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How To Create A Gallery Look

Written by The Plastic People
16/01/2018 10:50:36

Create A Gallery look with Acrylic Frames

If you have artwork and photographs to display and are a fan of clean, modern design, then chances are you'll love this style of framing. Made from crystal clear acrylic, these frames appear to float and give any space that sleek, art gallery feel.  Even better, the look is surprisingly easy to create and delivers a high end impression at a low end price - we'll show you how: 

Acrylic Frames in Hotel

All you need are  2 pieces of clear acrylic sheet cut to the size you'd like for your frame, some fixings and a drill.  If that puts you off, our friendly team supply acrylic floating frames ready cut, drilled and with stand off fixings: see our popular sizes or order your bespoke size via our website.  Otherwise, read on for how to create a floating frame yourself.

How to create your floating frame: 

1. Consider your border and fixings 
Take a look at your artwork and decide whether you'd like a frame with a border or whether you'd like the artwork to run right to the edge of your floating frame.   Because your floating frame needs to fix to the wall, take some time to decide where you would like your wall fixings to sit on your frame and how this looks with your artwork. You can fix your frame flat to the wall with screws or you can use fixings like in the picture below which will make your artwork appear to 'stand-off' the wall. Whichever fixings you choose, measure in from each corner of the frame size you'd like to decide where your frame fixings will go. 

2. Choose acrylic for your frame
Decide how thick you'd like your frame and whether to buy your 2 pieces of acrylic with fixing holes ready drilled in place.  If you're going to drill your acrylic yourself, you'll need to mark on your acrylic where your fixings will go.  Before you drill, secure your two acrylic sheets together (clamp the corners) and position over the edge of your work surface.  Now drill where you have marked your screw hole to be through both sheets of acrylic.  Repeat until you have drilled screw holes in all corners.

Drilling acrylic can be tricky.  We think it is helpful to think of it as melting your way through the acrylic sheet rather than drilling.  Get your hole started by drilling a little bit into the acrylic then switch the drill into reverse and press down to complete the hole.  Keep switching to bigger and bigger drill bits until you have the right hole size drilled for your fixings. If you're unsure about drilling holes into acrylic, buy your acrylic cut to size with holes already drilled in. We can do this for you.

3. Add your artwork to your frame
Keep the protective film on your acrylic frame while you add your artwork to you frame. Stick it in place using conservation, acid-free tape as this won't damage artwork over time.  When your artwork is in place, cover it over with your 2nd piece of acrylic to 'sandwich' it in place.

4. Hanging your floating frame:
When you're ready to hang your frame in your chosen spot , hold one of your fixings flush with the wall and carefully drill the screw into the wall using a drill with a hex bit.  We use fixings like these for our acrylic frames:

Fixing Acrylic Frames to Walls
Wall fixings like these will make your acrylic frame stand away from the wall
Hold your fixing on the opposite corner up against the wall. Place a level on top of the frame to ensure it’s straight.  Once the frame is level, drill the second screw into the wall. Finish off  by drilling the bottom screws into the wall.
If you'd like help or advice about framing with acrylic, please don't hesitate to contact our friendly team at the Plastic People.

How does acrylic compare to glass for framing ?
For picture framing glass and acrylic are the two most popular choices.  They are both often chosen for this same task yet glass and acrylic have different properties with pros and cons to them both.  Depending on the situation one may be preferred over the other.  Typically, acrylic is chosen as a preferred option when durability, cleanliness and weight are important factors.

Undoubtedly the biggest benefits of acrylic to picture framers’ are its strength and durability.  Compared to glass acrylic is incredibly lightweight yet much, much stronger.  For large pieces of artwork, where glass can be dangerous to handle (threatening to flex and snap) as well as dangerously heavy (causing frames to bow), acrylic is an exceptional choice.

Artwork protected with acrylic
Coldplay used acrylic for their artwork, above, which travelled with them on their 2016 world tour

The next biggest reason is likely financial. For artworks which are likely to be moved around a lot and especially for pieces that will be shipped, acrylic is a sensible financial decision given the significant loss of value any damage will create.  Couriers transporting artwork which becomes damaged typically only the value of the items used to create the work; (ie, the paint, the paper and the glass) rather than the full market value of the artwork. Acrylic helps sidestep this discrepancy and potential disaster.

However, despite being stronger and more durable, acrylic is also more fragile than glass in that it is easily scratched. In the first instance, acrylic should be supplied with a plastic film on both its sides so when this is peeled away, the acrylic is completely perfect compared to glass which is usually dirty and dusty when bought, requiring meticulous cleaning.  To prevent scratching, acrylic should only ever be cleaned with a soft cotton cloth and warm soapy water or a specialist acrylic cleaner like Vuplex (as opposed to a glass cleaning product).  If acrylic does scratch, all is not lost – fine scratches can be buffed out by hand or by using a scratch removing product like Xerapol.

For picture framers’ clarity is key. At 3mm thick, acrylic and glass are indistinguishable in frames.  However, anyone who has ever handled a glazed piece and loaded it into a frame to discover dust trapped on the glazing will understand the frustration of trying to remove static build up (the cause of clinging dust and lint!) which happens with both glass and acrylic

There are ways to eliminate it.  With glass, we understand that leaving glass to dry on its own rather than wiping it dry helps (though we are not glass experts, only plastic!)  Another option as is brushing the glass once with an anti-static brush (before loading the glass into the frame.)  It’s much the same with acrylic – brush the acrylic sheet with an anti-static brush after peeling the protective film off.

When it comes to cutting, glass beats acrylic as it is easier to cut. However, there is always an option to buy acrylic cut ready to the size you require.  Because it is super strong, it can be delivered out to you safely.

For any further advice or information, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team of experts.

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