Should Paintings Be Framed Under Glass?

As an art enthusiast, you may have wondered whether it is necessary to frame paintings under glass. This is a common question that arises in the world of art and is often a topic of debate among art collectors and professionals.

The decision to frame a painting under glass depends on several factors, including the painting’s medium, the environment in which it will be displayed, and the artist’s preference. Framing under glass has advantages and disadvantages, which must be carefully weighed before making a final decision.

There are several compelling reasons why framing your paintings under glass can be a smart move. However, framing under glass can also reflect light and create glare, making the artwork less visible. 

In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of framing paintings under glass and provide a step-by-step guide on how to frame your painting under glass.

Should Paintings Be Framed Under Glass?

When it comes to the question of whether paintings should be framed under glass, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The decision ultimately depends on the type of painting, the materials used, and the intended display environment. 

In general, paintings created with oil or acrylic paints on canvases tend to fare better without glass, as these materials are often more durable and do not require as much protection. 

However, watercolor paintings, drawings, and pieces created with delicate materials such as pastels or charcoal may benefit from being framed under glass to avoid damage from moisture or smudging.

Framing a painting under glass provides an additional layer of protection against dust, dirt, and other environmental factors that can damage the painting’s surface.  The glass acts as a barrier, preventing these elements from directly contacting the painting. Moreover, it can also help protect the painting from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause the colors to fade over time. However, it is essential to ensure that the glass used is high quality and UV-resistant to prevent any negative impact on the painting’s appearance.

Reasons to Frame Your Paintings Under Glass

If you are an artist, you may have wondered why you must frame your paintings under glass. You may not think it is necessary. However, there are many benefits to framing your paintings under glass, and it is worth considering. Here are the top reasons why you should frame your paintings under glass.

Protection from Damage

Nothing is worse than finding a beloved piece of art has been damaged. The glass cover on a framed painting provides an extra layer of protection from the elements and accidental spills. It helps prevent scratches, smudges, and fading, ensuring the painting remains pristine for many years.

UV Protection

Various types of glass used in framing are specifically engineered to block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Over time, UV radiation can lead to fading, discoloration, and pigment deterioration. Utilizing UV-protective glass can minimize these effects, ultimately preserving the painting’s longevity and vibrancy.

Enhanced Visual Appeal

Framing a painting under glass can dramatically enhance its visual appeal. It gives the artwork a sophisticated and polished look, making it stand out and draw the eye. It also provides a reflective surface that enhances the colors and textures of the painting, creating a stunning effect.


Incorporating glass framing into the display of paintings can establish a stable microenvironment that shields the artwork from fluctuations in humidity and temperature. This controlled climate aids in preserving the structural integrity of the painting, reducing the risk of warping or cracking over time.


The process of framing under glass provides an additional layer of hygiene, especially in public settings where the artwork may be frequently touched or exposed to airborne contaminants. The glass is a protective barrier, reducing the risk of smudges, fingerprints, or unintentional damage caused by handling.

Easy to Clean

Keeping a framed painting looking its best is easy when covered in glass. It can be wiped down with a soft cloth and window cleaner to remove dust and dirt, restoring the painting’s original beauty. This makes it much easier to maintain the painting’s appearance.

Increased Value

A painting’s value may increase if it is framed and protected by glass. It aids in maintaining the condition of the artwork, which can eventually raise its value. Additionally, the glass gives the artwork a more upscale and desirable appearance, which can raise its overall value.


Framing a painting under glass offers more flexibility than other framing options. It can be replaced if damaged, and the frame can be easily changed to suit the painting’s style or the room’s décor. Framing a painting under glass also allows for more creative options, such as matting, mounting, and using different types of glass.

Reasons Not to Frame Your Paintings Under Glass

When it comes to displaying artwork, framing under glass is a common choice, but it may not always be the optimal option. There are various factors to consider before making a decision. Here are some reasons that may influence one’s choice not to frame a painting under glass:

Reflection and Glare

Glass has the ability to reflect light and produce glare, which can impede the viewing of a painting from certain angles. This may interfere with the full enjoyment of the artwork, thereby reducing the overall viewing experience.


If not perfectly flat against the painting, glass can introduce distortion, which could modify the colors, details, and textures. This alteration may compromise the artist’s intended vision and impact the viewer’s perception of the painting.


When glass is placed directly on the surface of a painting, it can create a physical barrier that diminishes the visual impact of the artwork. However, by eliminating the separation provided by the glass, viewers can engage more closely with the textures and brushstrokes of the piece, thereby enhancing their connection to the artwork.

Surface Interaction

Certain paintings employ non-traditional materials or methods that may have adverse interactions with glass. For example, paintings featuring heavy impasto or delicate surfaces may adhere to the glass or become compressed, leading to unintended distortions in the artwork’s visual presentation.

