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Why You Shouldn’t Put Cardboard in a Picture Frame

If you have a picture that you want to be framed, it probably means you want it displayed on your wall for years to come. This means you want it looking its best, and you want to minimize the possibility of external forces degrading it. Of course, it’s impossible to totally stop the passage of time from showing on our favorite photos and art. Indeed, even the most priceless of paintings, undoubtedly maintained under strict protocols, can fade. That said, there are things you can put into frames that can preserve them for as long as possible. One thing specifically to avoid in frames, however, is cardboard.

Here at Frame It Easy, we use acid-free foamcore in our frames, which is meant to combat harmful acids found in the paper your photos and art are printed on. We also send our frames with acrylic that defends your art against some harmful ultraviolet rays.

Why shouldn’t you use cardboard in your frames, though? There are a few reasons why and we are going to go over them with you! We definitely want you to have a display that you like for years to come, and avoiding cardboard in your frames is just one way to do that.

It’s Very Acidic

How to add art to frames

This is the biggest reason why you should never put cardboard in your frame, either as a backing, or to make everything fit more securely. It’s extremely acidic. This means that it will actively degrade your art, as well as just about everything else in the frame. To get a little scientific (but not too much), pretty much everything exists on the pH scale. That’s meant to determine how acidic (or not acidic) something is. The scale exists on a 0-14. If something has a pH rating closer to the zero ends of the scale, it’s acidic. If something has a pH rating of seven or higher, that means it’s pretty much acid-free.

That said, cardboard is usually closer to zero on the pH scale. This means that it’s very acidic and will degrade your art over a long period of time. This could mean a lot of things, but mostly it means that the paper will become more brittle, and the picture will fade. Or it could cause “acid burn,” which is damage to a paper when it comes into contact with something acidic. This is very vital to consider when framing something that is important to you.

Most Frame Components Aren’t Cardboard


Besides the boxes that frames are shipped in, which are only in contact with the frames for a short amount of time, and won’t cause any acid burn or damage, there are really no natural components of frames made of cardboard, at least on our site. We’ve had the occasional customer ask about cardboard backings, or just to reinforce the whole frame. First, we always recommend using our backing, which is foamcore and has a far higher archival grade.

In addition, if you’re looking to make everything fit tighter in the frame, you could either press the backing tabs down further (for wooden frames) or you could put the spring clips in (for metal frames). You can check out our “Help” page for assembly instructions on both types of frames. We always recommend using the components that the framer sends you, regardless of the company you order from. This is because they likely test their products; anything you add on your end isn’t tested and may result in issues with the frame long term, such as the problem we outlined in the first section of this post.

It’s Not Sturdy

Custom picture frames ship securely with custom packaging

When you purchase a frame, you usually want a quality product. This means that you’ll want something that is sturdy that will keep its shape if you ever have to move it. Cardboard is usually flimsy, and it will likely degrade over time. This is why you should always stick with the foamcore that is sent with most picture frames. This will ensure that your frame preserves your art for as long as possible.

Here at Frame It Easy, quality is our number one priority. We also stand by the fact that we are one of the most affordable online framing companies, saving you more time (and money!) to create those frameable moments.

Keeping It Easy

Most framing companies test their products. This means that you’ll likely receive everything you need to assemble your frame and have it on your wall for years to come. Here at Frame It Easy, you won’t need to use any outside material to make everything fit together, just a hammer to get it hanging on your wall! Let’s just go over the key points to why you shouldn’t put cardboard in your frame, though:

  • It’s very acidic. Which will destroy your art or photo over time.
  • Most frames aren’t shipped with cardboard as a key component. Besides our custom packaging, which doesnt have contact with your frames for very long, you won’t find any other cardboard
  • It’s flimsy and provides no support in your frame or to your art.

Have any further questions? Just reach out to our support team. We’re always looking to help our customers in any possible way.

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