Glass vs. Acrylic Frame : Which One To Choose [Know The Differences]

Hanging a picture, or artwork on the wall can make your house look cozier. Besides the obvious benefit in decor that you get from hanging artwork or pictures on the wall, there’s also the emotional aspect. It feels amazing to hang a picture of a good memory on the wall!

Acrylic vs Glass Frame

That is why we are so careful when selecting the frames for the picture that we’re about to hang. We give a lot of thought to the color, size, and type of the frame. One of the main things that you should consider when buying a frame is the material.

If you ever tried purchasing a frame, you’ll see that you have a lot of cover options. Two of the most common frame options are glass and acrylic. So, which one should you choose between them?

Take a look at this acrylic vs glass frame comparison to find out which frame will work better for you.

What Is Acrylic Frame?

What Is Acrylic Frame

To know about acrylic frames, firstly you need to know about acrylic. Acrylic was made in 1933. It’s a thermoplastic that does not break easily. The material is being used as an alternative for glass for quite some time now.

Acrylic is unique because it is both hard and flexible at the same time. While it is very sturdy, it can be shaped and cut into a lot of different sizes using the right procedure. This material is also very lightweight and can be recycled!

A lot of people use acrylic frames because it’s clear, and also protects the picture inside. Photographers prefer framing their pictures and artworks using an acrylic frame because it has a lower chance of breaking.

Since the material does not shatter easily, there is little to no risk of the picture inside getting scratched or torn by broken acrylic pieces.

Advantages Of Using Acrylic Frames

Advantages Of Using Acrylic Frames

As we mentioned before, acrylic can be a great glass replacement. But what makes it such a good-quality replacement? Let’s take a look.

1. Lightweight

When you’re planning on framing something, and hanging it on a wall, there is no doubt that a lightweight material will be better.

The heavier the frame is, the harder it will be to hang on the wall. Heavyweight frames are also really risky to hang on a wall since they can fall, break and create a safety hazard.

Because acrylic frames are so lightweight, they can be hung very easily. You don’t need to invest in a high-end, or hefty nail to hang these frames. They can be hanged on almost any type of nail.

Also, since they’re so lightweight, there’s a lower chance of them falling off of the wall and causing a mess.

2. Shatterproof

This is one of the main reasons why an artist, or photographer, will recommend using an acrylic frame.

Acrylic frames are shatterproof. As we mentioned earlier, they are quite lightweight, so there’s a lower risk of them falling off of the wall. But in case the frame does fall, you don’t have to worry about it breaking into a million sharp pieces that can cause a safety hazard.

Because acrylic frames are shatterproof, they’re also safer for the picture or artwork that you are framing. The frame won’t break and create any abrasions on the picture or painting.

3. Thermal Insulation

Acrylic material does not let any heat enter through the frames. It’s an excellent thermal insulator.

The benefit that this feature gives you is protection. Acrylic keeps the photo or painting that you have framed protected from exterior heat. Pictures are preserved in the frame safely.

4. No Green Tint

Acrylic frames are very clear. It’s very easy to see every detail of an artwork or a picture through them.

Even if you use the cheaper version of an acrylic frame, there is no risk of getting any sort of green tint that you might find in some glasses.

This way you get to enjoy the true colors and details of the picture.

Disadvantages Of Using Acrylic Frames

While there are quite a few benefits of using an acrylic frame, sadly there are a few disadvantages as well. Let’s take a look at a few of the cons of acrylic frames.

1. Expensive

Compared to other glazing options that you have for the frames, acrylic can be a little bit more expensive. If you have a low budget for your frames, acrylic might not be the option for you.

2. It Might Bend

It’s true, acrylic frames don’t shatter. But they do bend.

In case an acrylic frame falls off of the wall, the frame will not break, but depending on the level of damage, it might bend.

When the acrylic frame bends, it can make the picture look a little bit wonky. This is surely not an ideal situation for frames in museums, or even for décor at home.

3. Scratches

Another disadvantage that comes with using acrylic frames is the possibility of getting scratches. Not the picture, but the frame itself.

This thermoplastic material is very prone to getting scratches. That is why you have to be careful when using these frames.

If you have kids at home, acrylic frames might not be a good option for pictures that you want to frame. There is a high possibility that the frames will get scratches on them if they are reachable.

4. Gets Dirty

This material has very high static electric properties. So if you don’t wipe or clean the surface regularly, it will attract a lot of dust.

There’s an easy way to avoid this, by using a good quality acrylic glazing cleaner. But this does require a bit of maintenance.

If you frame a picture using acrylic frames, be prepared for regular dusting.

What Is Glass Frame?

What Is Glass Frame

Glass frames are more commonly used for framing pictures in museums and houses. You will find this sort of glass museum or conservation glass in any local framing shop. It is a very well-loved material.

When it comes to framing smaller pictures or artwork, glass can be a very good option. It’s a cheap framing material, which is quite scratch-resistant.

Most of the ready-made frames that you can buy off the shelf are made with glass frames.

