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Novaspace FAQs

Our Professional Quality Archival Matting and Framing

  1. What is matting?
  2. What kind of frame do you use?
  3. What type of glazing do you use?
  4. What if I don't like your choice of colors?
  5. Can I save money by doing it myself?
  6. Can't I just hang the prints without a frame?
  7. How are they packed for shipment?
  8. More about our custom framing.

What is matting?

Matting is the colored border surrounding the image. It is made of a 1/16" paper board, with an acid-free white core and acid-free backing to keep from staining the print. Our mats are double or triple mats, (two or three boards of different colors), which are hand-cut at a 45-degree bevel, exposing the white core. Colors are chosen by the staff and the artist to enhance or compliment colors in the print. It also makes the print appear larger. The mat is not merely cosmetic, however--it keeps the print from touching the plexiglass or glass to which it would otherwise adhere to.

What kind of frame do you use?

We use exclusively anodized aluminum frames. Anodization bonds the color to the metal (like chrome on car bumpers), rather than being merely painted. This keeps the color from scratching off. The frames are approximately 1" deep with a 1/4" wide round top. Colors are again chosen to compliment the print (and mat). Anodized aluminum never tarnishes, and will always retain their metallic sheen. They are much more durable than wood frames, lighter, and easier to ship.

What type of glazing do you use?

We use the finest non-glare plexiglass. Again this is much lighter and durable than glass. Most shipping companies refuse to ship glass because of the ease of breakage and danger to its personnel.

Our plexiglass is much harder than normal plexiglass, easier to clean and more difficult to scratch. It is several times more costly than glass, but it's worth it. It gives better protection against ultraviolet light, which is the major cause of fading. It looks fabulous and our customers say it really flatters the images.

What if I don't like your choice of colors?

Although there may be several different colors of mats which will work on any given print, we have to choose one combination in order to keep prices and costs down. If you want a different combination, it's best to buy the "print only" and have it done to your satisfaction at your local frame shop. There are so many colors and textures available that we can't easily do custom work over the phone. We can change frame colors easily, if you wish, but they are not returnable.

Can I save money by doing it myself?

Usually not. Our framing prices are for archival-quality framing, with acid-free treatment throughout. Our sizes are given in this WWW catalog and our printed catalog, and it is an easy task to call a local frame shop to get a quote on an equivalent job. We are also much faster than your local shop. There is usually a two to three week wait for custom work at most shops. If you want to do the work completely yourself, you'll need specialized tools, like a mat cutter, glass cutter, saw...or be able to farm these tasks out to those with tools. If your time is not worth anything, then you might save some money. Our work is guaranteed quality against defects. Most of those folks who try their own framing become our most ardent customers for framed works, (after their cuts heal).

Can't I just hang the prints without a frame?

(Shudder) No! You can do that with posters, but you shouldn't hang a limited edition print, which otherwise has a good chance of appreciation of value, without the protection a frame and glazing affords. A print thumbtacked to a wall may peg you as an unsophisticated boor to knowledgeable friends, and is suceptible to moisture, heat, bugs and fingerprints, and will quickly fade, sag and wrinkle.

Posters, on the other hand, can be hung without a frame, although they will sag eventually. We suggest having them "dry-mounted" to foamcore board at your local frame or poster shop. Adhesive hangers are available to stick on the back. This keeps the poster flat and rigid. Posters are usually larger, and framing them requires a heavier, larger piece of glass, and some sort of method to keep the poster away from the glass. Framing a poster will usually cost many times the price of the poster.

How are they packed for shipment?

We make custom-fabricated boxes from fresh sheets of cardboard for matted and framed prints. This effectively reduces damage to a bare minimum, and also provides a good container for moving or shipping the prints in the future. "Print onlys" are usually shipped in an armored 4" tube, but can also be shipped flat if you specifically request it. The 4" tube is large enough so that it does not permanently curl the paper fibers. Posters which are on lighter paper are shipped in armored 3" tubes. The "armoring" is an outside box we fabricate, which keeps the tubes from rolling around, completely eliminating damage caused by tubes rolling off trucks, off conveyer belts, out of airplanes, etc.

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