Can you help me design my piece?
Working on a budget? No problem. Our designers can show you alternatives and advise you on how you might best leverage your dollars. With our computerized pricing system it is easy to try different frames, different mats and different glazing’s until you find the combination that satisfies your senses and meets your budget.
What makes FASTFRAME of Austin different?
We carry a huge selection of moldings and unique framing materials. All framing projects are done right on the premises and our work is guaranteed, so you’ll get just the look you want — when you want it!
What is conservation framing?
A CPF (Certified Picture Framer) is a framer who has studied conservation framing, passed a lengthy examination and has been certified by the Professional Picture Framing Association as a professional. There are relatively few CPF’s in the entire country, and many FASTFRAME stores have one on staff.
What is mounting?
- Permanent mounting
- Conservation mounting
There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, and specific circumstances under which certain methods are recommended.
Permanent Mounting is just that — the irreversible mounting of your artwork onto another material. Permanent mounting is usually done to improve the appearance of your artwork by permanently holding it flat and in position regardless of heat, humidity or physical mistreatment. While the appearance of your artwork may be improved, permanent mounting is not recommended in cases where the value (or potential value) of the artwork may be jeopardized by permanent alteration.
Conservation Mounting encompasses a body of techniques employed to hold your artwork in place without subjecting it to irreversible mounting processes. The objective of conservation mounting is to make it possible to remove your artwork from the frame at a later date without evidence of it having been framed.
What is dry mounting?
- One is to flatten the artwork. Paper artwork can easily become wrinkled from handling. Drymounting will remove virtually all wrinkling from damaged artwork. Even sharp crinkles which have broken the fibers of the paper artwork will be flattened out (although you may still see a line where the fibers were permanently damaged.)
- Second is to keep the artwork flattened, regardless of the environment. Unmounted artwork will expand and contract over time, depending on heat and humidity. These expansions and contractions can translate into undesirable undulations and bowing of the artwork within the frame. A drymounted piece of artwork will remain flat, regardless of changes in the surrounding environment.
What shouldn’t be drymounted?
What is wetmounting?
- Moisture is being introduced directly onto the artwork.
- The artwork is usually in more handling jeopardy during the mounting process than if it were being drymounted. However, some types of artwork cannot withstand the heat of the drymount process and can only be wetmounted if permanent, full-surface adhesion is desired. Our skilled craftsmen regularly do wetmounting as well as drymounting, and you will be advised as to which technique is most appropriate for your artwork.
Do you build my frames, or must I do it?
What is a standard sized frame?
Do I need a frame?
- To provide a solid, protective environment in which your artwork will remain safe from physical damage.
- To provide a dependable, non-destructive means of displaying your artwork.
- To provide aesthetic enhancement to the artwork.
We’ve all used the thumbtack and Scotch tape techniques at some time in our past. However, if the piece is important to you, you should consider having it professionally framed. Framing a piece of artwork which is valuable to you, either monetarily or sentimentally, will make it look better and last longer.
Should I get a wood, metal or plastic frame?
Metal Moulding Metal frames are a modern, durable alternative to wood frames. No longer limited to chrome, today’s metals come in a wide variety of styles and colors. They will withstand a lot of abuse, and should definitely be considered in frame-unfriendly environments. Conservationally, metals are not as desirable as woods because an effective dust covers are not applicable to the back of the frame.
Plastic Moulding Plastic frames are quite often the least expensive of frames. They are usually composed of a hollow plastic shell, filled with inexpensive filler, like pressed paper or foam. This filler material makes these frames structurally weak, limiting them in size and to holding inferior glazing materials like 1/16″ styrene. Because of the lack of structural integrity of today’s plastic frames, FASTFRAME does not carry this type of moulding. We suggest using a low-cost sectional metal frame as a structurally superior alternative to plastic.
What is a mat?
A more recent development is the use of colored matting material. Mat colors can now be chosen to enhance the image or highlight aspects within the image. Today, matting as a design element has overshadowed the original purpose of protecting the artwork.
Matting can also be used to make a piece of artwork fit into a pre-made frame which is too large. A mat is cut with outside measurements to match the frame size and inside measurements to match the image size, thus filling in the empty space between the artwork and the perimeter of the pre-made frame.
Why use mats?
The coloration of mats can be used to enhance an image, enliven the artwork, focus the viewer’s eye, or make a statement of importance or elegance.
Use the texture of fabric, suede, leather and foil to enhance the image.
Cut multiple openings from a single mat to display several images within one frame.
Mats can form an area around the image upon which decoration can be added, like decorative grooves, hand-carved images, signatures, drawings, plaques, etc.
You may want to use mats to make your finished frame bigger so that it will cover a larger wall area than the framed image would by itself. While mat width is typically 2″ to 3″, any width is possible.
