As many of you know the bottom line in all of the articles I write, regarding framing movie posters and collectible paper, is that your piece be sandwiched between genuine UV filtered plexi glass and ph neutral backing or museum conservation backing. The value of your particular item will determine whether you use regular foam core, ph neutral foam core or museum conservation backing. I do not recommend using glass or cardboard! The frame is only for looks and has no bearing on the preservation of your item.
In many of my articles I reference specific brand names of products that we use. While there are many brands of acrylic, UV filtered plexi glass and backing products for a customer to purchase, I've chosen these product brands based on years of experience of working with combinations of products and particular types of collectible paper. In choosing these products, I've taken into consideration many factors, most importantly the product's effectiveness and price. I reiterate over and over that one doesn't have to spend and arm and a leg to frame and protect valuable posters and paper.
While there are other issues that I address often, such as why spacers should not be used and why the poster should not be mounted to backing board, I am constantly asked how to deal with oversize paper. Oversize paper is also known as a three-sheet (41x81), six-sheet (81x81), French panel (47x63) or Italian large folio (55x78). As far as preservation is concerned, there is no difference from a one-sheet (27x40 or 27x41) to any oversized paper, except the size. The same rules apply: a high grade of acrylic is necessary, preferably UV filtered plexi glass, as well as regular foam core, ph neutral foam core or acid free backing material depending on your item's value. I use Neilsen Bainbridge ArtCare Conservation foamboard backing for collectible posters and paper. ArtCare is a product that is not only 100% acid free but includes ingredients that neutralize acids present in the actual paper the poster was printed on or the fabric the poster may be linen backed on.
Remember, these posters were not made for you and I as collectors but for advertising, and not typically printed on the best paper around. This paper is acidic and will continue to degrade over time. ArtCare stops degradation and this is important for a poster you want to last.
There are a few framing details that are different to oversize pieces, depending on the frame that is chosen. Many of my customers want to frame oversize posters but due to the size of them, more framing materials are needed. It takes more labor for the framer to frame an oversize piece, so the long and the short of it is that it costs much more to frame these large pieces. In general most acrylic and/or UV filtered plexi glass comes in 4"x8" sheets (48"x96" ) which an approximate 41x81 three-sheet and a 47x63 French poster would fit fine once custom cut. There is a problem however, if you have an Italian poster that is 55x78 or a six-sheet at 81x81. There are a few companies out there that still make a piece of plexi glass that is 60"x100", but they are very hard to find and the plexi is very costly. It is not uncommon for a sheet of special ordered oversize plexi glass to cost several hundred dollars and isn't UV filtered. This is why I get calls all the time from people all over the country saying they've been quoted $2500 and up to frame six sheets in modest frames. The reason is because oversize materials are costly for the framer to have specially made. Remember, most retail frame shops don't even carry this product, even in smaller pieces necessary for framing a one-sheet (27x40 or 27x41) because they don't generally get any kind of discount for this product unless ordering in very, very large quantities.
While oversize posters are large and take much more materials and labor to frame, usually customers still want to frame them as inexpensively as possible, which means using a metal frame. A metal frame does however need to be sturdy enough to house the size and the weight of these large pieces; you can really only use a sturdy metal frame on a three sheet (41x81) and a French poster (47x63) at most. Larger posters are really too large to frame in a metal frame. You must use a wood frame for these huge pieces and it can't be some little skimpy wood frame. It should be a hard wood at least 2"x2 ฝ" wide in width. Wood frames are put together with glue and nails, while metal frames are typically put together using a metal bracket with flat screws. One most certainly needs a sturdy hardwood frame for these oversize pieces. When using a metal frame, make sure you tell the framer to put 'stress' wires on the back of the frame. Stress wires can even be used on the back of wood frames. A metal frame will have a hanging wire on it so you can hang it up and should also have a wire on the back of the frame to prevent bowing of the top and the bottom leg from the weight and flexibility of the overall piece. In addition, when hanging any frame with a wire, make sure you hang with two nails or hooks placed about 3"-4" in from either side; this anchors your frame on the wall better so that you don't always have to straighten it. More importantly, it takes the pull off the two side legs of the frame so your poster, inside the frame, has more room to breathe when the humidity changes and posters swell. If you are using a wood frame, tell your framer not to wire it for hanging but rather to put hanging straps on the side legs of the frame, pointing upward. Once again, this takes the load off of those two side legs. This hanging procedure is a must with oversize pieces. Also tell the framer to put L-brackets on the backs of each corner of the frame for extra support. For larger pieces, like Italian oversize posters or six-sheets, you might suggest to the framer to build an inner support frame on the back for added sturdiness. This is when a wooden square is built which sits inside the back of the frame and gets nailed to the main frame for added support to the overall piece. The front frame now becomes a decoration while the back frame is where you install the hanging straps and is where all the load of the frame weight is.
For many years collectors have stayed away from framing oversize pieces because of the cost of framing them in addition to their 'hard to handle' size. Many homes in America were not built with walls able to accommodate hanging oversize posters like these. However, in recent times, we have seen oversize posters become more desirable to collectors while framing them is still expensive. I have customers that own oversize pieces, which they can't afford to frame, or the piece itself doesn't warrant a thousand dollar and up frame job. The information provided herein hopefully provides you with knowledge to make informed choices.
We offer a non assembled oversize frame at wholesale cost. What we do is cut the frame to your specifications and ship it to you unassembled in a tube with the hardware to assemble and hang your frame. Then we help you get the correct plexiglass and backing in your own hometown so that you can assemble the frame yourself. It is very simple to do and saves you a ton of money over having it framed in a retail custom frame shop. Also, Acrylite is now shipping the plexiglass I use directly to customers and it is very cost effective, so you have that option over trying to find the plexiglass in your own area. Call us directly for more information.
As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions at (800) 463-2994. We are always happy to help another collector. Happy Collecting!