How to Replace Broken Glass in a Picture Frame
Picture frames are a common decoration in most homes, and they are also a common source of broken glass when knocked over. Your first response may be to throw the frame out and avoid the trouble, but if you especially like the frame, replacing the glass is a better option. You need to take the frame apart, safely remove all of the broken glass and measure for the size of glass you need. Then you can purchase precut glass or buy a cheap frame and swap the glass out. Once you have the new glass, cleaning and replacing it is all that’s left.
Removing the Old Glass
Take the frame apart.Work over a table so you don’t drop any glass on the floor. The back of the frame may be held in place with clips of some kind. Remove the back and the picture and set them aside. If the picture has any glass that is stuck to it, you can use a hairdryer to heat up and loosen the hold between the two.
Extract all of the broken glass.Carefully get all of the glass out of the frame. If the glass is broken into shards, you may need to shake the frame a little to dislodge any stuck pieces. Be careful when handling shards of glass. Broken glass should not be put into a trash bag, so place it all in a cardboard box or directly into an outdoor trash container or dumpster.
- Making sure all the shards are out of the frame is important. Any shards left in the frame may cause the new piece of glass to not fit properly, or may even break the new piece.
- Take precautions in the area where the frame broke to ensure no glass pieces are on the floor. If there are pieces of glass on hard floors, use a broom and dust pan to sweep them up. If there are pieces stuck in the carpet, you can use a vacuum, or use a cloth or gloves to carefully pick them up by hand.
Measure the opening where the glass sits.If this is hard to do, try measuring the cardboard backing. If you are not sure, make a paper template. You will be using this to get the correct size glass. If the picture frame is not a square or rectangle, always make a template.
- If can’t get a perfect measurement, it is best to choose a measurement that is shorter rather than longer. A slightly short measurement will make the new piece of glass a little loose in the frame, but a measurement that’s too big will cause the piece to not fit at all.
- For example, if the measurement is between 10 ⅝ & 10 ¾ inches, it’s best to go with 10 ⅝.
- Frames can be constructed in different ways. Yours may be just the metal frame and the glass sits directly in that frame, or there could be a cardboard insert where the glass sits. This is why it is important to measure exactly where the glass will be placed to ensure you get the right size.
Choosing Replacement Glass
Buy a dollar store frame and swap the glass.If the picture frame is a standard size, and you don’t have particularly high standards for the glass, this is a great option. Purchase a frame of the same size as the broken one. Then you can remove the glass from the new frame and use it in the frame you already have.
- Again, due to different frame construction, picking a frame for the same size picture won’t necessarily be the exact right size piece of glass. Compare any frame you consider buying to the frame you have at home to make sure the glass itself is the same size.
- If you can take the frame apart without opening a package or messing anything up, do this so you can check the glass more closely. Be careful not to break anything you haven’t purchased yet.
- You might even take your tape measure with you to check the new piece of glass.
Purchase a pre-cut or specially cut piece of glass.You can go to a specialty glass store or picture frame store, or you can go to a hardware store. Most picture frame glass is 1⁄8 inch (0.3 cm) thick, but you should try to check your frame specifically. Make sure to take your measurements with you to the store so you are sure to get the right size.
- Buying glass at a specialty store may give you the option of anti-glare coatings or extra clear glass that a basic picture frame won’t have.
- If the glass is exceptionally large, or is not rectangular in shape, such as an oval, you will almost certainly have to get a piece specially cut. If this is the case, you should take the frame to the glass store with you to help tell them the size piece you need.
Pay attention to the corners.Check the inside corners of the frame, along with the corners of the glass that broke. Some frames have glass with rounded edges. It’s important when you get a new piece to determine ahead of time if you need pointed or rounded corners. You don’t necessarily have to get the same kind, as long as the new piece will fit properly and not show its curves.
Installing the New Glass
Clean the new glass.Before you install the glass into the frame, you want to make sure both sides are clean. Spray window or eyeglass cleaner on the piece of glass and wipe with a paper towel. Make sure neither side has any streaks. If you don’t have glass cleaner, vinegar and warm water will work, too. Don’t use a cloth, which will leave small fibers.
- Since you will have to handle the glass, which could smudge it, you might want to wear gloves of some kind. It will help you avoid getting cut by the edges or smudging the glass as you clean it.
Insert the new piece of glass.If you have measured and chosen the new piece carefully, it should fit just right into the frame. If the piece is just slightly too big, you can use sandpaper to gently sand down the edges just enough to make the piece fit. Depending on the frame, it may be designed so the glass fits tightly. You may have to carefully angle or jiggle the glass to get it into place.
- If you do need to sand the piece of glass, wear gloves and be sure to sand over a table or counter that can be easily wiped up. Use a wet paper towel to wipe up the glass dust.
Put the frame back together.Put the picture back into the frame. If the frame has any type of cardboard insert, place this in next. Put the back in place and secure it with the clips, if the frame has them.
QuestionI accidentally broke a really important picture of my grandparents when I was playing with my tennis ball. I don't have a sheet of glass in the house. I didn't tell my parents, and I'm scared. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou could call them, and say that you messed up but are really sorry and want to fix it, you just need the right materials. They'll likely appreciate your honesty and maturity in fessing up.Thanks!
QuestionWhere can I get regular picture frame glass?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can just purchase another picture frame at a dollar store and use that glass.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I buy the glass if it's a high percent?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn that case, I would suggest you go to a store which specializes in selling or fixing frames.You can take the broken frame with you and give it to them to repair.Thanks!
I want to put some new pictures over some old pictures as I want to use the frames can I use tissue paper to separate the picture so as not to damage them
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