Custom Picture Framing - Museum Quality Standards

Serving the Annapolis area community with quality workmanship,
preservation materials, broad choices of styles and price,
combined with experienced design advice

- Custom Framing -

- What is Conservation Framing? -

- Materials -Matboard and Glass

- Protecting your Art -

Practical Framing Tips:
Wiring Art Properly

McBride Gallery offers conservation framing services for original oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, diplomas, antique prints, photographs, golf balls, papyrus, needlework, duck stamps, and giclees to name just a few of the great variety of items we have experience framing. . . .

Custom Framing

Good custom framing starts with proper materials and good design. We have experienced staff who have designed framing for over 30 years. We recommend selecting colors and styles that enhance, but do not overpower the artwork. Creativity is the fun part! Come enjoy the process of framing a treasure you wish to preserve. We have framed the typical to the unusual: many paintings, diplomas, and posters plus some unique items like a hole-in-one golf ball, christening dresses, sports jerseys, papyrus and even a violin! We love a challenge!

What is Conservation Framing?

The goal for conservation/preservation framing is to use materials and techniques that will protect and preserve the item as closely as possible to its original condition. Below is a brief discussion of materials and techniques.

 Framing Materials

Paper art generally is enhanced and protected with a mat border. A mat border provides the separation needed to prevent glass from coming into direct contact with the art. Another option is a spacer that would raise the glass above the art. The problem with glass contact is that the inks, paint or even the paper fibers can adhere to the glass damaging the art.

Conservation matboard is available in different levels of quality. The top quality matboard is called 'Rag', because it is made from 100% cotton linters. Matboard buffered to the alkaline side of the scale is also conservation and will benefit preservation of artwork compromised with earlier contact with acidic boards, often the case with antique prints or prints framed prior to the 1980's before archival materials became commonly available.

If you have noticed mats with stained yellow/sand color cut bevels, usually framed years ago, the mats are likely ‘regular’ wood pulp acidic matboard. The yellowing is acid 'burning' the matboard and anything near it (the art). The yellowing not only stains but causes the matboard and art to become brittle and deteriorate. Just as the matboard on the top should be acid-free, so should the support board behind the art be an archival material.

Paper art needs the protection of glass to prevent dust, pollution and insects from soiling and damaging the art. Certain types of glazing offers protection from the color-fading effects of sunlight and florescent lights. No glass offers full protection from UV; the best protection is to hang art in areas of lower light.

The variety of glazing materials now available can be overwhelming. While 'regular' glass offers 45% ultraviolet ray (UV) protection, conservation UV glass offers 97% protection. Regular nonglare glass does not provide UV protection, you must specify conservation nonglare. Museum glass gives the maximum UV protection while giving maximum viewing pleasure (without glare).

Plexiglas is often used by artists who are shipping artwork to shows across the country. Plexiglas is also beneficial for larger works of art because of its lighter weight. Plexiglas is available with UV protection and also with nonglare properties. See the Educational page for Care and Framing of Pastels for times when Plexiglas is not appropriate.

Protecting Your Art

Once the art has been properly framed, where it is hung in your home or office can either preserve or hasten deterioration.

1) Keep out of prolonged direct contact with sunlight. Watercolors and offset prints are the most susceptible to fading from prolonged light contact.

2) Moderation and stability in both humidity levels and temperature are beneficial. Extreme fluctuations that occur in attics and basements are harmful.

3) An outside wall has more humidity than an inside wall. A fireplace has the most fluctuation especially if it is in use. If you have art over a fireplace, provide some space for air flow behind the painting by cutting a cork in half and placing it behind the two bottom corners.

4) Hang your art using two picture hangers. Not only does it secure the art more safely, but it will stay more level on the wall.

McBride Gallery offers a wide selection of fine original paintings, bronze sculpture, original graphics and custom framing. Other gallery services include gift certificates, portrait commissions, cleaning and restoration, certified art appraisals, art installation as well as art consultation services for your home or office.

Also visit our frame shop in Severna Park Benfield Frame and Art Gallery.
Benfield Gallery was founded in 1984 to serve the Severna Park, Millersville, Crownsville, Odenton, Pasadena and Glen Burnie communities.

Educational Pages

215 Main Street Annapolis MD 21401 • 410-267-7077

Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday 10:00 - 5:30, Sunday 12:00 - 5:30, Thursday til 9:00pm