Why it is Important to Properly Frame Your Diploma

Diploma Framing

Stain from wood pulp mat boards sold by college stores

When it comes to framing, few people properly frame the most important thing in their professional life, their college diploma.  As a matter of fact, many people overpay when they buy the off-the-shelf frame at the college book store because it was quick, yet expensive…for the quality they received.

One would figure if you put in several long hard years, as well as many thousands of dollars, you would want to protect that achievement.

Given this, one should take the necessary steps to ensure the matting, glazing and backing all have the preservation quality elements to protect the diploma for a long time and prevent any fading or color flatness.  As it is known – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Without UV filtered glazing

Example of the damage light can do when constantly hitting colors and ink over time


Virtually all of the college stores offer frames with no form of TRUE conservation treatment.  The glass is either regular commercial grade, or at best a lower grade of UV protection.  The glass or acrylic must contain 99% UV filtering properties to protect the diploma from fading or toning over time.  Remember, light hits your diploma on a daily basis.  Think of the effect this will have on your diploma over time.

Additionally, the matting needs to be made of museum quality 100% cotton rag.  Cotton is an inert material that is stable in its purest form.  A “mat burn”, evident with lower quality paper mats (common in a typical diploma frame), will create a discolored band around your diploma (see the diagram).

Regardless of the processes used, any mats that are not made of cotton, will eventually break down and cause bleeding of the contaminants onto the diploma.  This is why the matting and backing must be archival quality.

With commonly used matboards, environmental factors such as heat, light and humidity (and pollution) will interact with the matting and cause it to break down and release acidic gasses, no matter how it is treated.

My belief is since you are going to frame your diploma once, it should be done correctly to last a long time.

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