After discussing your project, the process for creating a display box is three fold.
The Acrylic Frame Sections
The sections of acrylic are cut from larger panels and the edges diamond polished to ensure a clean join. A shadow gap can be created in the space between the artwork and the acrylic sections.
Special acrylic glue is used to adhere the sections together. The
edges are usually butt-joined which gives a sharp, clean 90 degree angle
for the edges. These edges are softened slightly for safety after the
glue has dried.
Another method of joining the panels is to use one piece of acrylic
to form 2 or 3 faces. This is done by bending the acrylic with heat to
create a curved edge. The other sides of the box are then either
specially cut section of more acrylic to fit the gaps, or become part of
the support structure (more below).
If any full sides of the acrylic will be exposed for any reason they
will sometimes be gently flamed to soften then further. This might be
done if the acrylic section is specifically designed to be removable to
examine or change the object being displayed.
of great importance to ensure any method of fixing the artwork into
place is non damaging and fully reversible. It would of course be easy
to simply glue artwork into place but this is treason in the
conservation framing world.
As not every object is the same we’re required to come up with safe
and unique ways of fixing items into place quite often. However for more
common types of objects like stretched canvas art, books, and small
metal items we have developed special techniques for creating pleasing
The Support Structure
is usually constructed from Tulip wood as a frame to house the artwork
and acrylic enclosure. It can simply be a base, or can encompass several
sides of the cube.
In the case of display boxes for canvas frames, the support structure
will be very similar to a canvas tray frame but without the sides. This
allows the acrylic box to wrap around the canvas for a very interesting
display option. It allows you to view the sides of the canvas work
which has been required before.
The approach to take will depend on a discussion with you about your
art and goals for the work. Custom fabrics or finishes are sometimes
required when building the structure. Other times complex, bespoke
shapes are required that both hold the artwork in position and create
the backing structure.
When attaching the acrylic enclosure to the support backing, it’s
important to be as invisible as possible. To maintain safety we usually
go with a number of small screws to hold the acrylic face into position.
To create a more seamless visual we will paint out these screws the
same colours as the support backing, or sometimes use special screw caps
to hide them. Depending on the type of object you are framing it may be
possible to create an interesting feature out of this fixing area, much
like splines can do with normal frames.
Difference Between Plastic, Acrylic & Perspex
- Perspex is a brand name for acrylic.
- An acrylic is a type of plastic, usually polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA).
- A plastic is any (usually synthetic) material that can be moulded into shape without breaking. I.e. it has plasticity.
There are other types of acrylic brands such as Plexiglas (Often
misspelled as PlexiGlass). They’ve all got slightly different
properties but for display boxes – Perspex is the most commonly used.
Glass can’t realistically be used to create display boxes. The main
reason being that it’s particularly difficult to work into a clean
looking, safe shape. Acrylic is shatter resistant, lighter weight and
actually enhances the colours in the artwork.
The thickness of acrylic used for display boxes varies depending on
the size of the item being displayed. 5mm is usually what is required
for a pleasing, sturdy box.
Very large Perspex boxes can be created to display artwork several
meters in length. We’re comfortable framing work this size so please
contact us to discuss the options.