What's the Best Way to Clean Styrene (or any other plastic)?
Carefully! Unless the surface(s) are scuffed or damaged, use just a damp, lint-free cloth (to avoid static build-up). In the event of surface damage, you may try a polishing cream - but these are generally best used on Acrylics. Our Artshield range can be cleaned by any of your preferred methods as it has extremely tough surface coatings.
How Do I Cut Plastics?
The most commonly used 1.25 and 2mm styrenes can be scored on both sides and snapped. Use a wall mount cutting system (see Fletcher-Terry and KeenCut) or a craft knife. Thicker plastics should be machine cut and are best bought cut-to-size. Cutting shapes etc requires proper tools and practice and is best left to your supplier.
I've Heard of a Scratch-proof Plastic, What Is It?
These are plastics (usually acrylics) with very tough coatings on both sides. These coatings will withstand virtually all common causes of scratches and scuffs - you can even rub them with wire wool! The coatings also greatly reduce static build-up, thanks to their much lower friction coefficient. They also resist a wide range of chemical and environmental hazards. Our own Artshield range offers these benefits in clear, diffused and UV filtering versions.
I've Heard that Plastic Should Not be Used for Certain Artwork
Yes - do not use plastic over pastels, chalk or any other powdery medium. Care is also required with textiles etc. Main problem is static build-up when the plastic is cleaned. This can cause very strong attraction and lift particles (of pastel, chalk, textile etc) from the substrate and onto the inside face of the glazing. Not a good idea!
What about Light Transmission etc of Plastics?
Styrene is very similar to glass of the same thickness, reflecting <8%, absorbing <2% and transmitting the balance (>93% max). Although colouration is not a real issue, acrylics win here - and can be as good as waterwhite glass in this respect. UV light filtration is similar to glass - i.e. unless specially formulated as such, they are not UV filters. When formulated as such, UV filtering acrylics are very good, typically blocking out 98% of harmful UV light. Polycarbonate sheet does filter UV quite effectively, but in the process is degraded and eventually goes milky white.