There are a boatload of options for different types of glass for picture framing. The key is to find out what is the right option for you. Over the next few minutes of your life (if you continue to read, that is…I get it if you don’t. But seriously, read it. This is super important stuff….), you will learn the best way to choose the right glazing for you. Editor’s Note: Glazing is fancy picture framer talk for glass…we like to sound sophisticated sometimes.
To start off, I would like to preface that this is solely my professional opinion on the matter and how I go about my daily life in the picture framing world I live in. Now, here is a boring list and slightly less boring descriptions and recommendations of usage of the different options:
Clear Glass – Cheapest option available and has an awful glare that makes seeing your artwork in a bright room nearly impossible. Not to mention the fact that it will begin fading almost instantly. I would equate putting clear glass on your artwork to watching the sunset. One minute the sun is there and you’re happy and the next thing you know, it’s gone and you become sad. That’s what clear glass will do….that valuable autograph on the photo you had framed will disappear like the sun. But don’t worry…you won’t be able to see it through the glare anyways!
Recommendations – Never…. Unless you are framing something important for someone you don’t like and want to ruin their day down the road.
Conservation Clear – Getting better, but still has a glare and looks like regular clear glass. The main difference is the Ultra Violet (UV) Protection. This stuff offers over 99% of it, so you won’t have to worry about your Picasso poster fading.
Recommendations – Any time there is not direct light or if you are on a budget.
AR (Anti-Reflective) – Now we are getting into some interesting stuff here. There is a coating on this glass that gives the appearance that nothing is there. Pretty cool, huh? The bad news? Well, I’m glad you asked. It doesn’t have the oh-so-important UV protection I told you about above.
Recommendations – Not a lot….We’re pretty big on the UV Protection over here. The only time I recommend this is when you are changing the artwork out every few years.
Museum Glass – This is what we in the framing world call “The Total Package”. It has the Anti-Reflective coating AND over 99% UV protection. It’s top of the line and, as I learned from a stranger at Walmart browsing house fans (true story), “ You get what you pay for.” Wise words. Its only downfall is all the fingerprints you’ll have to clean from everyone touching it to see if the glass is really there.
Recommendations – Always…. unless you like looking at your reflection instead of your artwork. If that is the case, I would also recommend a mirror… And then maybe a selfie stick or something…
So, if you are familiar with picture framing you might say “Hey, I know there are more glass options” and I would respond with “No one likes a know-it-all” followed quickly by “Yes, that is true!”. But these are the four that are the most used in our shop. In fact, I really only recommend two of these types of glass regularly to my customers: Conservation Clear and the almighty Museum…only the best for our customers! I guess if you take away anything today, it’s that Museum Glass is by far and away the best option in any occasion.