Picture Frame Glass Options for your Paper Collectibles April 23 2021

 When it comes to picture framing, many people focus on the frame

Regular glass vs Optium Museum Acrylic

design and overlook glazing — one of the most important decisions to make in framing. 

Choosing the right glass for your picture frame can impact how your photos look. Also, it determines how long your collectibles will last without deteriorating. 

There are different types of glass for picture framing to choose from, the focus here is finding the right option that compliments your picture. However, before settling for any kind, it will pay much to consider factors like cost, safety, artwork location, and photo size. 

This article provides you with in-depth knowledge about picture framing glass options and considerations you should make. 

Remember, you should choose what you are comfortable living with for a longer period, if not for as long as you have the collectibles.

Photo on the right is from a manufacturer, and compares regular glass (left side) with one type of high-end acrylic (right).

The different glass and acrylic types are listed below.



  1. Cost

Picture frame glass varies in price — impacted mainly by the size and material. A professional frame glass designer should provide you with invaluable advice on the right glass to choose depending on your budget and your collectibles' value. Plain glasses are the least expensive than ultraviolet (UV) protected glass though they differ in clarity and protection. 

However, don't compromise quality for cost when looking for the right picture frame glass option, for example we don't recommend to frame photos or printed collectibles with plain glass.

  1. Location of the Artwork

framed violin

Before settling for a specific glass type, consider the location of your artwork or paper collectibles.

Some conditions can be damaging to your artwork or paintings.

For instance, excessive exposure to UV rays can lead to fading, which gives the pictures or photos an unpleasant look.

If your preferred location is opposite a window, you may want to choose a glass that will eliminate reflections and provide 99% UV protection.



  1. The Size of Your Collectibles

The size of your artwork or paper collectibles determines the size

framed signed baseball balls

and type of glass you should use. Generally, a more petite picture frame than your picture size will cause the edges to wrap.

Worse still, if you choose a smaller glass size for your picture frame, the photos will be crumpled. Choose a glass size and type that will allow your collectibles to breathe and enhance your artwork. Otherwise, you will have pictures that look as if they have been boa constricted.

  1. Safety

Safety should also be a significant consideration. The glass type you choose should be of high quality with minimal breakage risk. Supposing you are framing your collectibles as a gift that will require to be shipped. You can go for 3mm or 4mm glass but remember this will add some weight to the picture. Seek professional's advice on whether to hang it on the wall or not.



  • Scratch Resistant

Pictures or photo frames that are hung or kept in a high traffic area are susceptible to scratches. However, scratches will not be a point of concern when you choose the right picture frame glass. Glass is more resistant to wear and tear than other frame types. It is also stronger, and the glazing could last for an extended period. Apart from scratches, the glass will protect your artwork from dust and UV rays.

  • Durability

While some picture frame options are more likely to bend and bow over time, the glass will not shift its form. Just like pure crystal, glass acts as a vapor barrier, so it will not absorb water nor warp on the wetter side of the frame. If you are preserving your paper collectibles to be passed on to your generations, go for glass options.

  • Easier to Clean

Picture frames are far beyond a protective place for storing your memorabilia. They also act as pieces of art that contribute to your overall home décor. That's why you should select a picture frame that will mesh well with your interior design. Also, you should choose a picture frame that is easy to clean and maintain. That's where the picture frame glass option comes in. As long as you use the suitable materials meant for cleaning glass, then it will be a walk in the park taking care of your photo frame. As compared to acrylic that needs to be washed with soap and water, you can use a microfiber cloth to dust the glass picture frame.

  • Less Expensive

If you are looking for a classical look of your paper collectibles, then go for the picture frame glass option without breaking a bank. Glass is cheaper than acrylic. But of course, the prices will vary depending on different options and configurations. Is price a major concern? Then choose glass for the large pieces of your artwork.

  • Protection from UV Rays

Of all external forces that could harm your valuable collectibles, light is the worst. Too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and an average lighting bulb can damage your print work over time. Certain glass types have ultraviolet protective coatings that will protect your picture frame. No matter what kind of art you are framing, whether a priceless artwork or something you consider less pricey, ensure they are not exposed to much light.

  • Anti-Glare

If you are going to hang or place your paper collectibles in a bright environment, you may want to consider the anti-glare glass option. Anti-reflective glass has a clear film that diffuses reflection, which makes your artwork more visible. For maximum protection and clarity, you can go for UV non-reflective glass, especially for valuable collectibles.



It's not enough to pick any glass out there for your picture frame. Choosing the right glass for your frame determines the outcome of your final product. While there is no one type for all, where you plan to put your artwork or collectibles is a critical factor to consider. Did you know that there are many different types of picture framing glass? The trick lies in identifying the ideal option for your work.

The right protection and display properties are a key point, to begin with when choosing from the several and readily available choices out there. Please understand that most of the available types work well with custom framing or some specific anti-reflective coatings.

