Have you gone to get something framed, and are bombarded with what seems like way too may options for glass? You're not the only one, and this guide is going to make life a little easier!
First thing is first, you've got to figure out the importance of whatever it is you're getting framed. If it's a cheap poster, chances are it doesn't really matter if it fades over time. The poster might be a standard size, such as 18 x 24, and you can buy another cheap poster and swap the art out of the frame. Easy peasy and it'll save you some cash. If you're framing a signed piece of art, an old fragile family photo, or a signed poster from your favorite band, it's definitely worth considering investing in some protective glazing. Nothing would be worse that chincing out and realizing over time the art or photo has been damaged. I've seen this happen a lot, and it's not a situation you want to find yourself in.
1. Regular Glass
This is the option for art or photos that aren't worth the extra expense of UV or museum glass. You just want to put up a couple inexpensive posters of your favorite bands or some super cool art you got for cheap. This is definitely the way to go, and it's the most inexpensive option. If your art isn't in direct sunlight day in and day out, your piece will be fine. It could take years for it to fade.
2. Non-Glare Glass
Non-glare is just that, it cuts down the glare of lights tremendously. However, the glass isn't quite clear, it's a big foggy. This type of glass doesn't offer any type of protective coating to shield art from the rays of the sun. Another thing to consider, if you're thinking of getting anything framed in a shadow box, it is definitely the type of glass you DO NOT want to use. The item in a shadow box is recessed from the glass, and seeing as non-glare is a bit fuzzy, it gets even fuzzier the further it gets from the image. The items you're framing will not be clearly visible, and you'll most likely wind up changing it.
3. Conservation Clear
Conservation Clear glass filters out 99% of UV rays. This is an excellent choice for protecting items of sentimental or monetary value. It also does have a reflection.
4. Museum Glass
Museum glass is truly the best of the best. It cuts down glare and reflections to a minimum while providing the most protection for your art or memorabilia. While museum glass is on the more expensive, it is definitely worth it if you're framing valuables. It's also clear, unlike non-glare glass.
Now that we've covered the basic types of glass, it's time to move onto plexi glass. Plexi comes in all the formats listed above, but it's plastic. This is the ideal thing to use if you're going to be shipping any artwork. It's also a great option if you've got kids and are worried about the frame being knocked off the wall and glass shattering. It's incredibly light, and ideal for over-sized pieces of art, where glass isn't practical or safe. That being said, plexi glass is more expensive than glass at all tiers of protection. Regular plexi isn't much more expensive than regular glass, but as you move up to UV or museum plexi, it gets expensive quick.
Hope you enjoyed this quick, basic guide to understanding glazing. I hope you feel more confident about your needs when you go to get something framed. Don't let someone talk you into something you don't want or need!