For many years I have put together frames for myself for both original and prints making sure all my materials are archival.
In the beginning I did not know what “archival” actually meant in terms of the art industry. It does not just mean putting financial documents away for x years in an archive! It means using materials that go the distance, as far as is possible, say 100 years or so or more? The problem with non archival material is that the substances leach into the paper and damages it beyond repair. The best way to frame art is to make sure all the materials used are archival meaning that nothing nasty will damage or discolour the paper and it will last the test of time looking as it did when it was first put into the frame.
My son’s drawing of the snail was framed when he was very young. I threw it into a cheap frame. The frame was not the problem as it was made of real wood and glass. The backing was cardboard giving no protection from the atmosphere. The tape which I stuck the artwork to the mount was masking tape, a poor choice as it has acidic chemicals in the glue. The back was not sealed with any tape which in some cases can lead to midges and so forth getting in behind the glass. And there is more. It was positioned in a kitchen with a low ceiling meaning it was affected by steam in the atmosphere. It was also near a window. The worst possible environment!
Tape damage and speckles on the back are from external substances, and except for the white stripe around the front the paper where the frame protected the paper it has been discoloured by the atmosphere and also the sun.
It is now a very faded snail picture. But hey ho. He is 21 now and now makes super fabulous art images. But we do still love the snail, faded but now framed properly.
It is best not to have your valued art (either by money or by sentiment) in view of the sun. If you really have to then splashing out on special glass which has UV protection would be a good idea. There are alot of MDF frames about now, so make sure the art is protected from uncovered areas of this acid substance perhaps with some archival tape, or a layer of paint.
Tape for holding art in place and sealing the back are available as archival materials specially for the purpose, mounts are available acid free, and provide a backing board made of a piece of archival mount board to separate the art from the frame back itself which may be made from inferior material.
Don’t forget if you are printing your own prints there is inkjet paper available which is archival too.
If you do not know what you are doing with all this, get your artist or your framer to do it for you and you will keep that lovely picture just as it was.
If you are local then look no further than Lesley, she can frame anything.