What are basic mat dimensions?
The second rationale is that psychologically, human beings are more comfortable around stable items — a stable item being heavier, wider, thicker at the bottom, such that the viewer does not perceive it to be unstable, or likely to tip over.
Who knows? What matters now is that both techniques are acceptable, and the preference is yours. The equal all-the-way-around technique is the more common and modern of the techniques. However, if you are framing a very old photo, something like a Michelangelo print, or if you just want to create an “artsy” feeling, you might consider weighting the bottom of your matting.
How many mats should I use?
What is artwork glazing?
In locations where reflections from strong lighting might be a problem, non-glare glass may improve your ability to view the framed artwork. Its ability to diffuse light also has the effect of making the image less distinct. Sometimes “blurring” this is desirable and sometimes not.
Non-glare glass costs more than glass and affords the same low-level U.V. protection as regular glass (less than 50 %.) At FASTFRAME we carry a high grade non-glare glass which is more expensively etched on just one side. Elsewhere, cheaper grades of non-glare glass are used which are etched on both sides in an acid bath, resulting in increased distortion of your artwork?
Reduced reflection glass is a special, high-tech type of non-glare glass. It serves the same purpose as regular non-glare glass, but without the same diffusion of the image. Reduced reflection glass is almost invisible. People often feel compelled to reach out and touch the glazing to make sure it’;s there. This is the second most expensive glass on the market, is breakable, requires more care to clean, and affords the same low level U.V. protection as regular glass. This is one of the Cadillacs of glass, and costs proportionately so.
Ultraviolet protection is an attribute added to glazing. U.V. protection is available in most forms of and non-glare glass or acrylic. Also known as conservation glazing, it is a special coating which filters out more than 97% of the harmful ultra-violet radiation. Conservation glass will significantly reduce the fading damage your artwork experiences as a consequence of being exposed to virtually any source of light. Cost is slightly more than the form of glazing to which the attribute is applied.
Museum glass is the ultimate protection you can give your artwork. There are several forms of museum glass. Some forms of this glass are made from are type of glass which does not have the slight greenish tint of normal glass. Some forms are constructed like automobile windshield glass with a layer of acrylic sandwiched in the middle to control breakage. And all forms include U.V. protection. This is the most expensive of the glass types, and cannot be outdone for protecting your most valuable artwork.
Acrylic Glazing is second most common type of glazing (to glass), and is often referred to as Plexiglass (which is actually only one brand of acrylic.) It is available in several forms. The major advantages of acrylic are that it weighs significantly less than glass; it resists breaking, and inherently has a higher level of U.V. protection than regular glass (more than 60% filtering.) The only negative is that it is more susceptible to scratching. The acrylic used by FASTFRAME is a picture framing grade. This acrylic is different from the thinner styrene plastics you may have seen on bargain framing and, due to its substantially higher quality, actually costs more than regular glass. Acrylic glazing is available in and Non-glare forms, and with or without an additional level of U.V. protection.
FASTFRAME does not stock the glazing material called styrene plastic. It is typically thinner than quality framing-grade acrylic, it is soft and susceptible to scratches, it warps and bows easily, and it yellows over time. It’s only redeeming value is that it is cheap — but you’ll have to buy it from a less quality conscious organization.
Lamination is a light-duty glazing which protects the surface of artwork from dirt and liquids, but not necessarily from physical penetration. Lamination is a thin film of plastic material which is applied to the surface of a previously mounted piece of flat art. A heat/vacuum drymount press is used to fuse the plastic film permanently to the surface of the artwork. The cost of lamination is similar to that of other glazings. Its major advantages are that it is lightweight, it does not require a frame to hold it onto the artwork, and it is penetrable (by push-pins, for instance.) The lamination material we use at FASTFRAME is inherently U.V. protective, and can be fused to form either a gloss or matte finish.
How is the back of the frame sealed?
- Paper backing: This is an American style of backing. Adhesive is applied around the perimeter of the back of the frame; a brown or black craft paper is applied and then trimmed. In the USA, this is the style which is most common.
- Framing tape backing: This is a European style of backing. Brown, black or white framing tape is applied around the perimeter of the back of the frame to seal the gap between the frame and the backing board. This can be more durable than the paper backing technique. In Europe, this is style which is most common.
- Oil paintings on canvas: Oils are a special consideration. They are normally paper-backed, but a hole is cut out of the middle of the backing. The paper backing provides physical protection, plus a degree of protection against dust and dirt. The hole in the back is necessary to allow the oil to “breathe.” An oil never completely dries, and if a hole is not provided through the backing for ventilation, mold may develop on the canvas.
- Metal frames: Metal frames are not backed because they are, for all practical purposes, not sealable due to the convoluted channels inherent to metal frames.