I have struggled for years with finding affordable framing/display options for photography for gallery exhibitions. I produce my own fine art pigment prints and trying to display a pigment print on a delicate and beautiful fine art paper can be quite challenging for a solution that is affordable and archival. I have a few options that I have used over the last few years.
Modern float frame:
- fantastic presentation, showing off the quality and texture of the paper and the print. Unfortunately, the foam core and mounting adhesive are not archival.
- Floater frames that are 1.5" deep and 3/4" wide with a matte black finish. The frame edge is 1/4" wide.
- 1-Sided Self-Adhesive Gatorfoam foam board
- An archival glue for adhering the foam board to the frame
- Spray coat the print with Desert Moab Varnish which adds UV and scratch resistance.
Classic Framed but with no glass:
- Uses a thin 1-Sided Self Adhesive Acid-Free Standard Foam Board
- A simple black metal frame to hold it together. The metal frame has the pressure clips to hold the thin foamcore in place.
- Spray coat the print with Desert Moab Varnish which adds UV and scratch resistance, but not as good as a glass or acrylic sheet.
Traditional Framed Print:
- I believe to be a complete archival solution
- Uses a museum quality UV acrylic sheet, instead of very expensive museum glass. I've found this product to be surprisingly good! It is acrylic which can sometimes be a pain, but the cost is very affordable, a little over $7/sqft cut. It offers museum quality UV protection with a matte finish for clarity.
- Redimat has museum rag solids in both buffered and unbuffered depending on what type of prints you do.
- Backing boards that is a conservation quality, acid and lignin-free.
- Shipping can be pretty expensive for all the pieces, but if you are ordering in sets of 5-10 it is worth it.
- I've been mostly using cheap black frames. I've found ArtToFrames Satin Black Frames on Amazon to be pretty good, they come with sawtooth hangers though so I do replace that with Ook Picture D-rings and some picture wire. An even cheaper frame on Amazon that is still pretty good is Craig Frames Wall Decor Frame, smooth finish, matte black. Not as wide as the ArtToFrames option but still nice and comes with d-rings and picture wire for hanging. For both these options, I discard the included glass or acrylic and use the acrylite product above.
- I cut my own mats generally and trim the backing board
- Archival Lineco® Self-Adhesive Mounting Corners 3" for mounting the print to the backing board. I generally do not use hinging tape on the matboard since the piece is framed to start.
- Rubber bumpers on the bottom back of the frame to protect the wall.
In the photo below, you can see the off axis difference between regular glass and the matte acrylic.