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Picture Framing and Art Preservation/Is it better to frame or laminate prints?


I have just bought a whole bunch of digital prints at an expo and I am wondering what is the best way to preserve them for a long time. I have heard that framing is better, but it could be expensive and you may not always find the size to fit your print. I have also heard that laminating works just as well as framing, but cheaper. However, if you do it wrong or you take it to a bad company to laminate it, it could cause as much or more damage than if you just left it alone. What should I do: frame or laminate? If you say laminate, could you recommend a place to does a great job at it since I would like to not do it myself? If you suggest framing, is there a good place online that I could get frames and could you give me advice on how to choose frames? Thanks

To help you make your decision it might help to talk a little about what preservation is. The goals are twofold:

1. To preserve the artwork in as close to its original condition as possible. This includes protection from light damage, physical damage such as tearing or punctures, heat, humidity and insects.

2. Whatever is done to the artwork should be easily reversed with as little change to the art as possible.

Since the artwork would be adhered to a board and then covered with a heat-sealed laminate, undoing it is pretty much impossible. It may serve your purpose of displaying and enjoying them with some degree of protection, but you can forget about ever reversing the process.

If you've never done framing before, either DIY or custom, it may be best to start with the guidance of a professional framer who has your artwork in hand. You can find a good framer in your area through the PPFA's Find a Framer site at

If you go the DIY route and are looking for framing components online, I have heard very good things about Frame Destination,  

Picture Framing and Art Preservation

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David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF


I can answer questions about all aspects of framing, with special emphasis on preservation framing. Categories of artwork include works of art on paper, needlework, textiles, paintings on canvas and three-dimensional objects. Components of framing includes frames, glass/glazing, mats, mounting, their features and how to select them.


I have been a professional picture framer and educator in the field since 1994, including framing education for a major franchisor encompassing three brands and the Professional Picture Framers Association, and writing and teaching for DECOR Magazine.

Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) > Board member, PPFA > Member, Certification Board > Member, Chapter relations Committee National Society, Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR)

DECOR Magazine, 2005 - 2010 PPFA For Members Only newsletter Member of the PPFA Guidelines task force, assisted in writing PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Paper and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Works of Art on Canvas, and PPFA Guidelines for Framing Textiles and Needlework. Picture Framing Magazine, 2012

Georgia State University, many classes as a student and educator through the Professional Picture Framers Association and DECOR Magazine. Current member of the PPFA guidelines task force and certification board.

Awards and Honors
Earned Certified Picture Framer (CPF) designation in 1996, Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designation in 2004 and Guild Commended Framer (GCF) status in 2008.

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