Once you finally earn your long-awaited college or university diploma, don’t keep it rolled up in a tube or filed away in a drawer. After all, the tube or folder that you may use for storage is likely not acid-free and will, in and of itself, contribute to damage over time. Your diploma is one of the most expensive and valuable credentials you will ever earn, and it’s never too soon to put this “personal marketing tool” to work in your home or office.
When considering showcasing options, only one of the three primary choices is recommended as the best way to preserve your diploma: custom framing.
1. Custom Diploma Framing
This option is highly recommended because quality custom framing is completely reversible, meaning that you can remove the document at a later date without damaging it. This approach affords some unique advantages:
Advantages of Custom Framing
- Easy to change the style or colors, should the need arise
- Safe removal of your diploma to be reproduced, if necessary
- Document is safely “isolated” away from the glass to greatly reduce the risk of humidity damage
2. Using a Plaque for Your Diploma
The least expensive option (which is not recommended) is to place your diploma in a plaque. With the plaque, the diploma is showcased on a wooden board with an acrylic sheet over the document for protection. Some styles do allow you to easily slip in the document behind the acrylic, while others use four brads that may require poking holes in the document.
Plaque for your diploma
Obviously, the latter is unacceptable for a diploma. From a conservation perspective, even the “slip-in” plaque style is not ideal because the document is in direct contact with the acrylic. The problem is that if moisture builds up or if the plaque is exposed to high humidity, the document can stick to the acrylic and tear upon removal. In some cases, this lack of “breathing room” for the document can contribute to staining or even mold and mildew growth.
3. Permanent Lamination
Permanent lamination for your diploma
You can also choose to have your diploma permanently laminated to a cherry or other finish wood board, commonly with gold highlights. This makes a nice presentation, but is not recommended because it is totally irreversible. Because your diploma is permanently encased, you can never change or update the look. I have also personally discovered that if you have a diploma with a gold seal or honors sticker, such as Cum Laude, this type of lamination completely flattens the embossed wording on the seal so you can no longer read the honors inscription!
Key Tips for Custom Diploma Frame Selection
- Your diploma should never be dry mounted, spray mounted, or otherwise permanently adhered to a board for framing.
- As with any important document, it should be hung within a mat opening, either from the top with archival tape or hinged to a conservation-quality backing board using archival mounting corners. It is best for the document to have room to expand and contract with changing temperatures, and even a slight “wobble” in the document is preferable to permanently and irreversibly pressing it flat.
- Your diploma should be custom-framed using a high-quality mat that both showcases the document and keeps it away from the glass.
- You’ll want to ensure that the matting and backing materials are not just buffered to be acid-free but are designed for “conservation.” This will be indicated in the documentation for the frame or on the mat board samples and specification sheets. Depending on the size of your document, the mat should typically be 2.25” to 3” wide.
- You’ll want to choose an attractive frame that coordinates with your home or office environment. Why not splurge for something you really love, since you’ll be looking at your diploma for many years to come?
- Either choose a location for your diploma that is not near direct sunlight or consider an upgrade to UV protective glass.
If you’re a soon-to-be college graduate, now is the time to start thinking about preserving your diploma to maximize its career-building value. Even if you graduated a few years ago, it’s never too late to give your diploma the showcase that it deserves. For parents seeking the ideal graduation gift, a custom diploma frame is a great idea—what better tribute to your child’s many years of hard work and dedication?
OUR CUSTOM DIPLOMA FRAMES
Custom framing is the safest and best option for showcasing your diploma. We can help you frame your diploma, certificates, and any other special documents you may have. Our diploma frames:
- Are handcrafted and custom made-to-order in the USA
- Use museum-quality matting, backing, and mounting materials that meet Library of Congress standards
- Are available in a variety of frame styles and frame mouldings
Lucie Voves is the President, Founder and CEO of Church Hill Classics/diplomaframe.com.