Posts Tagged ‘art’

When I first placed my diploma in a concrete frame, I worried about any accelerated deterioration.  Since then, I have really tried to research the variables that will help preserve documents, art, and anything else someone may place in a concrete frame. There are a number of factors that will cause your pictures to fade, wear, or deteriorate prematurely.  I wish to discuss some of these factors and provide basic suggestions.

Humidity is the biggest threat to photos and documents.  The Library of Congress states that environments over 60% relative humidity will accelerate deterioration.  It is recommended that photos be stored at 30%-40% RH.  Less humidity is better for long-term storage, but when you consider that very low humidity can also cause skin irritation, difficulty breathing and increased static electricity, it is best to find a happy middle ground.  According to the weather channel, the appropriate range of indoor humidity is between 30%-50%.  Controlling the humidity will keep your photos, and everything else, from mildew, rot and premature decay.

Temperature also affects the lifespan of photos.  The Library of Congress suggests that around 68 degrees is best for around the house.  Colder is better, but no one wants to wear a down jacket inside.  Heat is particularly tough on color prints and causes fading and loss of photo contrast.   Again, there needs to be a balance between photo and human comfort.

Ultra-violet light will sap the life out of photos as well.  UV light will cause photos to become brittle and prone to being damaged easily.  Colors can fade and yellow in the presence of these light rays for a prolonged period of time.  To avoid this, photos can be placed out of sunlight, under safe lighting source, and behind UV filtering glass.  Any one of these remedies could keep your artwork around for future generations.

Acidic environments (pH less than 7) also cause harm to pictures.  This is what I first thought about with my concrete frame.  Concrete is inherently alkaline (pH greater than 7).  That is why it can protect embedded bare steel from rusting for centuries.  This acid-free characteristic makes concrete ideal for storing or displaying photos.

I keep returning to the combination of wood and concrete.  I am currently working on a hall table with a concrete center, natural oak border and rugged oak legs.  I realized that this will be my third table with wood and concrete working together.  I still have a design of a coffee table in the works that will use wood, concrete, and glass.  I am surprised that I have not used more steel bases because I manage myself well with the welding machine.  The natural beauty of the wood and simple, clean look of the concrete keep me going.  I’ll be sure to post the hall table as I get closer to finishing it.

Update: It has been completed
and details can be found on
the Rustic Hall Table page.

(Found under Concrete Coffee Tables)

Have you ever heard of hanging pictures outside?  With concrete picture frames and concrete tables, your art can be displayed outside all year long.

I have been spending a good bit of time outside lately.  The weather is fairly nice, the bugs are not too bad and the various projects are making progress.  I was looking at one of the round concrete tables that I am working on for some friends and realized that it would go great on their patio behind their house.  This concrete is very tough and will not rot, mold, melt, rust, or be eaten by pests.  It is perfect for outdoor applications.  I  can imagine my Beach Table beside some lounge chair  at the pool.  It would work perfect in that application.   I may have to build a pool just for that reason.

Concrete picture frames or Mirrors can be waterproofed with any common sealer and be used outside all year long.  With good solid concrete, the frame will withstand any temperature, any amount of water, and it will take decades of freeze-thaw cycles before any effects are even noticeable.