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FRAMING SPACERS -- ALL IN STOCK FOR SAME-DAY SHIPMENT !

FRAMING ART WITHOUT USING A MATBOARD?  FRAMING SPACERS ARE THE ANSWER!  IDEAL FOR ORIGINAL SOFT PASTEL PAINTINGS.  SEPARATE ARTWORK FROM ITS FRAME'S GLAZING (GLASS, ETC.) USING ART SPACERS.  Scroll down for an in-depth article about the use of framing spacers to frame soft pastel paintings and other artwork.  See also the tools and supplies page for more useful related items.

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        NO artwork or photographs should EVER be framed in direct contact with the frame's glazing (glass or acrylic "plexi-glass").  Doing so WILL DAMAGE the artwork; it's only a matter of time.  Lack of an airspace between any artwork and a frame's glazing contributes to buckling and mold among other problems because moisture is trapped directly against the artwork, and because changes in temperature and humidity are transferred directly and unevenly to the artwork's surface.  A small investment in framing spacers to complete your framing project correctly is money well spent, particularly for original artwork.

        framing spacers serve a variety of functions, but their primary function is to separate artwork from the glass of its frame.  ArtRight.com offers two types of framing spacers; Framespace® and Econospace® .  Unlike the spacers sold by many frame shops, all spacers sold by ArtRight.com are made of neutral pH materials.  Of all frame spacer products on the market, Framespace® and Econospace® are BY FAR the best.  Most Framespace® is designed for use with standard "single strength" glass.  Some Framespace® is also available for use with 2mm "picture" glass and 1/8" acrylic.

        Both types of spacers are available in individual 5 ft. lengths and full bundles.  Framespace can also be ordered custom-cut to fit your picture frame.

ANY SPACER CAN BE USED IN VIRTUALLY ANY FRAME, WHEN USED WITH "ARTIST TAPE" AND THE APPROPRIATE "OFFSET MOUNTING CLIPS" AS RECOMMENDED.  QUESTIONS?  EMAIL FOR ASSISTANCE.
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FRAMESPACE® SPACERS
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ECONOSPACE® SPACERS
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NEW!!  3/32" ACRYLIC "PLEXI-GLASS"

Fits standard "single strength" Framespace® framing spacers.  NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONLY $5.09/ft2 ($7.99/ft2 for non-glare)!!!  Email to order.

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Framing Spacers-
Here are some additional methods and pointers that are helpful with the issues discussed below:

1—Using any desired number of mats, simply install a spacer between the artwork and mat board. The spacer should be hidden under the mat board, usually about a half-inch to an inch outside of its bevel cut. The spacer should also of course be made of neutral pH materials. For this, you can use strips of a conservation-grade mat board together with a neutral-pH tape (such as “artist’s tape”) or acid-free ATG (“double sided tape”).  It is best to use strips of acid-free foam-core board for this application. 

When this method is employed, any pastel particles coming loose from a soft pastel painting will fall behind the mat, instead of in front of the mat where they will be visible.
A similar effect could be realized by using a double mat, the bottom mat having a larger opening than the top mat. This is really only suitable for very small pieces, however, as it doesn’t provide much of an airspace between the artwork and glazing.

2—To frame a soft pastel painting with no mat as is often preferred, a framing spacer can be attached directly to the glass. The problem with this, however, is that most framing spacers rely upon an adhesive. In time, adhesives fail, allowing the spacers to fall out of position in their frame. There is one framing spacer available that is mechanically permanent, as it clips securely to the edge of a frame’s glass. This spacer is made of a neutral pH material, and available in a variety of colors (clear, black and white) and sizes which allow airspaces of up to 3/4 inch. Click here for more information: http://www.artright.com/Framespace.htm.  These spacers are also available here in less-than-bundle quantities along with useful tools to facilitate their use.  This is the best product of its type available on the market.

Because these spacers are only 3/16” wide, any dust that falls from the painting’s surface will fall a bit below the edge of the frame’s rabbet out of sight.

When installing these (or any) spacers, it is best to also seal the entire artwork package together using “artist’s tape”. This is a paper tape which is also used for masking on artists’ canvasses as it is neutral pH and doesn’t leave a residue when removed. Once the package is assembled, apply the tape to its side edges and wrap it around to the backing board. When the entire artwork package of the glazing, spacers, artwork and backing board (for works on paper) is thus sealed together, it can easily be popped in and out of frames at will. More importantly, changes in the temperature and humidity of the artwork’s environment are transferred more slowly to the artwork’s support (such as pastel paper). With this protection, changes which would otherwise damage the artwork by causing buckling, mold and other problems are minimized. Also, air flow in and out of the artwork package is minimized. Over time, such airflow would otherwise do two things: 1—draw foreign dust into contact with the artwork’s surface, and 2—erode the surface of a soft pastel painting. While this may seem trivial, consider the following concept:

As the artwork’s backing board expands and contracts when a frame is moved or with changes in temperature, humidity and barometric pressure, it acts as the diaphragm of a pump. Such action draws air in and out of the artwork package which can disturb delicate surfaces such as those of soft pastel paintings, or introduce foreign particles and contaminants. Another advantage of this technique is that any loose particles from the edges of the backing board, mat board, etc. of an artwork package will most likely be trapped by the tape’s adhesive.

When using any type of framing spacer, artwork on paper larger than 11 x 14 inches or so should be “hinged” to its backing board. Otherwise, the artwork can sag in its frame over time, coming into contact with the glass at the bottom of the frame. Paper artwork can be hinged to a backing board with a variety of materials including artist’s tapelinen hinging tape, or Japanese rice-paper with wheat-starch paste.  For conservation framing of valuable original artwork, Nori® wheat starch paste (discontinued) or other combinations of wheat-starch paste and hinging paper offer the safest form of hinging.  While this paste is of course of neutral pH, it's greatest advantage is that it can be thoroughly removed in the years to come without leaving a residue on the piece of artwork.  The rice-paper hinging material is preferred by conservators because it will tear before the artwork under duress.  Many framers use a water-gummed linen tape that is also removable with water, however this tape is very strong and will never tear before the artwork does.

Also, however paper artwork is framed, it should never be squeezed too tightly into the frame. When this is done, the paper is not allowed to expand and contract freely. During changes in temperature and humidity, such confinement leads to buckling just as would contact with the frame’s glass.

Just as when framing paintings on canvas, you will probably more often than not find that the frame’s rabbet isn’t deep enough to accommodate the artwork package. When this occurs, “offset clips” (also called "z-clips") should be used to mount the artwork to the frame. These are now available in 7 sizes: 1/8”, 1/4", 3/16”, 1/2", 3/4", 1", and 1-1/4", and usually solve the problem. Incidentally, this leads to another reason for sealing the artwork package with tape. If offset clips are required and the package is not sealed thusly, light can show through from the back of the framed painting which may appear a bit irregular and unsightly, often revealing the framing hardware from the frame's front side.  Another way to avoid this problem is by using an opaque spacer rather than a clear one. These spacers are available in clear, black and white.  For this reason, black spacers are generally the most invisible in a frame under any circumstance.

If framed and displayed properly, a soft pastel painting can outlast any executed with oil on canvas or other media. Framespace® clip-on spacers offer the best permanent, easy and cost-effective solution to ensure the preservation of any framed artwork on paper.
 

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