Let's take a look at the most commonly available picture framing glass.

(1) Clear Float Glass (UV blocking 45%, light transmission 90%, reflection 8%)

Due to its easy availability, this is the most common framing glass, especially in ready-made frames. You will easily find these frames in retail shops and online. This type of glass offers protection from scratches and dust only. It will not protect your collectibles from ultra-violet rays (UV). Glass framing experts highly recommend using this type of glass for collectibles or artwork of little value and importance or simple displays.

Clear Float GlassClear float glass


(2) UV Conservation or Premium Clear Glass (UV blocking 99%, light transmission 89%, reflection 8%) 

For glass picture frame lovers, this type cuts out about 99 percent UV light from your work. This is one of the best options if you want to protect your high-value collectibles or art from fading caused by light damage.

Besides protection from light damage, clear conservation UV glass enhances the aesthetic features of your artwork. It gives it a matte-like completion scattering light minimizing unwanted glare.



1 vs 2 Clear Float Glass vs Premium Clear Glass

 Clear Float Glass (1) vs Ultra Clear Float Glass (2)

(3) Non-Reflective Glass (UV blocking 99%, light transmission 90%, reflection 8%)

This type of glass, also known as anti-glare, is made with a clear film to diffuse reflection. The non-reflective property makes your collectibles visible even when hung or exposed to high lighting. However, non-reflective glass provides no UV light protection, so your work is vulnerable to light fading.

Note that this glass type is not recommended when working with pictures or other art requiring the display of fine details. It would be best to use it for less valuable collectibles on walls with high light exposure or reflection.

Non-reflective glass vs clear glass

(3) Non-reflective glass vs (1) clear glass


(4) UV Non-Reflective Glass (UV blocking 78%, light transmission 96+%, reflection under 1%)

While it is closely similar to UV Conservation Clear Glass, this glass type has additional non-reflective features for diffusing reflection — this erases any confusion. For your highly valued or irreplaceable collectibles or artwork, UV non-reflective glass is highly preferable.

UV Conservation vs Museum Glass vs UV Non-reflective glass

(2) UV Conservation vs (5) Museum Glass vs (4) UV Non-reflective glass 


(5) Museum Glass (UV blocking 99%, light transmission 96+%, reflection under 1%)

Museum glass is the best quality glass available to protect your unique and priceless diplomas, art, limited edition prints, and other valuable collectibles. It offers unmatched protection and clarity, blocking up to 99 percent UV light with less than 1percent reflection. The non-reflection quality makes it almost invisible. This picture frame glass has the highest contrast and brightness levels, improved rigidity and strength due to its 2.5mm thickness. Additionally, the glass has an optical coating enhancing transmission for true color. Museum glass is highly recommended for all valuable and irreplaceable collectibles.

Museum GlassMuseum glass


(6) UltraVue Glass (UV blocking 99%, light transmission 98+%, reflection under 1%)

Just like the museum glass, this type gives clear color transmission with nearly an invisible non-reflective surface. However, it is not ideal for your original or valuable artworks. This is because it filters only about 70 percent of ultraviolet light. But if you are looking to protect less expensive works of art, they can be favorable. UltraVue glass will also give you bright colors and contrasts for better clarity.

There is also a similar glass called BetterVue, a bit more durable than the UltraVue glass, but Ultravue offers a premium view.

Clear float glass vs UltraVue glass

(1) Clear float glass vs (6) UltraVue glass 


These below are the names of the different types, you will find in the market these or similar under different brand names. Always ask for their UV protection, static electricity problems, reflection, transparency or light transmission, durability and cost before you make a decision.

The information below should help you.

(1) Acrylic (Plexiglass) / Regular Acrylic (UV protection under 40%)

Acrylic, or perspex, as it's commonly known, is a non-reflective suitable alternative to glass.

It provides a shatterproof and lightweight option. Unfortunately, just like basic clear and non-reflective glass, it offers little ultraviolet protection qualities. Due to the static electric charge in acrylic, it is not the best when dealing with charcoals or pastels. Dust can stick to such surfaces detracting the clarity of the image.

Unless you feel safe with your collectibles on regular glass, acrylic is suitable for unsafe areas and those oversized frames. Here are some of the most commonly used acrylic types.

(2) Optium Acrylic (UV protection 93%)

For anti-reflective and anti-static protection, this is one of the best designs. It is an almost invisible product providing contrast and clarity of colors. These features make it perfect for collectibles with fine details.

Optium acrylic has shatter-resistance quality preventing damage to your works of art. If you are also looking for a degree of ultraviolet protection, it offers up to 93 percent of UV light protection, making it suitable for areas with moderate sunlight exposure.

