Reflections on what kind of glass to frame with

How do you know what kind of glass to frame with

We hear this often and we’re here to help! So, how do you know what kind of glass to frame with?

Or should you even use glass?

Is it half full or half empty? Answer: yes.

Let’s talk about the times you might choose not to use glass, first. Here’s a hint: Glass can be used to protect nearly anything!

  1. When you have a varnished oil painting, you might choose not to use glass – although properly used glass can extend the life of the painting by decades!
  2. When you frame something durable enough to withstand dust, bugs, UV and the elements, you might not use glass For instance, metal, stone or tile.
  3. Sometimes textile artists will decide not to use glass because the textile might have usefulness outside a frame. Glass can help protect these items too! It’s a matter of personal choice to not use glass in these cases.

One of the most common misconceptions in framing today is that picture framing glass is the
 same as any other window glass. While they may look the same, there are some 
major differences to consider, such as reflection, clarity, weight, and UV protection.

Some qualities common to all picture framing glass (regardless of how reflective) are:

  • It’s thinner than window glass, which makes it lighter. This is so that the completed picture frame is not excessively heavy.
  • It’s pre-cleaned and inspected from the factory, so there is no powdery residue on it.
  • Picture glass is checked for flaws, such as scratches, roller marks, inclusions, and bubbles. Glass that doesn’t meet our exacting standards will not be used for picture framing.
  • It’s iron reduced, so it doesn’t look as green as plain window glass.

Now for the different types of finishes! (You science-types will love this!)

how do I choose what kind of glass to frame with?

  • Conservation Clear:  Reflective, this is a clear glass with a special coating on one side designed to filter 98% of harmful UV light. This is the most economic choice while still maintaining conservation quality.


  • Conservation Non-glare: This is an etched glass with a special coating on one side designed to filter 98% of harmful UV light. Non-glare finishes appear softly etched and muted. Good where reflection control is necessary, and a diffused appearance is desirable. Non-glare glass isn’t appropriate if there’s any space between it and the object being framed because it looks blurry. Kinda like frosted glass on shower windows.

  • Museum: When nothing but the best will do! Museum glass is anti-reflective and filters 98% of harmful UV light. This glass is the clearest and least reflective glass we offer. It’s “water white”, and has no greenish hue. Beautiful!

  • Acrylic (Plexiglas): We use acrylic in framing when shatter-proof glazing is called for. It’s also lighter than any type of glass so if weight is a concern, acrylic is the appropriate choice. We only use the best grade of acrylic in our frames. It looks like glass, doesn’t yellow, and doesn’t scratch easily. Available in Regular, Non-Glare, and Anti-reflective finishes.

Glass is an important part of your frame! If it’s worth it to frame it, we strongly recommend using UV filtering glass as part of its preservation! Along with proper matting, backing, and handling, UV filtering glass is integral to the lifespan of your framed artwork, heirloom or collectible.

We hope this helped you better understand your choices when it comes to what kind of glass to frame with!

Have a fantastic day!

All my best,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *