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Linen vs Paper for Framing?
Old 09-08-2018, 02:02 PM   #1
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Linen vs Paper for Framing?

I must admit, I'm not really a stuff framed and hung all over my place type of person.

But today, I did want to get something on an 8.5 x 11 paper and photo framed so went to a frame place. Having done right, I didn't want to do by myself. Price gave me sticker shock. So, one way to cut cost (just a little) was to go with a mat (or is that matt) made from paper instead of the original suggestion of linen for background.

I couldn't tell the difference between to two by looking. That leads to my question. Any real difference between the two besides paper costing a bit less?

I figure some folks here would more experience in this type of thing could educate me . Thanks.
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:19 PM   #2
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I'm no expert (I've read three books on framing) but I'd go with the linen. The reason is that it's far less likely to have any acid in it that will degrade the object framed over time. Acid in the paper is why newsprint turns yellow so quickly, and of course they use the cheapest paper they can find. The acid in the paper offered by the framing shop has had the acid chemically neutralized but that effect will wear off in time, but perhaps after your time on earth has expired. A museum framer would cringe at the thought of using paper for that reason.

Another reason for the sticker shock at the framing shop is that even with a computer-aided mat cutter there is still a surprising amount of hand labor involved in framing something. Even after framing about a dozen photos it still took me about four hours to frame a photo. Some of that was waiting for stuff to dry, but relatively little of it.
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:40 PM   #3
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Hope I won't have future regrets, but I already went with the paper. Figure, I'll probably be gone by the time the items fades. Plus, the item is already written on a yellow tinted paper so already not pure white.

Hope I won't end up regretting the knee-jerk reaction of feeling like I was getting a shake down.

Guess I'll know in a few years if going with paper was a good choice or not .
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:47 PM   #4
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Picking out the options felt a bit like picking out my casket. Gonna cost me nice and good for the sake of presentation .
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Old 09-08-2018, 02:50 PM   #5
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Not sure which I would have chosen, but I feel (felt) you pain. I had my diplomas (Bachelor and Masters) along with my CPA certificate and even at a time I was making good money, I choked. I went ahead with it and the load great, but I had no idea it cost so much. Good news is that I believe you will enjoy to outcome and forget about the cost soon enough.
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:11 PM   #6
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I would have gone with linen for reasons that Walt described. I know what you mean by sticker shock. Iíve had frame shops do things for me before that I was shocked at the price. Now I make my own frames and get glass from a local glass shop. Sometimes mat, sometimes not. All for about a third of the price that the frame shop charges for the whole thing.
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:39 PM   #7
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Sticker shock at the framing shop was the reason I bought the books on framing and a mat cutter. I wanted to frame a bunch of my photos and hang them in the house but the cost was going to be much more than I was willing to spend. The mat cutter I ended up with is the Logan Simplex Classic, ~$200 at the time. I also found that buying mat boards online in lots of 25 or 50 was half the cost of buying them at the local art/craft store.

There is of course a learning curve and I did destroy about ten or a dozen boards before I fully got the hang of it, but after that it became something I enjoyed doing, especially on one of those dreary rainy days. And DIY is a LOT cheaper than the framing shop! Unlike Ronstar I don't make my frames, I just buy them since I don't have anything resembling a woodworking shop. Still, I roughly figure that after the first three frame jobs the mat cutter and materials had been fully amortized. Any more after that was just materials, and that gets downright cheap for a framed print. We're talking maybe $30 for a couple of mat boards, glue, hanging linen, and maybe some other minor details I forgot about. Oh, and the frame - depending on size $15 to $50.

BTW, if you have a photo print that you value highly do not put it in one of those cheap Wal-mart type photo frames. With the photo in contact with the glass, expansion and contraction of the photo paper with changes in humidity and temperature will ruin the photo. That's the reason for the matting, to hold the photo in place but allow it to expand and contract and keep it away from the glass in the frame. And of course hang it where it won't get direct sunlight.
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Old 09-08-2018, 04:39 PM   #8
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I went back to the frame place and decided to just get the linen instead of paper matting. Since this is a precious item, figured to not cut corners. Like Walt said, the person said even the paper is acid free.
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Old 09-08-2018, 05:12 PM   #9
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I used to make frames and cut mat board. Not easy to do!
The difference in price between regular and archival is not that much. I'm sure the framer takes into account that there is some waste, and you probably know nothing about cutting mat board.
https://framing4yourself.com/shop/pr...val-mat-board/
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:39 AM   #10
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DW used to be a framer. We get acid free paper mats and museum grade glass.
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