3 Tips For Framing Your Art

Tips For Framing Artwork - Choosing Art Frames, Matting And Print Sizes

So you went to a local pop up market or an art walk or even a gallery and you perused and debated and finally bought that one original art or even a few art print pieces. You don't think about it until you get home and wonder, "Now how do I pick the frames for this? What sizes?" So you decide to leave in the closet or just laying against the wall, until you get time to figure it out. Very often artwork just lays around the house rather than on the wall. You become overwhelmed because you think framing can be pricey, plus you are overloaded with options - What mat board should I buy? What size? What color? What color should my frame be? And then you think about that nail that will go on your wall to hang up a or few pieces. Before you know it, that weekend that you wanted to get it done, has rolled by and the artwork is still there on the floor or closet, still in its original packaging.

Whether you live in a house or a rental or an apartment, it doesn't matter. Frames do not have to be expensive. It can be simple and fun

Tip 1: Art Print Size

Most of the artists pick a very standard size for their art prints for which the frames are readily available in store like Michael's or Target. These stores also have ready made frames with the different colored mat board that go with the size of the frame. Michael's will also customize your mat board and even offer a few suggestions for the kind of frame. Below are a few art print sizes for you to see for a visual comparison:

8"x 10" Art Print

12"x 16" Art Print

12" x 18" Art Print

Tip 2: Mat Board

People often are overwhelmed at the frame store when it comes to mat boards. There are so many colors and varieties available. The size of the mat board also creates some confusion. Using a mat board, is the best framing trick ! The mat board opening is the space that is cut in a thick paper board that allows the artwork to peek through and it is to separate the artwork from the glass for air flow. Mat boards can be customized and cut to fit the frame if you bought a bigger size. Just make sure the window of the mat board is not big for the art size, else the art work will fall through it. Hint: Leave a quarter inch extra on each side so that the artwork doesn't just fall through the window. (For example: if the art print measures 8x10", the actual mat opening should be 7.5x9.5"). Ideally, the mat board should be lighter than the artwork but darker than the wall.

 One question I have been asked a lot is what to do if the art print is too small for your intended display wall. The solution: and solutions when it comes to mat boards: Buy a frame that is 2-3 sizes up along with the corresponding mat. 

A mat board can be any color. The trick is to find something that makes the artwork stand out without distractions. Always stick with a bright white mat on archival board. (Choosing archival means that the white won't fade to grey or yellow as time passes.) Any framing store will be able to cut a mat for you based on the frame size, artwork size, and the preferred mat board color. See the visual comparison below.

Easy solution: Buy frames with pre-cut mats included with the frame like these.

Personal recommendation: Simple fuss free simple black or white mat acid free/archival mat board.

Bird of paradise; black frame with white mat board

Bird of paradise; white frame with white mat board

Tip 3: Frame 

When selecting a frame, remember the artwork is the star here and not the frame. The style of the frame should match the artwork. The frame should enhance the artwork and not be too distracting. If you want to really focus on the artwork, you could choose a frame the same color as your wall so it visually disappears. 

Personal recommendation: Choose a fuss free black or white or brown frame.

Light and moisture are bad for the artwork. Clear picture frame glass or plexiglass is most common and least expensive especially for an art print. There is also UV filtering glass (museum quality) which is the most expensive and comes in clear or non-glare. This is the highest quality glass and is used for expensive artwork and archival framing and original artwork.

If you seek help at the framing store, they will help you with more recommendations. Most of the stores carry frames with pre-cut mats that have the size of the frame and the size of the artwork that will fit in that frame and mat board. Here are some common recommended frame sizes for artwork:

  • Art print size: 8"x10" ; Frame + Mat size: 11"x14"
  • Art print size: 12"x16" ; Frame + Mat size: 16"x20"

Note: Its difficult to find frames in 1/2" sizes like 15.5" or 19.5"

Happy framing and enjoy your art on the walls or table or even the floor, but enjoy it and don't let it hide in the closet :) 

Pssst..: Bird Of Paradise art print used here is available for sale in the shop here.

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