I’m going to describe best practices for framing here but caution you that using these methods is expensive. I myself sometimes use these methods for art in my own home and sometimes I don’t. Not everything needs to be handled this way. Not everything needs to last for 100 years. In short, if you have art or prints you have hidden in a drawer because you cannot afford museum grade framing, maybe you need to rethink the plan so you can enjoy the art you own now.
Archival framing methods are the way to go, which means 100% kozo paper hinges, 100% cotton rag, acid and lining free, alkaline pH buffered 4-ply mattes, and conservation glass or Plexiglas.
You can also go with plastic corner mounts and hinge the top matte to an acid-free foam core backing with acid free linen hinges.
There is some back and forth on buffered and non-buffered matte board, but with concerns about general acidity of the air, using buffered matte board is the more conservative method.
I have always found Japanese paper hinges (using rice starch paste) a real pain to work with, so I tend to use a middle ground:
- Acid-free linen tape hinges
- 100% cotton rag, acid and lining free, alkaline pH buffered, 4-ply mattes
- Conservation glass or Plexiglas
- Acid-free foam core backing
For something that you want to be long lasting as well as reversible (so the owner can have the print or art re-matted later, etc. if so desired) you will want to avoid dry/cold mount methods.
If you insist of entire adhesion to backing for a totally smooth appearance, digital prints should probably not be heat mounted. Ask your framer or reprographics professional. In Pittsburgh, that is Modern Reproductions and Tristate. But lets face it lots of things can be fully mounted.
Pictureframes.com has a “personal frame shop” on their top header. This is a great way to try on mats and frames and you can even select a wall color behind the framed art. You have to upload an image from your computer. Because color can appear differently on a screen than it does in reality I still suggest using a local framer. In the Pittsburgh area I like (in no particular order) Boxheart Gallery, James Gallery , Framezilla , and Panza Frame and Gallery. And I think you should not feel embarrassed to take your big discount coupon to Michaels as well. They have archival and museum glass too.
If you decide to have any of my work framed via an online framing business, you must take the dimensions from my actual art once you receive it and not from my “approximate dimensions” listed for each piece.
Framing is up to you! Yes archival framing is best but expensive, just do what you can to get art on your walls and enjoy it!