I often get asked how best to frame the prints I sell. While you can of course take a print to the framing shop- this is not always an affordable option. I chose to produce my artwork at either 8×10″ OR 12×16″ because these sizes are very common for photographs and are therefore very easy to pick up frames for in the shops. As photographs are almost always printed in and inch format, this instantly means the frames on offer in shops follow suit. WHERE TO PURCHASE FRAMES: Many high street shops and online stores sell frames, but my favourites are: ONLINE STORES:
eframe.co.uk HIGH STREET STORES:
Ikea (note that Ikea only sell frames in cm measurements- more info below)
Wilko SIZING: Once you know the size of your print, look for frames either at that size or larger with a mount inside that will fit your print. Mounts give a more traditional look and instantly make the overall finished article feel far more substantial and expensive. The addition of a mount also helps to fill wall space and prevent the print from looking a little lost. 12×16″ PRINTS
If you have purchased a 12×16″ print, look for frames that are either 12×16″ or 30x40cm (in Ikea for example). If you would like to buy a frame with a mount, look for a 16×20″ frame with a 12×16″ window within the mount. This is the most common size ratio of mount to frames for a 12×16″ print, but others may be available. If you are purchasing a custom frame you can always request a larger mount. 10×8″ PRINTS
If you have purchased a 10×8″ print, look for frames that are either 12×16″ or 25x20cm. If you would like to buy a frame with a mount, look for a 10x»8 frame with a 10×8″ window within the mount. This is the most common size ratio of mount to frames for a 10×8″ print, but others may be available. If you are purchasing a custom frame you can always request a larger mount. FRAMING YOUR PRINT: You will need to have your frame, your print and a roll of either framers tape, or for a cheaper option, use masking or washi tape. Remove all packaging from your frame and lift up the metal clasps on the back. Take out the backing board, paper insert and the mount. Give the glass or acrylic panel a clean down with a microfibre cloth to remove any smudges or dust. Taking the mount, place on the table face down and lay your print over the aperture also face down. Using your tape, cut 4 small slithers to tack the corners down. Hold up your print to see if its sitting straight within the mount. Not quite right? Simply readjust and re stick. Once you’re happy with its placement, cut long strips of masking tape and run these along the edges of your print and onto the mount, ensuring that the tape does not sit further in than the over lap of the print and mount. Make sure the tape is nicely smoothed out and adhered before popping it back into the frame. Replace the backing board, discard the paper insert and push the clips back down to hold in place. TA DA! you just framed your print! DISPLAYING YOUR PRINT: When choosing where to hang or display your framed print be mindful of direct sunlight. Prolonged, direct sunlight will have an adverse effect on the chemicals within the inks and cause the print to fade. As an example, my favourite wedding photo was on display in my previous home for around 6 years in the same spot. It was set on top of a shelf in a fairly bright room but didn’t receive bright sunlight to that area of the room. When I moved house I placed the photo on a window sill in a south facing bedroom. Within 6 months, the photo had faded drastically. The moral of the story is, take the time to consider how much direct, intense sunlight that wall or shelf receives before you make your final decision. My prints are produced using genuine canon inks that boast Chromalife 100+ technology. This ensures a long life for the print as long as they are displayed correctly. I hope you enjoy your print for many years to come, and if you have any questions, just get in touch! Whenever I sell my prints at shows, I always get asked «How would you frame this?» So I thought I’d share a few tips on framing prints (or any works on paper). Almost all of my art prints are sold with a white border on the edges. This does 3 things: 1. It gives the look of having a «built-in» mat around the print, making it look more like fine art and less like a poster. 2. It gives space around the edges so when framed, none of the image is covered by the front frame lip. (If you’ve ever noticed when framing a photo, the front edge of a frame can cover up an image by anywhere from 1/16″ on every side to even 1/4″ on every side, depending on the frame. That means up to an entire half inch of your image could be covered up!) 3. It allows the bottom signature, title, and (if applicable) number of the print to show. Signed prints are worth more than unsigned prints, and numbered limited edition prints are worth more than open edition prints, so it stands that most people want to show off the signature! (and on an «original print» — aka a hand-pulled printmaker’s work, like a lino cut, woodcut, lithograph, etc., the number in the edition is very important, too. To own a print out of an edition of only 20 makes the piece worth more than an edition of 200, which is worth more than an edition of 1000, etc.) Every artist will sign their pieces differently, but in general, signed on the front in pencil at the bottom of the piece is standard. So if your piece has that, proudly show it off! If you take your piece to a framer’s to be professionally framed, you may notice that more white space is left on the bottom of the piece than the top (or the mat may even be cut a little thicker on the bottom). This visually balances the piece. If too little white space is left on the bottom, it can feel cramped or top heavy. In terms of art preservation, it is better for a work on paper to be framed with a mat. The mat not only gives the piece more visual presence, but it keeps the artwork itself from touching the glass on the frame, which better protects the art. However, while it is safer for art on paper to be framed with a mat, it isn’t a requirement! These prints shown here are framed without a mat in standard off-the-shelf frames from a big box store, and I think they look great! I always personally lean toward simpler frame styles and colors, but your frame style should go with your decorating style. An ornate frame can really elevate a simpler piece of art. Here is a simple, small, black and white etching I did several years framed with a nice thick black mat and ornate gold frame. Note how the edition number, title, and signature are all visible at the bottom, and how much deeper the mat is cut on the bottom than the sides and top. The piece hangs in a formal dining room, so the elevated frame style works really well with the decor, despite the art itself being rather clean and traditional.
