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Home  >  Store  >  Fine Art Prints

Glazing Options

For maximum print longevity, it is extremely important to display your print under some type of glazing, either glass or Plexiglas. Glazing protects the print from harmful UV wavelengths which tend to fade prints more quickly. It also protects the print from fingerprints, smoke, cooking fumes and other contaminants.

There are two types of glazing: glass and acrylic. Both have the strengths and weaknesses. Glass has the best optical properties but weighs more and is subject to breakage when shipping. Acrylic is lighter and much less likely to break but is more expensive and more prone to scratching.

Standard Glazing Options - Glass

Museum Glass (Best)
Museum glass is highest quality glass available today for framing. It is a crystal clear, UV-filtering glass that has been treated with an anti-reflective coating, similar to what is used on modern camera lenses. The coating dramatically reduces reflections and glare, making it virtually invisible. If you've ever seen a framed picture that had glass so clear and glare-free that you had to touch it to make sure it was there, then you've seen museum glass.

Conservation Glass (Good)
Conservation Glass has the same high optical quality and UV-filtering but does not have the anti-reflective coating. Depending on how carefully the lighting is arranged, reflections are possible. For best results, make sure your lighting strikes the print at an angle that will not reflect back on the viewer.

Standard Glazing Options - Acrylic

Museum Acrylic (Best)
Museum acrylic is the acrylic counterpart to museum glass (above). Museum acrylic is the highest quality acrylic available today for framing. It is a crystal clear, UV-filterering acrylic that has been treated with an anti-reflective coating, similar to what is used on modern camera lenses. The coating dramatically reduces reflections and glare, making it virtually invisible. This product was just introduced in the summer of 2005 so it is still extemely expensive. Hopefully, as the market adopts this product more widely and volumes increase, we should see the prices start to fall. I'll monitor market prices for this product and modify my pricing accordingly.

Conservation Acrylic (Good)
Standard acrylic (what most people call by one of the brand names "Plexiglas") does not have the natural UV filtering properties of glass. However, this UV-rated acrylic is now available which does provide this essential protection for color photography. The UV-rated acrylic is intended for framing purposes and has the same optical quality and UV-filtering as Museum acrylic but does not have the anti-reflective coating. Depending on how carefully the lighting is arranged, reflections are possible. For best results, make sure your lighting strikes the print at an angle that will not reflect back on the viewer.

My Recommendation

Some general rules of thumb for selecting a glazing option:

Use Museum Glass when:

  • You don't need to ship the framed art
  • The framed art is not excessively large (weight is not a problem)
  • You want the best possible presentation of the image
  • It fits within your budget

Use Conservation Glass when:

  • You don't need to ship the framed art
  • The framed art is not excessively large
  • Your lighting system produces good control over reflections
  • Museum Glass is too costly for your budget

Use Museum Acrylic when:

  • You need to ship the framed art
  • The art is any size
  • You want the best possible presentation of the image
  • You will be careful when cleaning it in order to avoid scratches
  • It fits within your budget (Museum acrylic is currently very expensive)

Use Conservation Acrylic when:

  • You need to ship the framed art
  • The art is any size
  • Your lighting system provides good control over reflections
  • You will be careful when cleaning it in order to avoid scratches
  • Museum Acrylic is too costly for your budget