The Care and Display of the Prints


Making the Print
Making 1
Making 2
Making 3
Making 4
 Print Care
Acceptance Mark
'Rio Grande Valley 2' detail

To ensure the long life of a print, ensure that it has no contact with any materials containing acid.

When you buy a print from me, you will receive printed guidelines (similar to the passages below) regarding displaying and caring for your print. You will also receive a warranty. You should follow my guidelines, or the warranty will be void.


Unpacking and Storage:
A print that you purchase from me will be protected by a sheet of acid-free interleaving paper and plastic and placed in a shipping box. Unpack and unroll the print. Allow it to resume its “flatness” by laying it flat, sandwiched between the sheets of acid-free paper it was rolled with. Weight if necessary. Store in like manner.


Matting and Framing Design:
In general, it is best to frame and mat anything simply. You will be looking at the print, not the frame.
The mat should probably be of a neutral color and not be too large for the image. A double mat can be very attractive and has the added advantage that the surface of the print is kept safely away from the surface of the glass more efficiently than with a single mat.
The frame should be simple. I like metal frames which come in a variety of sections and colors. A metal frame contains, obviously, no acidic wood and usually no glues as all the framing mechanisms are also metal
Keeping the print behind glass or acrylic is essential to ensure print longevity. It is best to use glass or acrylic with an ultra-violet inhibiting coating but I do not recommend glare-free glass as it  tends to dullen the appearance of the work behind it.


The longevity of your print will suffer if it is matted in such a way that it touches, or is even close to, any material containing acid. The only papers and boards that can be acid-free are cotton based - commonly called “cotton rag.” Wood is naturally acidic, so avoid wood pulp based materials. Wood-based board can be buffered with calcium carbonate so that it tests “acid-neutral.” This retards the aging process caused by  acid, but not as well as acid-free cotton rag board. Acid free conservation board tends to be more limited in color range, but, for example, Bainbridge produces a good selection in its Alpharag Artcare Museum Series. In addition to the mat board used, it is also important to use no glues, labels or mounting devices that can be harmful to the print.
If you are going to take the print to a framing shop, please make certain that they know what “archival” or “conservation” framing means. Most will be able to help you. Good matting will cost a little more, but not grossly so.

The danger of incorrect matting is not just that the print may fade after 10 years. Deterioration can be more rapid. For example, if you use the wrong mounting devices and the wrong glues, spotting and staining can occur in a short time.

© 2002-2013 Timothy Duffield