Benefits Of Using Glass Frames

Benefits Of Using Glass Frames

Glass frames are the most commonly used frames. But what makes it so popular amongst the crowd? Find out here.

1. Scratch Resistance

It’s very hard to scratch a glass surface. If the frame is not going to be hung on a wall and will be placed within reach, it’s better to go for the glass material.

Even if people pick it up and move it around, the frame will not get scratches. Therefore the beauty of the picture that you have framed will be intact for a long time.

2. No Bending

Glass does not bend. It is quite a sturdy material, there’s no doubt about that.

If the picture you are framing, is going to be handled quite a lot, you can give grass frames a shot. Because it’s so strong of a material, the frame will never bow or bend.

3. Affordable

When you have a low budget for your framing, glass frames will be your savior. Glass is widely accessible and does not cost a fortune either.

4. Low Maintenance

You don’t need any fancy fiber cloth, or cleaners to clean glass. You can use any kind of duster or cleaning cloth that you have at home to clean any dirt or dust that has gathered on the glass.

Also, the smooth surface of the glass rarely collects dust in the first place.

5. Glaze

Glass is a shiny material. Therefore it provides a nice natural sheen to the picture that you have framed.

A lot of people find this glazing quality beautiful. Whether or not do you want a glazed or non-glazed frame is a matter of your choice.

If you want a glazed frame, you can try out the glass frame. You won’t have to add any additional glazed layer on top of it because of the natural reflective quality that it already possesses.

However, it can sometimes create a glare if the lighting is not right.

Disadvantages Of Glass Frames

Disadvantages Of Glass Frames

Glass frames might be the most popular choice of frames, but this material has a few disadvantages too. Here are some that you need to know about before you invest in it.

1. It Breaks Easily

If a glass frame falls off of your wall, it will break into sharp shards. When a glass frame is hung on the wall, you need to be prepared for making frequent replacements.

While glass frames are cheap on their own, having to replace them so often might increase your overall cost spend on the framing.

2. Heavy

Glass is a heavy material. If you plan on hanging glass frame, you need to use very sturdy nails. Otherwise, the weight of the material will pull it down from the wall.

Comparison Between Acrylic vs. Glass Frame

Comparison Between Glass Vs Acrylic Frame

So we’ve learned about both acrylic and glass frames. Now let’s take a look at the difference between glass and acrylic frames so that you can understand which material will suit your needs better.

1. Applications

Acrylic is more lightweight than glass. That is why when museums or decorators frame larger pictures or artwork, they tend to go for acrylic frames.

Using glass on larger pictures can be quite risky because the material is so heavyweight.

You will often find glass frames on small pictures, or artwork that you keep on the side table, or normally don’t hang.

Acrylic frames on the other hand can be used for all kinds of frame needs, no matter the size of the picture.

2. Cost

Glass is much cheaper than acrylic. That is why people on a budget always tend to go for glass frames

If you want to frame a lot of pictures for your home, you can go for glass frames. It will be more cost-effective.

3. Protection

Acrylic frames can protect the picture or artwork inside from heat and UV ray damage. Glass on the other hand does not have this feature.

For long-term use, it’s better if you go for an acrylic frame because it will help hold the integrity, vibrancy, and beauty of the picture or artwork framed.

4. Weight

Acrylic is much more lightweight than glass. If you plan on shipping a picture, acrylic might be the better option to go for when moving.

Since glass weighs a lot, the shipping cost might be huge. A heavy material like glass can also be quite risky to transport or hang on the wall because it might fall and break.

5. The Finish

The finish of the frame that you want is subjective. Some people like a glazed finish while others don’t.

When you’re using glass, you automatically get a slightly glazed finish. Some people love this, while some find it repulsive. The glaze can cause problems when viewing the image inside, properly, because of reflection.

Also, when you’re using glass you need to be very careful about the quality of the material. Some cheap glasses come with a very bad green tint, which can alter the color of the image significantly.

Acrylic frames give you the option to choose between a glazed or non-glazed frame. Also, they are free from green tint.

6. Durability

If a glass frame falls off of the wall or a table, it will break into pieces for sure. There is no way of protecting or keeping the frame intact.

On the other hand, even acrylic frame falls, it will rarely ever break. But acrylic frames do get dents.

The dent can sometimes be a bit weird to look at on the frame. But if the dent doesn’t bother you too much, when it comes to durability, acrylic frames win the game.

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Choose?

Both glass and acrylic frames have their advantages and disadvantages.

While glass is a more affordable option and does not scratch, acrylic does not shatter and protects your art or pictures from heat and UV rays. UV ray protection will keep the photo, or artwork looking new for a very long time.

With acrylic frames, you can choose the type of finish you want. Also because the frame is so lightweight, shipping it will not cost a fortune. You also get the benefit of shatter protection.

If you are on a budget, we will surely suggest going for a glass frame. But if you can splurge a little, it’s definitely a better idea to invest in an acrylic frame.

In conclusion, we would suggest that in the battle of acrylic vs. glass frame, acrylic frames take the trophy if budget is not an issue.

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