How We Preserve What You Love with Custom Framing

At Prairie Gardens, we know every piece brought to our Custom Frame Shop is something you love...and we love framing it. Whether your pieces are your favorite photos, family heirlooms or beloved artwork, what you love inspires us to create framed pieces you can visually enjoy for a lifetime.

But it's not just about the looks for us. It's also about quality, and us protecting what you love for a lifetime. That's why we source the very best materials and use the best construction to make sure your framed piece lasts and looks good while doing it. From the glass to the mats, learn the top 5 ways we preserve what you love in each and every custom frame job we do.


1. The Right Glass

One of the best ways you and we can protect what you love in a Custom Framing piece is choosing the right glass. There are 3 main glass options: Regular, Conservation Clear and Museum. 

While regular glass can work for many custom frame jobs, it does not provide near the protection as Conservation Clear and Museum Glass, which provide better UV protection, are more durable, provide better clarity, and more. 

left: Conservation Glass • Middle: Museum Glass • Right: Regular Glass

left: Conservation Glass • Middle: Museum Glass • Right: Regular Glass

Why choose Museum Glass?

  • Anti-reflective
  • Blocks up to 99% of UV rays
  • Optical Coating to brighten colors
  • Enhanced Surface for easier cleaning
  • Coatings engeniered for permanance 
  • No ripple effect on Glass
  • Premium 2.5mm thickness for strength and rigidity

Why Choose Conservation Clear Glass?

  • Blocks up to 99% of UV rays
  • Conservation grade UV coating 
  • No Ripple Effect on Glass
  • Premium 2.5mm thickness for strength and rigidity

2. The Right Mats

One of artwork's top enemies? Acid. Some matboards on the market contain acid and can cause discoloration or damage if used in a custom framing piece. All Prairie Gardens matboards are acid-free to ensure your piece is protected for a lifetime. Plus, each one of our mats are also bleed-free and fade-resistant. 

A mat containing acid caused acid burn on the above piece. At Prairie Gardens, every single one of our mats is 100% acid free to protect your pieces. 

A mat containing acid caused acid burn on the above piece. At Prairie Gardens, every single one of our mats is 100% acid free to protect your pieces. 


Choose from 2 types of 100% acid-free

matboards at Prairie Gardens  

Conservation quality matboards are purified and buffered with calcium carbonate to keep the pH neutral and safe for art. Best for limited edition prints, valuable documents, photography and art of a personal or monetary value. 

100% cotton matboards are made of cotton, which is naturally acid-free and lignin-free. Best for valuable works of original art, historical documents, original photography and any artwork that must be preserved. 

Mats provide another layer of protection by separating the artwork from the glass or frame.
— Alex, Prairie Gardens Custom Framer

3. The Right Mouldings

Each and every one of our frame mouldings are made from solid wood or metal materials. No resin materials are used, for frames that last and protect your pieces from environmental factors. 

Frame Mouldings at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL 

Frame Mouldings at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL 


4. Sealing During Construction

Once we combine your frame, mats, and pieces together, we add a layer of foam core (which is also acid-free), using points to secure it in place. We then we seal the space between the frame and foam core with sealing tape. This adds another layer of protection and prevents acid from entering your piece. 

Adding foamcore to a custom framing piece at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL

Adding foamcore to a custom framing piece at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL


5. Adding the Dustcover

Added to the back of the frame, the dust cover prevents dust, debris and dirt and other environmental factors such as insects from entering your custom framing piece and damaging your artwork. No piece leaves without it!

Applying the Dust Cover at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL

Applying the Dust Cover at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL


6. The Right Hardware

Right before it goes home with you, we make sure to add the right hardware, evenly attaching and threading sturdy copper wire across the piece. This ensures your piece will hang correctly to avoid damage from a fall.

Adding Hardware to a custom frame at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL

Adding Hardware to a custom frame at Prairie Gardens, Champaign IL


Want to peek behind-the-scenes some more? Watch a Custom Frame being made from beginning to end at Prairie Gardens!


Have something you love that you'd like to have Custom Framed? Visit one of our Frame Experts today! They're always on hand in our Frame Shop.