UV protection for framing comics

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
Hi!

This is my first post so "hello" to all and thanks in advance for any help :)

We sell framed comics and want to add UV protection - our main driver is cost but also want any solution to be easy to apply and be reliable in the long term. Note we are only using common, low cost comics and are selling as an decorative item so any solution doesn't need to be "museum" quality.

I have done some initial research and these are my thoughts at the moment on the options

UV filtering glass/acrylic
Pros : No change to framing process/time
Cons : Expensive - would need to increase price of product or take a hit on our margin

UV film (applied to the glass)
Pros : Low cost
Cons : Fiddly/time consuming to apply, risk will peel/bubble in future?

UV sheet (covering the front of the comic)
Pros : Easy to add
Cons : Slightly expensive unless can find cheaper alternatives, risk it slips

UV spray (e.g. Krylon)
Pros : Low cost
Cons : Permanently effects comic

I would really appreciate any views on what you guys think and also is there another solution I've not thought about?

Once again many thanks in advance for any advice - really appreciated!
 

JFeig

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 13, 1999
Messages
4,800
Location
Oak Park, MI
An important factor that you are omitting from the formula is the quality of the paper of the comics. If they are made from the traditional "newsprint" paper, they are self destructive with none of the lignin being removed. Lignin is an acidic organic compound found in wood that holds all the fibers together.
BTY, non-adhesive UV filtering plastic film would be the least expensive "reversable" choice.
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
18,171
Location
Gloucester, MA
Welcome to the G!

Why are you considering the upgrade? By your own words, these are decorative items.

UV protection glass helps slow fading, but there is no control over other aspects. Ink, paper, other light sources. In fact, by offering the UV protection, you might create a false sense of longevity.

So I am truly interested what your reason is for adding UV protection.
 

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
Hi! Thanks for your reply and it's a fair point and a question which I'm thinking through myself!

I guess it's a combination of product quality (we want to create and market it as a higher end product) and product liability i.e. want to avoid any complaints around fading. The big question is around how much fading will occur and over what time period - these type of comic books (Marvel, DC) do fade (plenty of discussion on this by collectors). If it is minor over a few years then it's not a problem. I guess if we can add some protection at low cost then it won't do any harm unless as you say it raises expectation.

Another approach is we just put advice on the back saying avoid hanging in direct sunlight or bright areas but this might backfire since might raise questions in the customers mind.

Thanks again for your post since has given me food for thought!

Cheers,

Richard
 

Nikodeumus

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
1,990
Location
Comox, BC, Canada
Welcome to The Grumble!

Do you have equipment to produce, and an affordable source, for the first 3 types of material?

If you have to buy the supplies at regular consumer prices and do not have equipment to produce, then your cost of materials and time expense could be considerable depending on quantities you need to produce.
Is it worth purchasing the equipment required to cut the UV coverings yourself?
Can you get wholesale pricing for the uncut supplies required?
No matter what course you take, your costs will absolutely go up, not just in materials, but in time to produce as well.
Is the added expense of specialized equipment and time spent cutting materials to size yourself going to be balanced by how much you want to sell these frames for?

If the answer is "no" to any of these, compare the cost of finding someone who already has the supplies and equipment to produce the UV coverings for you at a quantity to make it worth while.
Perhaps a local picture framer would be willing to prepare UV glass or acrylic sized to fit your frames if you were to commit to buying a quantity to make it worth their time?

If your goal is to provide a higher quality product, I would avoid films.
I don't think spraying the comics is something any professional picture framer would recommend.
In general UV glass is less costly than UV Acrylic.

Another consideration: are you selling locally in a store/shop?
Will you be doing significant online sales and shipping? Acrylic is far safer and lighter for shipping.
 

Micah

Grumbler
Joined
Aug 2, 2021
Messages
16
Location
Washington, DC
Business
Washington Color Gallery
I fully understand the impulse to say, "those comics are so problematic from a conservation perspective that it isn't even worth trying." But I'm not so quick to dismiss the effort.

