Four Tips to Custom Framing

Selecting framing materials is easier than you think!

Most people have at least one treasured item or image waiting to be framed and displayed – family memories tucked away in a closet or drawer with no one to admire them:

• Grandma's christening gown • Your child's first finger painting • A photo from your honeymoon in Paris • Your parents' wedding photo • A limited-edition print • Your diploma, cap and tassel • Grandpa's military medals • … The list goes on!

Often, the reason is people aren't familiar with the process of preservation framing, which allows consumers to enhance as well as help protect valuable keepsakes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, dirt and dust.

Here are four tips for working with a professional framer to achieve a preservation-quality framing job to showcase and safeguard your treasures:

Tip No. 1: Choose a professional custom framer who shares your creative vision

. Professional framers are craftspeople who can help you select the best materials. This should be a collaborative, creative process, and you'll discuss the different options available for the following three essential framing materials:
• Mat board – available in a variety of colors. You can use one or more window mats, depending on your design preference.
• Glazing (glass and acrylic) – be sure to request a UV-filtering glazing, which helps to protect treasures from damaging light rays.
• Frame – the most visible component of your custom piece. There are many styles (profiles), and your professional framer will help you to select a frame that flatters – but doesn't overwhelm – the items you have selected for framing.

Tip No. 2: All mat board is not created equal.
Mat board can vary widely. When doing preservation framing, a professional framer would only use preservation-grade board.
Preservation-grade mat board can be labeled in a variety of ways such as alpha cellulose (100 percent cotton "rag," or purified wood pulp).
Any mat board made from wood pulp should also be buffered. Boards covered with fabric or other specialty surface layers may contain dyes, chemical components, additives or adhesives unsuitable to be in direct contact with the item being framed.

Tip No. 3: All framing glazing is not created equal.
Picture framing glazing is available in a variety of types. Some specialty glazing offers unparalleled clarity, making the glazing appear almost invisible. Ultraviolet glazing blocks 98 percent of a certain section of the damaging indoor and outdoor UV light rays and helps slow down fading more than any other glazing option.

Tip No. 4: Frame it to last.
If you want your artwork or treasured possession to be a legacy for future generations, ask your professional framer to use only preservation-grade mat board and UV glazing. Make sure your framer is experienced in preservation framing techniques before you entrust him or her with your precious mementos and keepsakes.

Be sure to look for the purple and white PPFA member decal on the shop door or window!