themselves for maximum protection and elevation off the floor.

Protective Coatings
If one opts to not place artwork under protective storage, an alternative would be to apply a protective coating, whether it be a spray application or a brush on varnish.
Spray Varnish works well for materials that would spear with a brush application, such as watercolor and gouache paint. However, a number of formulas exist to top coat various materials from acrylic paintings to digital imagery. Make sure to work with the right varnish for the appropriate material. Brush On Varnishes offer a more controlled means to apply a top coat. Many artists prefer the direct control of applying a varnish with a brush as they can precisely apply it to the surface.

Note: mediums and other additives do not serve well as final top coats. Because they do not offer a rigid cure, they can become tacky under different environments. It is recommended to use them per label instruction unless the manufacturer advises an alternative application for the product. Additionally, working with varnishes noted as containing UV Stabilizers will prevent discoloration through sunlight exposure over time.

For further assistance using art supplies, feel welcome to contact our Product Information Department at
1-800-933-2542 or e-mail us at info@dickblick.com (info@dickblick.com). Hours of operation: M-F, 8:00am-5:30pm CST.