Home > Helpful Tips in Caring for an Antique Glass Picture Frame---Posted 9/7/09
Any glass picture frame 100 years or older would be considered an antique. While frames less than 100 years are considered collectibles, these too are beautiful additions to the home or office. However, if you are looking to buy or already own an antique glass picture frame, it is important to know the proper way to clean and maintain it.

Obviously, the benefit of using an antique glass picture frame over a modern day frame is that you have the unique opportunity of adding a piece of history to the home while displaying your cherished photos. Older glass frames bring something special to the mix, a story that involves the artisan, the origin of the glass, the technique for craftsmanship, and previous owners that had the chance to enjoy the same frame.

To preserve your antique picture frame, the process is not difficult but there are specific steps you would need to take. A little bit of care and the right materials would keep your frame looking beautiful so you could pass it down to future generations, keeping the history going. One of the most important things you need when caring for an antique picture frame is a soft cloth. Although glass used in older frames is very strong, durable, and thicker than you would find in modern frames, it is still old so you want to use something such as a new cloth diaper or anything made from 100% cotton.

As far as glass cleaner is concerned, there would be no problem in using a commercial product such as Windex but we suggest you also consider an organic or chemical-free product, which would be safer. To clean the frame, place it on a flat, sturdy surface, perhaps a kitchen countertop or dining room table. Beneath the frame, place towels so as you spray glass cleaner, it will not get anything else wet. With the face of the antique glass picture frame down, carefully open the back of the frame so the photo inside can be removed, if there is one.

Set the back cover aside along with the photograph, covering them with a towel for protection. Next, the glass portion of the frame will be removed. Typically, the glass should come out without incident, but if you find that it is stubborn from a buildup of dirt and grime, you may need to spray water onto the edges, allowing it to sit for about an hour or so to help loosen the glass piece. If this does not work, contact a local antique dealer, asking for recommendations.

With the glass out of the antique glass picture frame, use the glass cleaner on one side, washing and drying with the soft cloth before turning it over to clean the other side. The goal is to use as little cleaner possible but depending on the degree of dirt, you may need to be somewhat liberal. You would then need to spray some cleaner onto the cloth, wiping out the ridges of the glass picture frame itself. Once done, the glass would be put back into position.

You would then use the same cloth to wipe down the back of the glass picture frame, adding the photo you want displayed, followed by putting the back into position and locking it into place. The fasteners that hold the glass and backing in place should be in good condition but if not, you may need to visit your local hardware or home improvement store to purchase new ones or even purchase a replacement back. When done, you can proudly set your antique glass picture frame out for everyone to enjoy.

If you have the modern equivalent instead, the same general tips for caring for the glass picture frame will work well.


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