Regardless of how you frame your art, always make sure you are using archival-quality materials; that means looking for acid-free backings, papers, and mats, which will keep the delicate paper from aging too quickly. Art on paper, whether a print, photograph, drawing, pastel, etc. should always be hung out of direct sunlight (which can break down the paper and bleach the pigments) and away from moisture (which can cause mildew or mold or even make the art stick to the frame or glass itself, causing irreparable damage). And if you don’t have a local framer that you like, there are amazing online custom framing shops like Simply Framed and Framebridge that can frame your piece for you. Happy framing! p.s. All art shown here is mine, and you can shop my available art prints here! How do I frame my art prints? A question I’m asked repeatedly. In this post I’ll tell you my favourite ways to frame prints and the questions you should consider when deciding on how to frame your art print. These are some questions to consider before making the decision on how to frame your artwork:
- What material do I want for my frame?
- Which colour do I want the frame to be?
- Do I want a passepar-tout around the print or do I want the edges of the paper to be visible?
- What size should the frame be?
Before we delve into each question I want to emphasize that going to a good picture framer who will help you choose the right durable materials and custom frame for your precious art piece is very important. Never use anything but acid free materials for framing your art print! I frame my prints at Ninris Ramverk here in Stockholm and couldn’t be happier with the result.
1. WHAT MATERIAL DO I WANT FOR MY FRAME?
The most common materials are wood or metal. Metal frames can be thinner than wooden ones. I prefer wooden frames because of the texture. The perfect frame for me would be a wooden frame, as thin as possible without rounded corners. If you prefer the look and texture of wood, go for that option. If you want a frame that is as thin as possible, choose metal.
2. WHICH COLOUR DO I WANT THE FRAME TO BE?
Frames come in a variety of colours. For the black and white graphic style of my art I would go for black or white. When choosing colour always consider the wall where you’re going to hang your print. Also consider if there any other paintings close by that have frames in a certain colour or shape. How will the wall, the paintings and the furniture in the room form a harmonious entity? A black frame will be more accentuated and if the artwork is more on the light side with a lot of white space then I would choose black. On the other hand if you prefer a very light subtle style, then a white frame is a good option. When the image has a lot of black areas or rectangular form, white is a nice option. With that said, black or white, you can’t make a bad choice here.
3. DO I WANT A PASSEPAR-TOUT OR DO I WANT THE EDGES OF THE PAPER TO BE VISIBLE?
A passepartout, or picture mount, is an acid free cardboard with a cut out slightly bigger than the image that is mounted on the print. When choosing a passepartout, be careful that the colour goes well with the colour of the print paper. The paper that I use for my prints has a rough upper and lower edge which I really like. So instead of a passepartout I prefer to mount the print on black or white cardboard. The print is mounted with a small space to the cardboard which gives it a nice floating effect. When mounting on a white cardboard, as with the passepartout, be careful of the nuance of the cardboard. Make sure that the tape and the cardboard used is acid free and will not get yellow with time. Passepartout or not, it’s really up to you. A passepartout will have a more painting like feeling to it or mounted on cardboard will show off the rough edges and the water mark on the paper. When using a black frame the passepartout or background cardboard can be black or white. With a white frame, stick to white. When framing with the print mounted on a cardboard you want to choose a frame with some depth, a so-called box frame. A picture framer will have them in different depths and will guide you through all the questions and help you make the right decisions for you.
