Framing: Preservation & Low Cost
Framing your original movie posters can often be a very expensive proposition. In addition, many custom framers in your hometown may not be used to framing original movie posters or collectables. We have had articles in books and on many websites all over the world for years regarding framing original movie posters and other paper collectables. Our view is what really matters to the long-term preservation of your posters and valuable artwork, is what’s touching the back and front of them. It is that simple.
Having said this, glass is not typically recommended for anything that is collectable or valuable. The most obvious downside of glass is that it is heavy and can break very easily. If breakage occurs, chances of your poster being scraped or torn are very high. Glass is also a heat conductor and can make paper brittle over time. You can also get moisture entrapment with glass and your poster can stick to its face. Most conservation framers use genuine plexiglass. Many consumers use the word “plexiglass” for anything that is plastic. This is not the case. We often call tissues Kleenex, but that is just a brand name, not the name of all actual product.
There are many forms of cheap plastic: sytrene, lucite, low grade acrylics and PETG. These are typically the products you see offered in cheaply made frames and readymade frames for sale over the internet, in chain stores or in swap meets. These coverings are cheap and have very detrimental effects to your posters. Many sellers use the word plexiglass generically for anything that is plastic and are actually sending you styrene, which is a very thin plastic material that sounds like thunder when you shake it. The problems with styrene are aplenty. First, because it is so cheaply made it scratches very easily and will typically get opaque spots in it over time. The worst side effect of styrene and other low cost plastics is that it can actually stick to the face of your poster over time, especially if you live in an area where the humidity changes often. You don’t even realize that the poster is getting moisture entrapment and when it dries, it can stick to the face of the styrene.
Sellers come up with all kinds of names for these low-grade plastics; usually something to make it sound much more impressive than saying “plastic fronts”. You may hear “plastic fronts” also called “clear lens covers” or “protective lens covers” or other such names. Many sellers send you a frame kit with the “plastic” rolled up in a tube for you to assemble. Either way, the product is subpar if you have a collectable poster, photo, lithograph, serigraph or valuable artwork. Too many people to count have come to us with a poster that is stuck to the face of the styrene and it can’t be removed. The piece is virtually worthless at this point.
UV Filtered Plexiglass
Collectable paper should be framed in genuine UV filtered plexiglass. We at Hollywood Poster Frames use products made by Acrylite and Plaskolite. We use FF3 by Acrylite and Optix by Plaskolite for our “clear” UV filtered product and FF P-99 by Acrylite and Optix NG by Plaskolite for our non glare UV filtered product. We have been using these products for many years and without any issues. Acrylite’s and Plaskolite’s warranties can be seen on their respective websites. They warranty against yellowing and the information they provide for UV filtering is as follows: “Acrylite FF acrylic sheet and Acrylite FF P-99 acrylic sheet start transmitting light at around 350 nm. Based on that number, they filter out about 85%-90% of UV light between 200-400 nm. These are the same parameters with the Plaskolite product. Acrylite offers a continuously manufactured UV filtering sheet, Acrylite OP-3 and OP-3 P-99 acrylic sheet. This sheet filters out about 98% of UV light.” Plaskolite offers Optix 99 Ultralite matte UVF as their 98% UV filtered product. We at Hollywood Poster Frames do offer the 98% UV filtered plexiglass in non-glare and it can be ordered for your frames if you prefer for a cost upgrade. Contact us directly for more details. It is not advisable, no matter what product you are using for framing, even the highest strengths of UV filtered material, to hang your items in direct sunlight.
Spacers are an issue often discussed but they can cause some problems also, especially with larger items. Please reference our article, “Are Spacers Effective” under the Tips tab on www.hollywoodposterframes.com
Artcare Conservation Foamcore and Other Backing Products
As for backing products, your choice depends on the value of your item. Cardboard, masonite and less expensive materials that are loaded with acids will accelerate yellowing, brittlization and decay of your piece. High quality foam core is a very affordable and excellent product for regular posters not of any tremendous value. Regular or Ph neutral foam core is a wonderful product for items that are of moderate value or less. You might have a $10 poster, but if you like it and want it to last, ph neutral foam core is a very low cost effective product. Contrary to what many framers tell you, ph neutral backing is not 100% acid free. Often only the outer paper surrounding the foam core is neutralized, not the center. So basically your choices are regular foam core for inexpensive items or acid free material for value appreciating items. Remember, original movie posters weren’t intended for us as collectors, but rather for advertising. They were not printed on high quality acid free paper. The posters themselves will continue to degrade just in their own right over time. For valuable items, 100% acid free backing is suggested. We use a product called Artcare Conservation Foamcore made by Neilsen Bainbridge, which is a very unique product. Not only is Artcare 100% acid free, but also has ingredients in it that will neutralize acids in your actual posters. If you have a poster that isn’t worth a ton of money, there is no need to speed extra money to museum conserve it. However, remember that framing anything between glass and cardboard is going to age and degrade in short order.
We’ve framed for the Motion Picture and Television Studios in Los Angeles for many years. In addition, we do the custom framing for many of the top collectors of movie posters in the country. Even if you are framing a poster worth thousands of dollars you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, although you do need to use the proper materials to maintain and preserve its integrity.
Hundreds of customers each month use our custom frames to display and protect their movie posters and other artwork. As longtime movie poster collectors ourselves, it is important to us to educate other collectors so their own collections remain in high quality condition for display or appreciating value.
At www.hollywoodposterframes.com we offer Consumer’s Corner, where you may view other related articles as reference for framing movie posters. We offer these articles so that you can further your knowledge and understanding in order to make informed decisions for yourself. Framing products change all the time and we try to update our articles accordingly to give you as much information as possible to protect your collectables at an affordable price. Always feel free to contact us directly.
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