When it comes to framing artwork, photographs, documents, or anything else you choose to frame selecting the right framing materials is essential to ensure their longevity. It’s best to be wary as not all framing materials are created equal, and one of the most critical factors to consider is acidity. You may have asked yourself…
- What is acid-free paper, backing, or matboard?
- Is Frame It Easy’s art & photo paper acid-free?
- Are Frame It Easy’s Matboards acid-free?
- Why is it important for photo frames and photo albums to be acid-free?
Keep reading as we explore the difference between acid-free and non-acid-free framing materials and why your material choice matters. ✨Keeping what’s inside your frame safe is what matters most!✨
The Benefits Of Acid-Free Framing Materials
Artwork & Photo Conservation
What are acid-free and non-acid-free framing materials?
Acid-free materials have a pH level of 7 or higher, so they won’t damage or break down your artwork over time. Non-acid-free materials, also known as acid-containing materials, have a pH level lower than 7, making them acidic and potentially harmful to your precious items inside the frame. Acidic materials can cause discoloration, yellowing, or even deterioration of the artwork- big yikes! 😵
There are two main elements of a frame that are likely to contain acid (if not stated acid-free!):
- Matting or mat boards
- Foamcore backing or backing boards
At Frame It Easy we only use acid-free matting and foamcore backing! Our materials are treated with alkaline to be acid-neutral, thus slowing the aging process!
Why does the acidity of framing materials matter?
Acidity matters because over time acidity can accelerate the aging process of your framed artwork, many times resulting in irreversible damage!
Some of these unsightly acidity-caused boo-boos include:
- Yellowing – Artwork may turn an unappealing yellow hue 🤢
- Discoloration – Artwork can become faded and less vibrant – similar to sun bleaching! ☀️
- Deterioration – Artwork, matboard, and backing can begin to break down, becoming less stable and protective of frame contents.
- Mat Burn, Chemical Burn, or Acid Burn- Causes artwork to showcase brown “burn marks” (most commonly found around the matting) resulting in brittle and flaky artwork. (🥐 Croissant anyone?)
If you’re planning on framing something irreplaceable or priceless – double-check to make sure all your materials are acid-free!
Alongside providing our customers with the best acid-free options, we’re also proud to share that all our materials are sourced from those who care about the environment just as much as we do! 🌏 ♻️
All of our raw framing materials are made in and sourced from American vendors. Looking to print a photo or digital art? You’ll be happy to know our paper mill is certified by FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) and are committed to sustainable energy & resource management!
Did you know? All Frame It Easy packaging material is recyclable, including the plastic straps! 📦
Looking for more information on our sustainability practices? Check out our sustainability pledge page to learn more about how we’re committed to creating the easiest, fastest, and most affordable online custom picture framing option with the least environmental impact!
You May Be Asking Yourself…
Are there really any reasons why I should use non-acid-free materials?
While we highly advise against using non-acid-free or framing materials with acid, the choice is ultimately up to you! While considering your options remember these few things…
Cost & Savings
You may save a few dollars and cents when selecting acid-containing materials, but you may lose a few more in the long run. Art restoration is an expensive and tedious process so if you’re looking to frame a meaningful picture or art piece, it’s best to choose your safest option – acid-free!
Let’s weigh out the cost…
|Acid Containing Materials||Acid-Free Materials|
|5×7 Craft Store Matboard ~ $1.49*||5×7 Frame It Easy Matboard ~ $0.75*|
|5×7 Craft Store Backing ~$2.99*||5×7 Frame It Easy Backing ~ $2.50*|
|5×7 1/8″ Craft Store Acrylic Sheet ~ $9.00*||5×7 1/16″ Frame It Easy Acrylic Cover ~ $6.86*|
|5×7 Craft Store Frame ~ Starting at $9.99*||5×7 Frame It Easy Frame ~ Starting at $14.08*|
|Restoration ~ $100 – $500*||Restoration ~ None Needed! 👌|
|Total Cost: ~ $123.40 -$523.47||Total Cost: ~ $24.19|
As we mentioned above, art repair can cost a pretty penny, and deterioration is almost guaranteed to happen over time when the artwork is housed by acid-containing materials. Think carefully before considering use, as you might not be able to recover your art!
If purchased as a set – matting, frame, and backing- which can be commonly found at bargain decor stores. Check to see if the matting and foam contain acid, if so, the surrounding frame materials could be less than fantastic. This increases the risk of breaking apart, cracking, or damaging the contents within your frame. Sometimes the thriftiest option isn’t the best!
At Frame It Easy our finger-jointed poplar wood frames are crafted from repurposed natural pieces of wood that are cut and strongly bound together. (They’re also painted with Green Seal standard-approved paints!) Our aluminum material for metal frames is sourced from vendors that recycle 100% of scrap. So you can not only know you’re getting a quality frame but can feel good about it too!
We hope this post helped clear any confusion when it comes to acid and non-acid framing materials! Remember, framing materials matter, and investing in high-quality materials is an asset in the longevity and preservation of your artwork. While there really are no rules when it comes to framing, the choice is yours on how you frame, style, and display your works!
Show off your framed artwork, photos, and other items! – Inspire others by sharing your photos, and tell us your story! If we share it, you’ll receive a coupon for 15% off your next order!
This post first appeared as Framing Materials Matter: Certified Acid-Free Vs. Others on Frame It Easy - Learning Center for Custom Picture Framing.