4. WHAT SIZE SHOULD THE FRAME BE?
If you have chosen the option with the print mounted on a cardboard, a good distance from the edges of the print paper to the frame is 2-3 cm or about 1 inch. If you’ve chosen the passepartout, you’re more free with the options. My prints are printed on 50×70 cm paper and I like the rectangular shape. With that said, some of the prints that have a square size will have a very large passepartout if you want the passepartout to be even on all sides. For those prints consider cutting them to a smaller size if you want to frame them with a passepartout. The print in the black metal frame in the photos is an example of that. A passepartout that is around 7-15 cm or 3-6 inches is a good option. Good luck with framing your art print! If you haven’t bought any art yet or want to find out more about the creative process explore my art gallery: If you have enjoyed this post and want to recieve emails to inspire a more creative life, join my community by clicking the button below: I would love if we could connect on social media! If you live in Stockholm I highly recommend my local framer Ninris Ramverk in Sickla.
Visit their website here: www.ninrisramverk.se Related posts: SaveComments We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing. (Image credit: Andrea Sparacio) I never quite felt like a real adult until I framed my first piece of art. All through college, I pinned giant collages of unframed art to my walls like a life-size scrapbook. Post-grad, I’ve slowly started framing my favorite pieces. Custom framing is expensive, so I scour thrift stores for well-made frames with glass and hit up my local art supply store for the rest of what I need to do my own custom framing. For more content like this follow Here’s one of the thrift-store frames I found. Although the print looks nice in this picture, up close it’s actually quite grainy and not worth saving. (Image credit: Emil Evans)
Budget Art Framing Ideas
Ready to get started? Here are the simple steps I use to custom frame my art on the cheap.
- Pre-made frame (including glass)
- Acid-free mat paper cut to the same size as frame glass (found at art supply stores)
- Mat cutter (optional)
- Acid-free artist’s tape (found at art supply stores)
- Thumb tacks or small nails (if nails, a hammer)
- Paint or stain for your frame (optional)
- Picture wire and 2 D-ring hangers (optional)
- Kraft paper to cover the back of the frame (optional)
- X-act knife
- Screwdriver to attach D-ring hangers (optional)
1. Find a frame that fits your art. I have two odd-size lithographs of spines by Metana Press on Etsy that I’ve been toting around for years in their original acid-free plastic because I couldn’t find the right size frames — custom framing is too expensive, and finding two identical odd-size frames at a thrift store is a shot in the dark. Happily, last month I finally found frames! Tucked away in the back of a thrift store, I found two matching fake veneer frames that were slightly beat up, but both had intact glass and were framing art that is the same odd size as the spines I want to frame. At $14 for the pair, it was meant to be. Since my frame is mass-produced, it’s backed with craft paper and foamcore (the white) held in with staples. I left the picture-wire attached since I’d only have to put it back on at the end. (Image credit: Emil Evans) 2. To disassemble your frame, flip it over and inspect how it’s assembled. Usually, the last layer on the back is brown kraft paper (just like most upholstered furniture has that black dust cloth to cover up the inner workings). Remove this by either running an X-acto knife along the inside edge of the frame or just tearing it out. 3. The next layer is usually a piece of foam core board, cardboard, or wood (if the frame is super old) held in place with staples (newer) or tiny nails (older). Use your pliers to gently pull all these out. If they’re staples or bent nails, discard them. If they’re old tiny nails that remain usable, feel free to reuse them at the end, especially since old frames with their original nails are super cool. 4. Finally, you can tip or pull out the foam or wood, then whatever art is in the frame, then the glass. Set the glass and foam/wood aside, and recycle the art. I painted my frames an ashy grey which picks up on colors found in the lithographs. (Image credit: Emil Evans) 5. If you want to paint or restain your frame, now’s the time to do it. I primed and painted the fake veneer a mellow, ashy grey. 6. Clean that glass, and clean it really really well, with whatever method you like best. I usually go for dish soap and water to remove sticker gunk and dust, then a clean dishtowel followed by clean, crumpled newspaper to remove any remaining lint. Wear gloves if you’re nervous about cutting yourself on the sharp edges. 7. At this point, it’s only important to keep fingerprints off one side — whichever side will touch your art — so feel free to support the glass from the bottom like a stereotypical butler does a serving tray. 8. Let your glass dry very thoroughly before assembling your framed art. 9. To mat your art, first wash and dry your hands, then make sure you aren’t bleeding from step 6 (which will ensure pure panic when you drip blood on the corner of your lithograph). 