I don't know if you have a wholesale account with a frame supply company, but if you don't you can purchase an 8x10 sheet of UV-blocking glass for $6 per sheet or thereabouts. You can buy a sheet of 100% cotton buffered matboard for $10 (which would be enough for maybe 20 comics. The buffered matboard contains a reserve of calcium carbonate that helps counteract acids in the art. So for less than $10 per comic (plus the cost of frame, spacers to keep the glass off the face of the comic, foamcore for the back, etc., you have provided some measure of protection--far more value in my opinion than the $10 that it costs you.
 

wpfay

Comfort Badger
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 1, 2000
Messages
13,773
Location
Jacksonville Beach, FL USA
Business
Sunshine Frames
Fading is a direct relationship to the amount of energy (UV in this case) and available oxygen. These are not things you can control in a remote environment.
If they are known to fade from UV, they will also fade from visible light, just a little slower.
Do your own experiment using regular and UV acrylic with exposure to direct sunlight and see if it really makes a difference.
The only real way to ensure the longevity of the item being framed is to raise the consciousness of the owner to the risks.
Remember that framing is for display, not preservation. If you want to preserve a comic book, put it in a Mylar sleeve and store it in a dark, climate controlled room
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
18,171
Location
Gloucester, MA
Micah, I understand what you are saying, but when in the first post, these comics are portrayed as decorative item, my first question will always be, why put more conservation efforts into them?

We know nothing about attachment methods, if the glass is spaced away. Those, in my opinion, could be more important than the upgraded UV protection of glass/plexi

Framing, for most, is considered on a one on one basis. One customer at a time, careful consultation and what to expect long term.

Now when selling decorative items, this is of course not possible. Just putting different glazing into the package, might give customers a false expectation that now their comic won't fade. We all know that it is simply impossible. As Rob M says: "everything fades"
 

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
Hi all,

Great discussion - really interesting and informative!

I should have mentioned that we have sold over 1,000 of these this year - mainly through outdoor markets and craft fairs. We do some on-line and have found the hard way that it's not feasible to mail glass of this size however well packaged so we use acrylic for those frames.

We already have a relationship with wholesale frame manufacturers and glass suppliers - I plan to have a good chat with later this week once they're back in after Christmas. I just wanted to do a bit of research in advance so I knew what questions to ask etc.

@wpfay Great minds think alike since I'm planning to do a controlled experiment to see the effect of fading - slight problem I'm based in the UK and it's winter so the only thing that's fading at the moment is my tan :)

Our attachment method is perhaps unconventional yet efficient and works (from a mechanical point of view) - I slightly hesitate to mention this since I wonder if it's not the done thing so please don't shout at me! We use a deep double rebate frame and use a black backing board at the rear and then use 2x10mm foam board that then press the comic to the front of the glass which gives a floating 3d effect. We went through various iterations and a range of shake testing and it holds firm. The advantage is the comic is undamaged in the process and is a selling point when people ask if they can take it out and read it. However ....... from your comments above it seems that spacing the glass away might be an important aspect :oops:- would really appreciate any more advice on this if possible!
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
18,171
Location
Gloucester, MA
We don't shout LOL! Well, not me anyway.

In itself, the idea is not completely wrong. However, if you do it like that, you definitely need to do that with plexi glass, not glass. Get Jim Millers book on DCO (direct contact overlay).

I like the idea of spacers behind it. I am not sure how that would hold up over time though, if it compresses and/or deteriorates. It might not stay in place long term and the glass (or plexi) could start to be abrasive or, worse, let the comic slip.

You might need spacers that are more solid and can't be compressed. I also think by using just smaller strips, you create problems in 'sagging' or indentation of the comic. Maybe not apparent right away. I would go with full support, same size as the comic to eliminate that.

I still think that the UV protection is not as important, but yes, do the experiment. Even if not full sun, full daylight would create similar effects, only slower.
 

Nikodeumus

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
1,990
Location
Comox, BC, Canada
It's good to read that you are approaching this from different angles and are willing to seek advice on alternative procedures.
The mounting/display method you describe is certainly considered decorative rather than protective.
But as you said, the focus is decorative, not archival.

Would a sink mount method be an acceptable alternative?
Have a look at this thread:
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
3,072
Location
Perth Western Australia
I have a rather low opinion of most "U.V. filtering" products. At best they will only delay the inevitable ageing process once art is displayed.

To illustrate this let me tell you about a job I once did for a language school in Perth.

The business was in St George's Terrace, Perth which runs roughly East to West and this building was on the Southern side which means the sun is full on the face of the building for most of the day and our Australian sun is pretty mean.

