Whether you’ve taken a photograph or bought a lovely print, it’s a satisfying feeling to see it displayed on the wall.
But it can be annoying if you’ve ordered a frame, or a framed print, to realise it’s arrived without any glass.
Should this even happen?
Do picture frames come with glass? Generally yes, frames that are designed for mounting photographs & prints will include either glass or acrylic. Other styles of prints that can be framed such as canvas & metal, don’t come with glass or acrylic as it’s not necessary for displaying these types of prints.
Depending on where you buy or order your picture frame, either glass or acrylic is used.
Which Is Best - Glass Or Acrylic?
Glass - often viewed as the more professional choice. But not all glass is equal in quality.
Some glass can have a slight tint as well as being more reflective, especially if a photograph is matted, as the small gap between the print & the glass allows for more refraction.
Glass is sturdier though, but this can be a disadvantage for extra large prints.
The added weight can be quite significant.
Don’t drop a frame using glass! Glass can break & shatter, so although more sturdy, it’s also more fragile.
Certain glass will also be UV resistant, protecting your print from fading.
Glass is easy to clean, as is acrylic, but glass is scratch resistant. Most times all you’re cleaning off are smudges & fingerprints, so harsh scourers or products aren’t required.
Acrylic - often more expensive than glass, especially when supplied with a custom frame or from a quality print lab where you’re ordering your prints.
This is because quality acrylic is used.
Being lightweight makes acrylic the perfect choice for large prints.
Acrylic can also be clearer than glass & can be made with a non-glare surface.
A good choice for matted photographs.
Acrylic can also offer UV protection to keep your images from bleaching over time.
Shop Bought Or Custom Frames?
Obviously you get what you pay for.
Department stores have a great range of picture frames.
These can either be supplied with glass or acrylic. Sometimes the smaller frames are glass & the larger acrylic.
This is because glass can crack or shatter, the bigger the size the more fragile glass becomes.
The quality of the glass or acrylic used? Each store will have their own suppliers, your cheaper shops are cheaper for a reason.
But horses for courses. If you’re just looking to get some happy snaps up on your wall, there’s no point in spending a lot on frames.
If you’re buying a print or photograph through an artist, the artist will usually make sure the print lab & framing service they use is of a high standard.
If you're ordering a print to be delivered, more than likely it will be an acrylic frame.
This is due to the fact that glass could get damaged in shipping, which may also damage the print itself.
Plus the extra weight of glass significantly adds to the shipping costs.
If you’re having a picture frame custom made, then simply ask the framers what they use & if it’s a local shop, pop in to take a look.
With their expertise, they’ll guide you toward the best solution for your needs.
Picture Frames Without Glass
Glass or acrylic is mainly used for photographic prints.
This is because it helps to hold the print flat & in place as well as offering protection.
If you’ve had your photograph mounted or matted, then you could decide not to display it behind glass.
But not all prints need, or even look good behind a glass frame.
A good example of this are canvas prints.
Usually canvas prints come as a gallery wrap which look great without a frame.
But they also look pretty cool in a floating frame.
Glass or acrylic would just distract from the modern & clean look of these frames.
Plus a UV resistant protective clear coat is applied to quality made canvas prints.
Metal, sometimes referred to as aluminium prints, are another style of presenting an image that looks fabulous without a frame.
Metal prints can be displayed by using stand-off bolts or a mounting block or hanging wire.
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In saying that, they can be framed & look great.
But placing glass or acrylic in front of the print would detract from the unique image quality they offer.
Metal prints also use a UV resistant protective clear coat.
Acrylic prints are a unique exception, as the photo is either printed directly onto the acrylic or mounted behind it.
When framing a photographic print, using glass or acrylic is pretty much standard.
It not only protects the print from fingerprints & sun damage, it prevents other airbourne contaminants from degrading the image.
If you have a photograph you love & want to enjoy it for years to come, it’s worth going the extra mile to source a high quality glass or acrylic for your frame.
But the bargain frames available also serve their own purpose & generally come with glass.
Please feel free to pass this article around if you’ve found it useful.