10. There are two ways to mat art: lay the art on top of the mat, or cut a hole in the mat and place the art behind it. Since I think the latter is too stuffy for my taste, and especially since mat cutters are hard to use without damaging the mat, I opted for attaching my art to the top of the mat. (If you choose the second option and you aren’t keen on cutting the mat yourself, you can take your mat to a custom framing shop and have it custom cut. Most shops will do this for a few dollars.) (Image credit: Emil Evans) 11. Center your art on the mat paper. A general rule of thumb is to center the image horizontally but leave more room at the bottom of the art than at the top. I decided to leave about the same amount of room since I’m going to hang these higher up on the wall. Since the artist’s tape is white and therefore hard to see, I traced over it in red. (Image credit: Emil Evans) 12. Once your art is centered perfectly, use artist’s tape (represented in red because it’s white in real life) to secure the top edge. This tape will hold your art in place while you attach it on the back. (Image credit: Emil Evans) 13. Flip your art up away from you — the tape on the front acts as a hinge — and add two long pieces to the back as shown. I don’t put tape horizontally because it’s too bulky and shows when you fold the art back down. (Image credit: Emil Evans) 14. Fold your art back down and remove the artist’s tape from the front. The long pieces of tape should hold your art without showing at the top. 15. Put it all together! Place the glass back in the frame — careful not to leave fingerprints — then lay it in the art. Lay in the foam or wood and gently tack pushpins or small nails into the frame to hold it in place. Use more than you think is necessary— at least one every six inches. Optional: If you want, cover the back again with paper. Use a thin line of glue to attach kraft paper over the backside of the frame. 17. If your frame is missing its picture wire, screw in two D-ring hangers on either side of the frame, equal distance from the top. (See image of the back of the original frame for an example). Twist picture-wire through both rings. 18. Clean any stray fingerprints off the front of your now-framed art, and you’re ready to hang! (Image credit: Emil Evans) Have a really great DIY project or tutorial that you want to share with others? Let us know! We love checking out what you’re making these days, and learning from our readers. When you’re ready, click here to submit your project and photos.
A Complete DIY Guide On How To Frame A Print
- Last Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Framing art prints, paintings, and pictures instantly breathes new life into a room. It allows you to personalize a wall and design a creative theme to improve the ambiance of any space. In this comprehensive guide, we go over the process of mounting and framing a print step-by-step. We also provide some money-saving tips and fun ideas on how you can creatively display art pieces after you frame them. Read on to learn everything you need to know for this DIY project.
Why You Should Frame Your Prints
Framing is a lovely way to display photo prints that are meaningful to you. A wall or a small space dedicated to your art prints not only enhances your living space but helps you preserve the art. When you keep your favorite poster or painting in storage, there’s a risk of dust accumulating on them or moisture damaging the print. Having them framed and displayed is safer since you can clean photos regularly to maintain their condition.
How To Choose The Perfect Frame
Choosing the perfect frame might seem challenging, but there are some simple guidelines you can use to help you pick the best one. Here are some tips on what to consider before settling on a frame!
- Think about the print. Each art print is unique, so the frame you choose should complement its colors, style, and texture.
- Thin frames work best for small types of artwork, while thick frames suit large pieces of artwork. In addition, the frame width and length will depend on whether you want to add mats around the center of the prints or not.
- Think about the space or wall where you’ll be placing the framed artwork. The style of the room, surrounding furniture, and existing art on the wall should be cohesive. Consider starting with a theme to guide your vision for the finished wall.
- You can get a frame in wood, metal, ceramic, plastic, or crystal, so experiment with different types of material. For example, if you’re going for a minimalistic style, a white wood frame would help a black-and-white photo blend in nicely with a white wall.
What You’ll Need: Materials To Frame Your Print
Before you start your DIY project, it’s important to have everything you need first. Create a checklist of the right supplies to get things rolling. This includes:
- Custom or store-bought frame
- Mat board
- Frame glazing (glass or acrylic)
- Picture wire
- Two D-ring hangers
- Measuring tape or ruler
- X-acto knife or box cutter
- Adhesive (mounting tape, double-sided tape, or picture corners)
- Staple gun
- Microfiber cloth & glass cleaner
- Lint brush
- Mat (optional)
If you’ll be using mounting adhesive tape, you’ll also need a rubber roller to get rid of any air bubbles as you mount your art print onto the mat board.
Why You Should Use Acid-Free Materials
The acid that is naturally present in framing and mounting equipment causes prints to develop yellowing over time. Why? Because non-acid-free materials contain lignin – a naturally occurring chemical from plant-based products. Lignin secretes acid gradually, leaving you with a faded or yellowed image. So if you want to make sure your art print lasts, it’s crucial to use an acid-free board, mat, frame, and adhesive. Once you have all your materials ready, it’s time to get to work! Follow these steps to mount and frame your art print like a pro.
Step 1: Measure The Width & Length Of The Print
Prints come in many different sizes, so a standard size frame won’t cut it for every print. Take your tape measure or ruler to measure its length and width. The dimensions should fit the board and frame perfectly. However, if you plan on including matting, leave about two to four inches of allowance for the frame width and length.