The customer wanted to display advertising posters on pillars facing the street and wanted them printed and framed as cheaply as possible (of course). I warned him about the sun and he replied "no problem, my printer has laminated them with a film which eliminates 90% of ultra violet radiation and I want you to use U.V. inhibiting Perspex which will remove most of what is left." My reply was "I will give them 3 months at the best". Anyway, he went ahead with the job and my time estimate proved to be a long way off because they had faded to nothing within 2 months.

The snag is that there is no sharp line separating harmful light from harmful. Much of the visible light spectrum will also cause fading and the only way to avoid that, as WPFay said is to keep the art in a dark place which is hardly practical for display purposes.

In your shoes I wold be using plain glass and cautioning customers about the need to avoid hanging them in strong light.
 

alacrity8

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
1,455
Location
Albany, NY
@wpfay Great minds think alike since I'm planning to do a controlled experiment to see the effect of fading - slight problem I'm based in the UK and it's winter so the only thing that's fading at the moment is my tan :)

Fluorescent bulbs emit UV light.
Additionally there are bulbs that are designed to emit UV light for use in certain animal enclosures.
A light box could be made to simulate sun exposure.

As others have said, all light causes fading.
 

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
In your shoes I wold be using plain glass and cautioning customers about the need to avoid hanging them in strong light.
Hi Artfolio,

Thanks for the anecdote and am now leaning towards the approach you said - general the comics we frame are only worth a couple of pounds and so if any one ever does complain we can always just offer to replace the comic rather than a full refund
 

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
if it compresses and/or deteriorates
For info (since might be useful for you guys to consider) I use XPS boards that are used for underfloor heating e.g.

https://www.cosyspace.co.uk/product/non-premium-blue-xps-board-non-fireproof/ Insulation Boards XPS Underfloor Heating Thermal (Packs) 1200x600mm 6mm 10mm and 20mm - 3.6m2-22.32m2 - Cosyspace

They are relatively cheap (~£5 per square metre), easy to cut and have good compression (43.51 pound force per square inch to be precise!)
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
18,171
Location
Gloucester, MA
Interesting product. I am not sure I would use it in conservation framing without further data and I don't even know if the equivalent is available here in the US. But definitely interesting to keep in mind and google later :)

The more I read about your approach (and I like some of those ideas) the less I think conservation glazing is important. Since the comics are apparently easily replaced, I would not worry too much about conservation glass.

Either way, it is always good to tell your customers not to hang anything in direct sunlight. No matter what glazing you use.
 

Nikodeumus

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Apr 21, 2015
Messages
1,990
Location
Comox, BC, Canada
For info (since might be useful for you guys to consider) I use XPS boards that are used for underfloor heating e.g.

https://www.cosyspace.co.uk/product/non-premium-blue-xps-board-non-fireproof/ Insulation Boards XPS Underfloor Heating Thermal (Packs) 1200x600mm 6mm 10mm and 20mm - 3.6m2-22.32m2 - Cosyspace

They are relatively cheap (~£5 per square metre), easy to cut and have good compression (43.51 pound force per square inch to be precise!)

I did a little research quickly about polystyrene, here's some info that others may find interesting:

And from the National Park Service "Conserve O Gram" publication, polystyrene is noted on page 2 as an acceptable material for archival/conservation treatments.
"Instead, use safer plastic alternatives such as:​
•polyethylene (PE)​
•polypropylene (PP)​
•polystyrene​
•acrylic​
•inert polyester films and sheeting"​
PDF of article attached below ⬇️
 

Attachments

  • 18-02.pdf
    218.9 KB · Views: 2

worthywow

Grumbler in Training
Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
14
Location
England
Business
Mia
Also from my original link - edited highlights ...

"....XPS Insulation Boards are manufactured from fully recyclable materials. They are produced from foamed polystyrene, a material that does not deteriorate. The cell structure in the board is built up from very fine closed cells that give the product its excellent physical and mechanical characteristics.

... XPS board is also water repellent, it will not rot or go mouldy ..... XPS boards are also resistant to cement, plaster, and most alkalis (lime or soda), however, not against organic solvents (i.e. acids)

High compression resistance
Able to resist repeated freeze and thaw cycles
Moisture proof and Air tight
Non-absorbent
Corrosion proof
Low thermal conductivity
Structurally stable in the long run
"
 

Ylva

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Forum Support Team
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
18,171
Location
Gloucester, MA
Yes, I read that. It still doesn't qualify as conservation materials without knowing more of the chemical components and process used to produce.
It won't matter for decorative items and it seems to be a versatile material.
 
Top