(3) Optium Museum Acrylic (UV protection 99%)

This state-of-the-art design comes with a boatload of quality features, making it one of the top-best options. With 99 percent UV protection, shatterproof, scratch-resistant, anti-static, and non-reflective coating, it is used by the world's most prominent museums.

Optium Museum Acrylic

You don't have to worry about your artwork if you live in earthquake-prone regions since this material will provide the best protection from damage. Its scratch and shatter-resistant capacity make it ideal for displaying your works in homes with small children and for traveling exhibits.

(4) Conservation Reflection Control Acrylic (UV protection 99%)

Its unique design provides 99 percent ultraviolet control and a significant reduction of glare. It is perfect for rooms with extreme uncontrolled light. The material is a combination of high-quality conservation and anti-glare reflection acrylic product offering high-level features. Besides UV control, it is also shatterproof, making it excellent for high-traffic regions, earthquake-prone areas, and extra-large artworks.

Different artworks demand a befitting picture frame. Unless you want to keep seeing your reflection in your works of art, then stick to the ordinary glass providing only dust and scratch protection. Otherwise, take time to determine what you want out of your display, and give it the protection, durability, and value it deserves. If you are familiar with picture framing, you already know that durability and value are some of the top key factors to consider.

regular acrylic vs optium museum acrylic non-glare
Regular acrylic vs Optium museum acrylic non-glare



Krylon K01305 Gallery Series Artist and Clear Coatings Aerosol, 11-Ounce, UV-Resistant Clear Gloss

You can always treat regular materials (glass, acrylic) with UV-resistant clear acrylic coating, which comes in a spray, such as this one sold by Amazon.

But keep in mint it won´t look the same as an even, manufacturer-made coating, and maybe not as safe. You can apply this just to the areas in the acrylic or glass where the ink (signature) is.


Make no mistake. Buying a high-level and quality picture framing glass will not translate to longevity and value if proper care is not practiced. Depending on the material used in the glass picture frame, there are varying maintenance requirements needed. Some require you avoid getting the frames wet and use proper hanging or mounting hardware to prevent bowing.

Also, how you hang your picture glass frame impacts its durability and maintenance. But let's look at some basic ways to take care of your picture frame glass.

  • Use quality cover

Where possible, always go for top-quality glass to prevent common damages such as scratches and shattering.

  • Pick a secure display location

Your works of art, especially the irreplaceable pieces, should be highly secured. It's essential to give careful thought when choosing where to place or display your work. Avoid placing your glass picture frame near windows and doors where they are exposed to direct sunlight.

It doesn't matter how protective your glass cover is, but placing your collectibles where there is direct sunlight for extended periods, such as near doors and windows, will harm your artwork over time. Note that lighting is necessary to enjoy your photographs and other prints. But avoid direct sunlight and go for soft diffusing light bulbs. Such lighting is preferable since some bulbs emit heat that may damage your work.

Consider locations with well-balanced natural lighting without harmful exposure to elements like UV rays. Also, it would help if you were careful with your collectibles in high humidity and heat areas like near bathrooms, kitchen, and fireplaces. The heat and humidity from these places can wreak havoc on your work from prolonged exposure. High humidity and changing temperatures can leave your frame susceptible to warping, which may cause cracks on the glass.

  • Cleaning

cleaning a picture frame glass

Regular dusting and wiping prevent dust build-up, but it is vital to avoid scratches or breaking while cleaning. When it comes to glass cleaning, you should use cleaning spray to remove dirt, smudges, and other unwanted streaks easily but make sure it is ammonia-free. Cleaning agents or spray with ammonia can be corrosive and also cause discoloration.

Glass may be fragile, but you can clean it with about any soft material like a sponge, paper towel, light cloth, and others. However, for acrylic, a microfiber cloth material or plastic cleaners is recommended. This is because some acrylic easily scratches than glass.

For healthy and safety measures, remove the frame from the wall or where mounted to reduce the risk of falling and shattering. If you have to take the glass out of the frame, watch out for sharp corners to avoid cuts or chipping.

In most cases, with picture frame glass, you will only need to clean the front where dust and other dirt gather the most. Sometimes dust and other particles may build on your frame due to static charge even after cleaning. In such situations, don't wipe the glass dry. Leave it moist and let it air dry.

However, for glass types where this is not possible, wipe it dry and then use an anti-static brush to remove the static charge.



Which Picture frame glass option is right for your paper collectibles depends on personal preference, budget and your specific needs (amount of light your frames will receive, your decor, etc).

Make sure the material you choose offers clarity even of your old newspapers. Should you have a frame that complements your interior design? That's for you to decide depending on your taste and preferences. Picture frames are reasonably low maintenance. Keeping them in good condition for a long time requires adherence to the above tips and others recommended by experts.

To complete your training, we recommend you watch a framing professional talk about framing glass options and framing in general:

We truly hope we provided some useful information in making those decisions.

Tamino Autographs



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