Step 2: Mount The Print Onto The Mat Board
If you’re using photo corners, place your art print on the board and attach these to its corners. For double-sided tape, stick this onto the board and place the print over it. If you’re using mounting adhesive tape, it would be helpful to have an extra set of hands. First, stick the adhesive tape onto the mat board. Next, gently peel a corner of the adhesive to expose the sticky side – you can use a ruler to tear off about one inch of the tape more easily. Then, carefully align the print to the exposed sticky part of the board. Firmly press down to stick it in place, and then begin to peel off around 2 inches of the tape at a time while using your rubber roller to release any trapped air bubbles. Once the print is mounted, check the edge of each side for overhang. Trim the parts that may be sticking out with your knife or cutter. Tip: If you’re mounting a particularly significant artwork, spray three coats of desert varnish on the photo and let it dry before sticking it onto the board. Desert varnish protects artwork from UV rays and acts as a protective layer.
Step 3: Prepare & Center The Mat Over The Mounted Print (Optional)
While some people skip this step, matting can add a sophisticated look to an art piece. We recommend using a pre-cut mat that is 1 to 1.5 inches all around (a pre-cut mat comes in standard size dimensions). We advise buying mats that aren’t too thin so that they don’t bend around the edges when placed over a print. Once you have the mat ready, put double-sided tape on the frame backing and center the mat over the picture or print. Alternatively, you can use your x-acto knife to make a mat yourself – just make sure to measure the dimensions evenly with a ruler.
Step 4: Lay The Glazing On The Frame
Thoroughly clean the glazing with a glass cleaner and microfiber towel to remove any dust. Check the edges for smudges, and avoid touching the glass with your fingers. We recommend using gloves to make this process easier. After, gently dust your mounted print with a lint brush and place it onto the frame.
Step 5: Attach Staples, Hooks, & Picture Wire
Staple the back of the frame to secure the picture. Next, attach two D-ring hangers on the sides of your frame about six inches below the upper part of your frame. Insert the picture wire into the holes of your rings and tie a knot on each side. The wire should have some slack so that you can easily hang it later on.
Step 6: Put Your Framed Art Pieces On Display
And just like that, you’ve successfully framed your print, and you can finally hang it! Express your creativity and display your frames in an attention-grabbing spot like a personal gallery wall. You could also hang them over your desk or repurpose a bookshelf into a frame gallery.
More Creative Ideas & Tips To Frame Your Print
To help you create the best display for your prints, we put together a few tips and ideas that may come in handy for your DIY frame project.
Create A Mock Frame Layout
Can’t figure out the best layout for your frames? Cut out some scratch paper with the same frame length and width for each piece, then tape them onto the wall to help you envision the final layout.
Paint Old Frames
Here’s a quick money-saving hack: paint old frames to make them look good as new! Remove the old paint with fine sandpaper, and use a spray can or paintbrush to add a new beautiful rich color.
Add A Border To The Print Before Mounting
Nobody wants fingerprint marks on their prints. Add a 2-inch white border to every art print, so that you can freely touch the edge of these when you mount it.
Mix Different Frame Sizes
While some people prefer to use the exact size frame for all their prints, mixing frame sizes can make a wall look more playful and inviting.
Choose A Unique Mat Color
Typically, an off-white mat is the standard color used for any print. But while the classic look is timeless, a bold color can embellish an art piece to make it stand out. For example, you can pair a black frame with a turquoise mat to add a pop of color to a black-and-white print.
Use Glazing With UV Protection
Make your prints last a lifetime by using glass or acrylic glazing with UV protection. Light can damage the colors of an art print over time, so a UV frame glass is your best bet in preventing this from happening.
Try A Floating Frame
A floating frame is a chic style for modern prints – it gives off a 3D look since the art print doesn’t touch the edges of the frame. You’ll still need picture wire, rings, and a board to create this, but you won’t need any glazing.
Visit Your Local Distributor
There’s no need to break the bank to get your hands on the best frames! Instead of visiting your local framer or bookstore, find out who the local frame distributor in your area is. When you buy directly from the distributor, you get the best price for the same quality – ideal for people on a budget who plan on buying a lot of frames.
Start Framing Your Prints Today
After learning about the ins and outs of framing, there’s no reason to leave your walls plain and boring anymore. Start hanging your favorite pieces of art up, and experience how vibrant the room will feel after! And if you’re looking to add the nostalgic warmth of old photos, have them restored at Image Restoration Center. Displaying restored photos is one of the easiest ways to personalize your home and remind you of your most treasured memories every day.
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