How to Guide... Movie Poster Framing | Base Memorabilia

How to Guide… Movie Poster Framing

In this article we will be covering movie poster framing discussing how much to spend, whether you should frame a movie poster to sell, choosing the frame and glass. Movie poster frames provide an ideal way in which to display your collection. In fact, a well-chosen framing solution will enhance the look of any poster and at the same time provide protection against accidental damage and reduce the effect of sunlight damage.

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Most people will buy a ready-made frame, off the shelf, from a high street or online shop. However, you should try to avoid doing this as it will not provide the same conservation benefits of having a movie poster framed by a professional framer. If the movie poster is of little to no value or you don’t do not plan to frame over a longer period of time this could be a short term solution. A professional framer can offer a range of framing options, from short term display through to long term conservation utilising museum graded products. There are three components to framing a movie poster; the frame, there is a huge choice here to match any decor. The glass/plexiglass, depend on the finished result and conservation protection needed. The mount-board, this will generally be acid-free, pH neutral offering protection for the poster from the backboard. More on these components later.

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Having a movie poster professionally framed is deemed to be an expensive option but it doesn’t always work out that way, with the cost between £70-£150 for a UK Quad or US One Sheet (depending upon the framing materials used). Obviously, when moving into higher graded museum conservation the price could be higher. Although £70-£150 may sound expensive, if you are framing a poster worth £600 the frame cost relative to the protection, the cost of the poster and prevention is worth every penny.

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How much does it cost to frame a movie poster?

Before deciding to get a movie poster framed it is a good idea to have an idea of how much you wish to spend. It is worth considering:

  1. How much is the movie poster worth?
  2. How long do you intend to keep the movie poster framed for?
  3. Where will the movie poster be displayed, is it in direct sunlight?
  4. Are there any other environmental conditions that could affect the movie poster?
  5. Will the movie poster be moved regularly?

If the movie poster is of little or no value and has no concern about long term preservation then a fairly cheap frame could be used for display. I have many UK Quad and US One Sheet movie posters framed using snap frames, these are rotated on a regular basis and I only generally frame newer movie posters in these. These can be bought online for £25-30 for a UK Quad or US One Sheet size with a 25/32mm profile.

If the movie poster has a significant value to you, both in monetary and sentimental terms then you will most definitely need to start thinking about conservation. UV-protected glass or plexiglass is a must and can be added for generally a small amount of money. As the conservation need increases then the overall price will as the cost of museum grade products are more expensive to buy. You can frame a UK Quad or US One Sheet with conservation mount board and standard plexiglass for around £80, for UV protected glass/plexiglass this will increase to around £100 and to use museum grade products the price will increase to £250+. I have eight posters of varying sizes framed using archival conservation products and these have been framed in excess of 10 years with no change to the movie poster.

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The cost of framing can be seen as expensive but you are framing a movie poster for the long term (15 years+) using conservation products whilst at the sometimes being able to enjoy and view the movie poster on a daily basis.


Should I frame a movie poster to sell?

If you plan to keep the movie poster for a short period of time and then sell it, I wouldn’t recommend spending any money on framing the movie poster. If you want to display for a relatively short period of time than a snap frame could be of use.

If you pay to have the movie poster professionally framed then you will be unlikely to recover your cost. If you have a £300 movie poster and spend £150 on framing it, then your investment is now £450 but the movie poster is only worth £300. Also, the biggest problem with selling a frame movie poster is condition is key, and collectors will be reluctant to purchase a movie poster without being able to see the overall condition and the quality of the frame. Should you find a buyer for the framed movie poster you will then have to ship it, with very few couriers being able to ship a framed UK Quad or US One Sheet let alone a US 3 Sheet or 6 Sheet.

Frame a movie poster for your own enjoyment only, never as an investment.

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Image used courtesy of originalvintagemovieposters.com


How should I chose a frame?

Choosing a frame will generally be down to personal preference and the decor where the movie poster will be displayed. Generally black seems to be the preferred colour with a white mount board, however, frames are available in lots of different colours and types, you can have a wood, metal or aluminium frame.

Your chosen framer will have a selection of corner samples in their showroom which you could check the movie poster with a selection of mount board to find your own preference. You may decide to break from the ‘normal’ Black frame with white mount board. Remember the movie poster is going to be displayed often in your house, so think about decor as well.

I personally like to try different options as a good frame will dramatically increase the visual appeal where an average frame will distract from the visual beauty of the movie poster. This part for me, is the most important and spending time here will be well spent, the framer may also be able to offer an expert view as well.

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Should I use Glass or Plexiglass for my movie poster?

When looking to choose between glass or plexiglass you need to be mindful that this will cover the movie poster in its entirety. It will often be the most expensive part of framing a movie poster due to the levels of conservation protection offered. I would highly recommend that extra money is spent to achieve UV protection which will prevent your movie poster fading due to sunlight or artificial lighting. Should this happen it will not be reversible and the damage is done permanently, even the best restorer/linen backer won’t be able to repair it.

The general rule of thumb is alway to go with plexiglass as it is lightweight and can offer UV protection. However, this is not always the case and there are many arguments to use either.

The benefits of using glass are that it is available in a variety of formats, from plain glass all the way through to museum grade conservation glass and can offer UV protection for not a lot more than standard glass. However, the risks of utilising glass are the weight when used in to cover a larger poster and are easily broken, breaking or shattering the glass could damage the very movie poster it was intended to protect.

The benefits of using plexiglass are that it significantly lighter than glass and are therefore ideal for framing large format movie posters. It offers superior protection due to its shatter resistant properties. However, the risks are that to achieve UV protection plexiglass is significantly more expensive than its glass equivalent and can be difficult to source high-quality materials.

If I was to frame a movie poster that I knew was going to stay in the same place and not move, I would probably buy glass due to the UV protection offered, better light transmission and reduced light reflection. However, if the movie poster frame was in a high traffic area and had the potential to be moved around the house, plexiglass is the only solution, however, the cost of sourcing UV protection will cost more money.  For example, a One Sheet sized sheet piece of UV protected glass will cost about £15-£20 where as a same sized piece of UV protected plexiglass will be £300.

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Image used courtesy of framers.co.uk. They are an picture framing business based in Wimbledon, London, SW19 and specialise in conservation movie poster framing and are Guild Commended and a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild.


Framing a movie poster in a light box can make it come to life, as intended by the designer. These types of frames work best when used with double-sided movie posters and often add depth to the main image. A double-sided movie poster will have a reverse image which appears as a slightly faded image of the front which enables them to let light through.

More to come on lightboxes, including my own light box project, stay tuned.
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