All About Acrylic

What is the Difference Between Acrylic and Glass?

Let’s clear things up about Acrylic as it pertains to fine art.  At the gallery, we get a lot of questions about this crystal clear substance that not only keeps our large fine art archivally safe and sound but also adds to their dazzle.  So let’s get right to it!

A+ for Acrylic

The reasons why Acrylic is stealing center stage over glass are not to be glassed over - it’s properties shine!  It is significantly lighter weight than glass (roughly 50% lighter), it is much more shatter-resistant and durable, it offers excellent optical clarity and it is arguable less prone to the dreaded glare-factor.  It’s a win - win - win - win situation!

The Wow-Factor

Bright and vivid photographs somehow transform into brilliant and dazzling pieces of art with the addition of a thick layer of Acrylic.  It refracts the light with a sparkling crystal clarity has won over countless fine art photographers. One of the top questions we get in the gallery is “Are these backlit?”  The answer is no.. they’re Acrylic.

Frameless and Fabulous

Another bonus is if you like the modern and chic frameless look, Acrylic is your guy.  Your artwork can be what is called “face mounted” to a sheet of thick Acrylic, perfectly sealed to keep oxygen and moisture out and many years of enjoyment in.  A popular method to hang frameless Acrylic art is by French Cleat. Check our our article with a Step-by-Step Guide to hanging your art: How to Hang Art - Framed and French Cleat.

Shattering Fears of Shattering

Gone are the days of large pieces of Fine Art glazed with gigantic pieces of glass, hoping and praying it will get to its destination in one piece.  Acrylic to the rescue! It is known to stand the test of extremely high impact - which explains why it is used as both airplane and submarine windows.  Note this is not an invitation to drop your expensive Acrylic face mount on the tile floor to test this theory!

Sound Too Good to be True?

Seems like a no-brainer over glass, doesn’t it?  Now here is where things get a little hazy…

By far Acrylic’s biggest achilles heel is how unfortunately easy it is to scratch.  When we were just learning the ropes of handling Fine Art, our trusted framer taught us the ABC’s of dusting these precious Acrylic pieces.   We learned that a rogue molecule of dirt invisible to the naked eye could be carelessly scraped all over a piece of artwork, rendering it destroyed - all in an ironic effort to give it a sparkly shine.  He inadvertently instilled in us what can only be labeled as paranoia - we hardly breathed while meticulously dusting each Acrylic piece those first few months. Now it is old hat, and yes, thoughtful care is required, but no need to lose sleep over this process.  We have listed Step-by-Step Acrylic Cleaning Directions below along with Acrylic Care Tips to ease your fears!

Acrylic Care Tips

The gallery has given us plenty of practice and we have now successfully cleaned hundreds of Acrylic Fine Art stress-free and scratch-free.  Here are some tips we have learned along the way:

  • Use a brand new or freshly cleaned microfiber cloth each time
  • Remove the tag!  The last thing you want is the tag scratching up your Acrylic
  • Never use any chemical cleaners or solvents

Step-by-Step Acrylic Cleaning Directions

Acrylic does get dusty- whether you are obsessing over a single dust molecule or it’s been years since a good cleaning.  Do be mindful of its scratch-ability and proceed with care, but it’s a straightforward process and you can do it!

Supplies:

  • Spray bottle
  • Soft dry microfiber cloth
  • Clean hands don’t hurt!

Directions:

  1. Lightly mist Acrylic with water
  2. Take your microfiber cloth and rub with light to medium pressure in circular motions
  3. Fold microfiber so dry side is out and repeat the process until any streaks disappear

Typically, this method will do the trick.  If, in the rare occasion, goop, gunk or otherwise slimy substance has found its way to your Acrylic, you can purchase specific Acrylic Cleaner.  You would do the same process in place of water.

That’s it!  Pretty simple to maintain that sparkle and shine.



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