How Do You Frame Your Paintings With A Glass Frame? 

Framing your paintings with a glass frame is an excellent way to protect and show off your artwork. It can also add a unique touch to the overall look of your artwork. However, following the steps to ensure your painting is properly and safely framed is important. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to frame your paintings with a glass frame:

Step 1: Choose the Right Size Frame

Measure the painting and then choose a frame that is slightly larger than the painting. This will ensure that your painting is properly secured in the frame.

Step 2: Clean the Frame

Before you attach the painting to the frame, cleaning the frame with a damp cloth is essential. This will prevent any dust or dirt from getting on the painting.

Step 3: Prepare the Backing

Cut the backing material to the size of the frame. Use a strong adhesive to attach the backing material to the back of the frame.

Step 4: Secure the Painting

Place the painting in the frame and use a few pieces of non-destructive tape to hold it. Carefully check that the painting is centered in the frame before securing the tape.

It is crucial to ensure the painting is secured correctly and tightly held in the frame to protect it from dust, moisture, and other damage. Consider using a few extra pieces of tape to reinforce the area where the painting meets the frame to ensure it is securely held.

Step 5: Attach the Glass

Now, place the glass on top of the painting and secure it to the frame with clips. Ensure that the glass is not pressed too tightly against the painting, as this can cause the glass to crack or damage the paint.

Use even pressure when securing the glass to the frame to ensure that the glass is firmly in place. Use a small amount of adhesive to help keep the clips in place if needed. Once the clips have been attached, check that the glass is flush with the painting and no gaps are present.

Step 6: Hang the Painting

Once you’ve completed the finishing touches on your painting, it’s time to hang it. For this, you’ll need a sawtooth hanger or a wire hanger. Ensure you attach the hanger to the frame and secure it firmly. If you’re using a sawtooth hanger, you’ll need to measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hanger and use a level to ensure the painting hangs straight.

With a wire hanger, you’ll need to measure the length of the wire, allowing for some slack to account for the weight of the painting. Additionally, make sure the wall you’re hanging the painting on is strong enough to support its weight.

Should An Acrylic Painting Be Framed Under Glass?

Whether or not to frame an acrylic painting under glass is a decision that depends on various factors, including the artist’s intention, the subject matter of the artwork, and the environment where it will be displayed. 

Generally, acrylic paintings do not require framing under glass because they are water-resistant, and the colors do not tend to fade or yellow over time. Moreover, acrylic paintings have a glossy finish that can be damaged by the reflection of light on the glass, making it difficult to appreciate the artwork’s texture and depth.

However, for several reasons, some artists prefer to frame their acrylic paintings under glass. For instance, if the painting has a delicate or intricate surface texture, framing it under glass can protect it from dust, humidity, and other external factors that could damage the artwork.
If the painting is displayed in an environment with high traffic or exposure to direct sunlight, framing it under glass can provide an extra layer of protection. 

Ultimately, the decision to frame an acrylic painting under glass should be made based on the artist’s intention and the artwork’s specific needs.

Is Framing Under Glass the Best Way to Store Canvas Paintings at Home?

Framing under glass is not the best method for storing canvas paintings at home. Moisture can get trapped, potentially damaging the artwork. It’s best to use breathable materials and ensure the art is stored in a cool, dry place to prevent any deterioration.

Is there any risk to using exterior paint inside, such as potential damage to framed paintings under glass?

Using exterior paint inside can pose risks to framed paintings under glass. The chemicals in exterior paint could interact with the materials in the frame or the glass, causing discoloration or damage. It’s best to use interior paint specifically designed for indoor use to protect valuable art pieces from potential harm.

Why is Glass the Best Choice for Framing Your Paintings?

Glass is ideal for framing your paintings due to its scratch-resistant properties. It also comes in different finishes, which can affect the clarity and visibility of your painting. Glazing is an integral part of the framing process, as it helps protect your painting from dust, dirt, and other environmental damage.

Additionally, glass can give your painting a more professional look and feel. Although glass is heavier and more fragile than plastic or acrylic, it is still an excellent choice for framing your artwork. With proper care, glass can last a lifetime, making it a worthwhile investment for your treasured artwork.

Framing Canvas Paintings 


Glass is the widely known ideal choice for framing your paintings. Whether or not to frame a painting under glass ultimately depends on the painting itself, its medium, and the environment in which it will be displayed. 

While glass can offer protection from dust and other pollutants, it can also cause glare and distort the colors of the painting. It’s important to consult a professional framer or conservator to determine the best approach for each piece. 

If you choose to frame your painting under glass, ensure they are properly framed by following the step-by-step guide.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consider the artist’s intentions, the condition of the painting, and personal preferences before deciding whether or not to frame a painting under glass.

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