Pros and Cons of Acrylic Glazing for Framing

Acrylic is a type of glazing that can be used in place of glass for picture framing. It is often referred to by the brand name of Plexiglas. While glass picture frame glazing may be traditional, acrylic glazing offers many of the same features (UV-filter, non-glare) as glass with a few added benefits. It also has its own unique draw backs. Here are the pros and cons of framing with acrylic so you can decide if it’s the right framing material for your next project.

Pros of Using Acrylic Glazing

There are several reasons some people prefer to frame with acrylic. Some of the top benefits include:

  • Shatterproof
  • Lighter weight than glass
  • More optically pure than glass (no green tint)
  • Excellent thermal insulator

Many of these qualities make acrylic a favorite among galleries as the visuals are better and the light weight allows for easier hanging of large pieces. It’s also a good choice for framed art in high-traffic areas since if it gets bumped or falls it won’t shatter.

Cons of Using Acrylic Glazing

Acrylic glazing isn’t perfect though. Here are some cons to keep in mind when considering acrylic glazing:

  • Scratches easily
  • Will attract dust due to its static electric properties (though this can be combated with the right acrylic glazing cleaner)
  • Susceptible to bowing since it’s not as stiff as glass
  • More expensive than standard glass glazing

Depending on your needs and the level of frame maintenance you prefer, these cons could be deal breakers in some cases.

Acrylic Glazing Options

Acrylic glazing has emerged as a true alternative to glass glazing, meaning all the same treatment options are available regardless of the material.

Popular acrylic glazing options include:

  • UV Filter – This optically pure glazing blocks 98% of harmful UV rays and has the UV filter mixed into the acrylic so it won’t fade
  • Non-Glare – Eliminates glare from natural and artificial light, allowing for better visibility
  • UV/Non-Glare – The best of both worlds

In the end, one type of glazing isn’t necessarily better than the others. It depends on your individual wants and needs for each framing project.

References: “Caring for your art: A guide for artists, collectors, galleries and art institutions” by Jill Snyder.

About the author

author

Mark Rogers is an amateur photographer and the founder of Frame Destination, Inc. In 2004 Mark realized the framing industry was not keeping up with the evolution of photography via new digital technology and started Frame Destination in his garage. Now his company has thousands of do-it-yourself framing customers across the US that it helps with its 11,000 square feet production facility in Dallas, TX.

7 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Acrylic Glazing for Framing”

  • James Ribniker

    I use acrylic for its safety. Broken glass is too much of a liability. I include care instructions for my buyers.

    Reply
  • Mark Rogers

    Good point James. Many galleries and museums will insist on acrylic for the same reason. ~Mark

    Reply
  • Harald Johnson

    That's right, Mark. Also for shipping. Sometimes acrylic is the only option. I've produced a lot of exhibitions with domestic and international shipping of finished framed and glazed pieces, and acrylic was the only acceptable way to manage it. Plus the weight factor.

    Reply
  • Don Karner

    I bought some acrylic from you a few years ago. Now I find when I go to use it, I can't remove the protective wrapper. Only part of it came off and now I don't know how to get the rest to come off without using some dangerous scraper or something.

    Any suggestions on what to use? Soap and water? Help.

    Don

    Reply
  • Mark Rogers

    Hi Don, Is the protective covering brown paper or blue or white plastic film?

    Reply
  • Kel

    I want to hang a painting mounted between two pieces of acylic, without a mat or frame. I'm wondering how to press the two pieces of acrylic together and what to use as a hanger.

    Reply
  • Mark Rogers

    Hi Kel, there are some clips that will hold smaller ones together and provide ties for wire, but larger ones are created with special metal standoffs that hold the acrylic together and stand it off from the wall. We hope to sell kits for this in the near future.

    Reply

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