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:
- 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.