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220 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 431-9588
What's New At Flax:  Picture Framing Explained
Every month, this is the place to look for helpful ideas about picture framing, picture hanging and other related topics.

Framing with anti-reflective glass: All the options explained

We ran across a very interesting framing project on the Tru-Vue Glass's website that showed how the author designed a very cool shadowbox frame with multiple layers of anti-reflective glass and plexiglass, where coins were being displayed, floating at different depths. It pointed out how you can frame 3-D objects floating at multiple depths to achieve a much more visually interesting display.

To read the article in depth, go to:

Below are some images from the article showing the overall frame, a closeup of the coins floating on different glass layers and a cross section schematic of how it was designed:

Floating Coin Shadowbox frame
closeup of floating coins on anti-reflective glass
cross section of 3-d coin shadowbox
Images shown courtesy of the author, David Lantrip, and the Tru-Vue Glass Company.
To read the full article about this project, go to:

Glass and Plexiglass Options
Most types of glass can be divided into two basic categories: Reflective and Anti-reflective. Reflective is what you find in all ready-made, off-the-shelf picture frames. You can see yourself in the reflection on it. Anti-reflective and Reflection Control (also called Non-glare) have a different surface treatment that cuts down or nearly eliminates reflection, though they achieve it in different ways.

Reflection control has an etched surface (a frosted look) that cuts down on light reflection. What it also does is soften the sharpness of the lines in the artwork and dulls the colors a bit. We have found that it works well on large pieces of art where the details are not small. Also, if you have a lot of windows, sometimes it is better to use Reflection Control Glass or P99 acrylic (non-glare plexiglass) to cut down the glare. Where you have controlled lighting and not a lot of direct sunlight on your art, Anti-Reflective glass is superior. Under those circumstances, it is nearly invisible.

Tru-Vue anti-reflective glass comes in 3 different categories:  Museum Glass (99% u/v protection), AR Glass (78% u/v protection) and Ultra-Vu (70% u/v protection). Museum is the most expensive and Ultra-Vu is the least. While they all look the same, the u/v protection factor needs to be considered relative to the value of the piece being framed or its sensitivity to fading. Remember: once your artwork has faded, you cannot fix it.

They also manufacture an anti-reflective plexiglass called Optium Museum Acrylic. This amazing product has every feature you could want in a glazing medium. It is anti-reflective, 99% u/v filtering, scuff resistant (plexi, normally, scratches more easily than glass) and anti-static (most plexi has an electrostatic charge). It, also weighs about 60% of what glass weighs and is shatter resistant. So, if you have a large, important work of art that needs to be under a glazing medium, Optium is the best choice if it is in the budget.

Our basic glass is known as Conservation Clear. It is normally reflective, but has a 99% u/v filter built into it and costs less than the anti-reflective glasses. It is also available in plexiglass form (called OP3) as well as U/V filtering Non-glare (called OP3-P99). And, yes, we still carry plain glass (only filters 40% of u/v) and regular, clear plexiglass (no u/v protection). They should only be considered if the budget won't support the more protective glazing mediums.

Our framers will be sure to recommend the most appropriate glazing for your framing project. Feel free to ask to see a sample of whatever they are recommending.
Something else to consider, while selecting your matting: Let us show you what a fillet does to supercharge the visual appeal of your framed art.

Framing with "Fillets" (Demystified)

A "fillet" (the letter "t" is pronounced, so it does not sound like "fillay") is a miniature frame that can be inserted into the opening of a picture mat or attached to the lip of a frame to provide additional decoration and accent. When being added to a mat, the mat gets a reverse bevel on the opening so that fillet can be attached directly to the mat opening without seeing the white line that appears on the mat opening from the normal 45 degree bevel that is cut into it. Fillets come in all manner of colors and finishes. The sample photo, below, shows a natural wood colored fillet surrounding the opening of the medal. The fillet echoes he frame.

frame with fillet
The sample, below, of a retirement frame for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago shows a fillet stacked on the inside edge of the frame. It breaks up the black frame and black linen mat continuum and gives it an extra special enhancement, making it look richer. We have erased the name of the retiree to protect their privacy (that is the white rectangle you see at the top of the etched plate):
Federal Reserve Retirement Frame
Ask our framing team to show you what a fillet looks like and what it can do to enhance your framing.

We offer a no-cost, no-obligation design consultation. Furthermore, we do not require payment for the whole thing up front (usually, a 50% deposit is asked for) and we offer a 3% discount if you pay by cash (so we don't have to pay the banks 3% to process our transactions. You get to pocket the 3%!).

We make it simple to get your things framed!

Got questions? Call us at 312-431-9588 during our hours 9-5:30 Monday through Friday, 10-5 Saturday. We are there for you 6 days a week to help you with your framing projects. Or: you can either email us at: or go to our Contact Us page.