Frame It: Five Things To Know About Conservation Framing


So you have something valuable to frame? Whether it’s historical, collectible or sentimental, it’s often said the best way to preserve your art is to keep it wrapped flat in acid free materials and stored in a dark place. 

But that’s no way for you or your artwork to live. Conservation framing is a term used to describe methods and materials used to ensure the object being framed is protected from harmful environmental factors. Below, we’ll walk you through five key things you need to know about this special process. 

1. You may want a tan, but your art doesn’t. Glass selection is incredibly important in preservation framing as you need a glazing that filters out harmful UV rays. UV acrylic is another great option for larger pieces or when you’ll be displaying the piece in a high traffic or public area. UV coated materials are also available with anti-reflective coatings so you’ll only see the beautiful work, not a distracting glare. 

2. What is old can be new again. Before you frame, you’ll want to give older pieces new life by allowing a professional restorer to treat it. From canvases and paper to textiles and photographs, an expert conservationist can repair signs of age and wear and tear. 

3. Materials matter. All conservation framing should use archival materials. From 100% acid free cotton rag mat boards to alkaline buffered wood pulp, the materials used are the first line of defense against potential damage.

4. Design for the artwork, not for the room. If this is something you intend to keep forever and even pass down generations, this is especially crucial. Your framer should help you consider the room’s decor, but ultimately design to what works best for the art itself. 

5. Most importantly, trust matters. There are so many nuances and evolving techniques when it comes to conservation framing. So perhaps the most important thing to know is that you need to put your trust in a seasoned framer to guide you through the process - from how to hinge properly to selecting the right backing to ensuring that any process used is reversible.

Our framing consultants have art backgrounds and an average of ten years of experience in the industry. This isn't a job to them, it's a profession and a passion.

Here’s just a few of the items we’ve been fortunate enough to help preserve forever: 

Have something you want to preserve? Let us know, we’d love to help. 

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

From the extraordinary to the quirky, we’re taking a look at some of our most unique framing projects and the stories behind them.

We’re all about celebrating love in its many forms and there’s no better holiday to do that on than Valentine’s Day. Trust us, we’ve seen it all over the last 39 years - from framing a positive pregnancy test to a completed Scrabble game. But this year, we’re rounding up just a few of our favorites to inspire ideas - whether you’re a newlywed looking to celebrate that special day or in search of a laugh out loud moment for your Valentine.



Newlyweds Logan and Jaime took advantage of one of our many wedding framing options, electing to frame the invitation from their January wedding by floating the two-part invite on textured linen matting in a custom lacquer frame. Beyond invitations, our framers have helped couples celebrate a multitude of other love declarations, including first date movie ticket stubs and corks from celebratory engagement wine and champagne bottles. And for the truly committed spouse, there’s always wedding dress framing.



This couple found an Etsy artist to create a custom embroidered portrait incorporating a motif that they used throughout their wedding. Using a warm grey Italian veneered frame with silver accent, they created a romantic memento that doesn’t overtly scream wedding and lets their personalities shine through. Not to mention just being a cool piece of art. 


Those hilarious text or chat exchanges you don’t ever want to delete? Or (especially in the smartphone era) your first date planning? Now you can preserve it forever. Whether for your favorite #galentine, best friend or your significant other, this is both a playful and thoughtful way to show just how much you value them.

What's not to love? Contact us today for a quote or ask us how to turn your romantic keepsake into a Valentine's Day "wow" moment. 

Outside the GLASS: Framing a one-of-a-kind sculpture

When you first think of framed artwork, you probably imagine something flat and paper; like fancy framed paintings in a gallery or a movie poster at a theatre. But the expert framers here at Artists Frame Service are able to think “outside the glass” and also showcase three-dimensional objects in truly fantastic ways.

This was the case when Jennifer brought in her beautiful snare wire art to be framed. This unique sculpture was created at the Iganyana, or Painted Dog Art Center in Dete, Zimbabwe. They create these sculptures by removing poaching wires meant for Painted Dogs and “turn the original malicious intentions to good ones”. Their efforts simultaneously help protect the endangered species, educate the public about the issue through art, and provide financial benefit to the artisans who make the beautiful sculptures. 

Such a special piece of art demanded an equally special frame, which made our made in house acrylic line, Prisma an easy choice. Our master framer Kristin helped Jessica pick a Vanilla and Nutmeg frame in a sanded finish that really brings out the copper tones in the wire sculpture. Contrasting that, the background for the sculpture is a reflective dark chocolate that sets off the copper wires and truly adds to the viewing experience of the piece.  

We delivered and installed the final product and Jennifer was overjoyed with the results. Framing our customers’ most treasured items in a way that puts their unique qualities on display is what we strive to do with every single project. So no matter the depth of what you want to frame, nothing we do here at Artists Frame Service is ever one-dimensional. 

Mirror Framing: A Reflection on Getting the Reflection Just Right

You already know that Artists Frame Service is the country's largest custom picture framing store, but you might not know that we frame more than just art. From hinged shadowboxes and wedding dresses to sports jerseys and keepsakes, there’s almost no limit to what we can frame. But what is one of the most overlooked, yet jaw-dropping and immensely practical items you could possibly hang in your space? A custom framed mirror. And as Dr. Phil so wisely says, "It's hard to see your own face without a mirror".

Iron and Bronze “Stonehenge” frame with “Bramble” accent and beveled mirror

Iron and Bronze “Stonehenge” frame with “Bramble” accent and beveled mirror

Framed mirrors provide an instant visual impact to any space and any décor. Just like we have a variety of options for our framed art, a framed mirror can be made with a traditional beveled edge or sleek and modern flat glass. You also have the choice between clear or vintage and distressed finishes for the mirror glass. Custom framed mirrors can be made from any of our 1000 stock frames and can be ready in as little as one week. And when it is ready, our expert team of installers will hang your framed mirror in the perfect spot.

Our installers measure and prep the wall for the mirror. MEasure twice, hammer once!

Our installers measure and prep the wall for the mirror. MEasure twice, hammer once!

A cleat bar IS INSTALLED TO hold the extra weight of the mirror.

A cleat bar IS INSTALLED TO hold the extra weight of the mirror.

Recently, our customers ordered a stunning framed mirror to go over the mantle in their living room. They have a gorgeous view out the window looking south on Lincoln Park and Lake Shore Drive and were hoping to capture some of the light and color in the mirror to bring the lakefront indoors.



Based off of pictures the client provided of the space, we chose a chunky modern profile paired with a warm richly-textured accent frame. The colors work well with the décor and bring a more modern look while not clashing with their vintage fireplace. The frame was made to fit perfectly within a specific area on the wall bordered by the existing architectural moulding. 

the mirror is installed at an angle to bring the beautiful outside in.

the mirror is installed at an angle to bring the beautiful outside in.

After seeing it installed, we realized that the mirror was reflecting the ceiling rather than the view. So, we uninstalled the framed mirror, brought it back to the showroom, and added on a custom backing that allows the mirror to tilt down at an angle. We re-installed the mirror in the same place, with added support, and made a final adjustment by lowering it down an inch and a half to make absolutely sure that the clients weren’t just satisfied, they were thrilled.

The fantastic final result.

The fantastic final result.

For inspiration to design your own custom mirror frame for your living room, bathroom, bedroom, or even your office, check out our mirror framing page to see photos of other framed mirrors we’ve created. If you have questions about custom mirror framing or any of the other services we provide at Artists Frame Service, be sure to contact us