Museum Standard Picture Framing

Minimum | Budget | Commended | Conservation | Museum

Museum Standard Picture Framing

To visually enhance artwork and offer the ultimate level of protection

If you own either valuable artwork or items of sentimental value which you wish to display yet protect for future generations of your family it is vital they are framed using the correct materials and methods.

Museum quality picture framing may not cost as much as you may think, please call or email us to discuss your requirements and we try give you an estimate.

  • Suitable For Museum-quality works and artwork that is to be preserved for the future, including high value items and artwork of potential or historical value. Processes must be fully reversible. Customers should be advised that lifetimes given assume that artwork is not inherently unstable.
  • Moulding No significant blemishes. Care must be taken to match the pieces. The moulding should have a rebate that is sufficiently deep to comfortably hold the sandwich. If artwork is likely to touch the moulding, this should be sealed with strips of Cotton Museum mountboard or a conservation foil and paper tape.Note: Good original frames should be retained wherever possible as these can enhance the value of the artwork.
  • Mitres Accurately cut, glued and pinned tightly. Corners to be touched-up so no unfinished moulding is visible.
  • Windowmount A windowmount or slip should normally be used to visually enhance the artwork and distance it from the glazing. If close framing is required, there should be a spacer between the artwork and the glazing and this should be made from Cotton Museum mountboard. The corners of the windowmount must be cleanly cut; the mountboard must be free from blemishes and there must be clearance of 1-3mm inside the rebate (clearance varies depending on frame size). Only Cotton Museum mountboard at least 1100 microns thick and conforming to the Guild standard should be used. Slip moulding must be accurately cut and should not touch the artwork. Multiple mounts or deep spacers must be used to frame works with migrant or delicate pigments, such as pastel drawings, or artwork with a cockled surface. Using a fixative on pigments is not acceptable. The windowmount should, where possible, project at least 5mm over the edge of the artwork, thus holding it firmly in place. Any pencil marks on the underside of the windowmount should be rubbed out as they may come into contact with the artwork. For photographs unbuffered Cotton Museum mountboard should be used. Note: Sometimes it is advantageous to retain an original windowmount (possibly gilded or decorated). In this case preferably a 1100 micron, but at least 500 micron, Cotton Museum quality mountboard barrier should but cut to fit the underside of the windowmount to within a few millimetres of the window or a few millimetres beyond the opening
  • Undermount There should be a barrier layer between the artwork and the back board; this should be made from Cotton Museum board at least 1100 microns thick. For photographs unbuffered cotton museum mountboard should be used. The undermount should be the same size as the windowmount and hinged to it along the longer side using museum-quality paper or fabric with either starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methyl cellulose). Note: Artwork stuck down onto acid board should be referred to a conservator for possible removal of the board.
  • Attaching Artwork The artwork should be hinged to the undermount with T-hinges on the top edge, or a similarly reversible process should be used, such as corner pockets made from naturally lignin-free museum quality paper. It is not acceptable to make hinges from self-adhesive tape; hinges should be made from naturally lignin-free, pH neutral paper and the adhesive made from starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methyl cellulose). Hinges should be torn, not cut. Hinges should be weaker than, or the same paper weight as, the artwork – never heavier. Hinges should be attached to the back of the artwork, not the front, and should overlap onto the artwork the minimum amount necessary to give proper support Note: for the majority of art on paper 5mm should be sufficient. Artwork should be hinged to the undermount, not the back of the windowmount. Artwork must be properly centred and free from blemish caused by framing.
  • Glazing Glazing must be free from obvious blemishes and of appropriate thickness for the frame size. Preferably museum-quality glazing should be used, ie glazing that blocks more than 90 per cent of all UV rays unless work is to hang where there are already controlled UV levels (eg some museums). Must be cut to allow sufficient clearance inside the rebate of the frame. It is not acceptable for the glazing to touch the artwork. For large items and for items to be hung in areas accessible to the public, safety should be considered, eg laminated or acrylic sheet may be advisable. Final cleaning fluid should contain only deionized water and perhaps industrial methylated spirit.
  • Back board Back board needs to be strong, rigid and flat, eg hardboard or MDF with a 500 micron barrier board or Melinex sheet or similar, in addition to the
  • undermount, pH neutral back board or foam board. Must be cut to allow sufficient clearance inside the rebate.
  • Securing The Frame It is recommended that glazing, windowmount, artwork and undermount are sealed together using a gummed conservation-quality paper tape with water-soluble adhesive, before being fitted into the frame to keep out dust, insects etc. The frame must be secured with framers’ points, tacks or similar. Flexible tabs are not acceptable.
  • Hanging Hanging fittings must be sufficiently strong to support the frame. Rivetted D-rings are only acceptable for lightweight works if the customer has chosen a thin moulding, in which case an additional undermount should be used.
  • Finish Dust and dirt should be removed and the glass should be cleaned and polished without smears. It is not acceptable to seal the back with self-adhesive tape; gummed-paper tape must be used and this must be carefully applied. Pads or buffers should be applied to the two lower corners. A label giving the date and the framer’s name should be adhered to the back. Note: any existing labels should be preserved as this can provide provenance for the art.