After years of hard work and dedication, your certificate or diploma is a symbol of the fruit of your labors. You worked hard for it, and it deserves to be displayed with care. Framing your certificate not only puts it on display in your home or office, but also keeps it protected against environmental factors like light and moisture that could damage or destroy it.
But how should you frame it? Certificate displays don’t have to be boring and basic. Here are some tips and fun ideas for adding your own personal style and flair to your certificate or certificate display.
Quick Tips for Framing Certificates
Whatever style of framing you decide to use, there are a few features it will need to have to keep your certificate protected. Part of the value of the framing is preservation. Certificates are generally made from relatively sturdy paper or parchment materials, but they’re still vulnerable in the long term to fading, water damage, tearing, and other problems.
The glass or acrylic at the front of the certificate should be UV resistant. Professional framing companies use glass or acrylic sheets that are treated to reflect ultraviolet light away, instead of letting it pass through to the canvas or paper beneath it. This is important, because like many paper goods, certificates and diplomas are quite vulnerable to fading when exposed to sunlight.
If possible, you’ll want to consider having it framed professionally. You can also consider a DIY approach if you’re confident in your abilities. What you don’t want to do is to put it in a basic store-bought frame from a big box store or craft supply store.
The reason is that low quality frames can actually make your certificate more likely to sustain damage over time. Most inexpensive ready-made frames have a basic cardboard backer and clear plastic or glass.
The problem with cardboard is its low pH. It’s actually slightly acidic, and that means it can very slowly eat away at a document stored up against it, by degrading the bonds in the chemistry of the paper itself.
The glass or plastic is also a problem, because it’s rarely UV resistant. Even in rooms with limited natural light, the certificate will gradually yellow with time, and the inks and pigments will fade away.
The good news is that not only will professional framing protect your certificate for decades to come, but you’ll have plenty of creative aesthetic options.
Use a Shadowbox for a Dynamic 3D Display
Many certificate displays are two-dimensional, like a painting. But you can also consider adding some depth and dimension to it with a shadowbox frame. Shadowboxes are frames with added depth, which project more from a surface than a typical picture frame.
Create a Custom Decorated Frame
You can talk with professional framers about your options for different colors, different woods, different metals, and different degrees of ornamentation, to help make your certificate display truly your own. From sleek, barely-there minimalist frames, to ornate baroque woodwork, you’ve got plenty of options.
Use a Leather Frame for a Sophisticated Look
Rather than a typical frame, many people opt to mount their certificate on a leather board.
Mount It on a Plaque
Custom engraved plaques are also an option for displaying your certificates. They offer a classic, aesthetically striking, and sophisticated look that complements many decor styles.
Have It Permanently Laminated
Laminated wood is another alternative to basic picture frames. The certificate is laminated permanently to a fixed wood frame, often oak or cherry. This produces a sleek, minimal look. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that once it’s been done, the lamination process is not reversible. You won’t be able to reframe it later if you choose this option.