I'm often asked for my tips and recommendations on framing, so I thought I'd put together this quick guide.
Framing is principally about protecting the artwork, but, a great frame can also enhance its appearance. If you love your print and want to enjoy it for years to come then it's worth investing in a good quality frame, made from good quality materials. If your artwork is an investment piece then you need to invest in protecting it. There is a wide variety of off-the-shelf framing solutions available but nothing will compare to getting a frame made by a professional framer.
I have written this guide in the hope that it will inspire you when it comes to deciding how to frame and protect your print. For those interested in alternative DIY framing options, there are some useful resources at the bottom of the page.
Glazing and Framing
The beauty of framing is that there are endless possibilities.
Whilst most commercial frames are wooden, there is also the option to have a plastic (cheaper) or metal (typically more expensive) frame. A good framer will provide you with lots of options on framing materials, colour and finishes. The important thing to remember is there is no right or wrong way to frame your artwork.
A simple, neutral frame will enhance your artwork and make it stand out. Alternatively, you can make the frame an extension of the print by choosing a bold, statement colour. Sometimes the bravest frame choices are the best.
The paper I use to create my prints is made from the highest archival quality. I use waterbased inks and print on artisan acid-free paper.
Another consideration when framing your artwork is where you intend to hang it. If your picture is likely to be exposed to direct sunlight than you should consider having UV glazing in your frame. Direct sunlight can potentially degrade the quality of the print over time.
If you intend to hang your picture in a mostly dark room, standard glass is more likely to reflect light away from the print. Therefore, you might consider using non-reflective glass.
All framing styles fall into three main categories: matted, matless, and float-mounted. Whichever style you choose, be sure that your print does not touch the glass once it is mounted and set in the frame.
Most people are familiar with matted framing. It’s the most traditional approach and involves front and back mats which keep the print flattened. The front mat protects the print and stops it from touching the glass. Whilst this framing method is typically used for photography, it can also work effectively for prints. Matted framing creates the illusion of depth whilst giving the frame a low profile.
Matless prints can be shown with or without a border. If a border is desirable, it can be provided by the backboard or by the paper on which the artwork is printed.Most people choose to frame their artwork without any border which emphasises the image rather than the frame. In this case, the edges of the artwork run all the way out to the edge of the back board, giving the image more visual space. Borderless framing is sometimes called bleed mounting because the print runs to the edge of the board. Matless prints can be dry-mounted on board or front-mounted to plexiglass.
Common guidelines are to mount artwork with a 3 to 5 cm border, with the image offset fractionally above centre. For a mounted aesthetic that feels formal yet distinctive you can vary the spacing and vertical centeredness of the image. Try mounting horizontal images near the top of vertically oriented matboard, or vice versa. Of course, before you mount the images, move them around the matboard to determine what proportions will look best.
This is one of my favourite methods. Float mounting is the best method for framing artwork if you are looking to emphasise the texture, shape, edges and curl of the paper it is printed on. It allows the paper to hang on its own inside the frame, between the backing and the glass. A front window may be used, but is not necessary. If a window mat is not used, spacers maintain the distance between the glass and the backing. The artwork hangs from hinges, which are placed inconspicuously behind the print so that it appears to float within the frame.
Here are some websites and video I found that provide a good guide for doing it yourself.
The Complete Guide to the Picture Framing Process by Logan Graphic
How to Float Mount Artwork in a Picture Frame
Dead Simple Picture Frames. Easy Woodworking Project
How to Make Professional Quality Picture Frames
Don’t forget to tag me online in any pictures of your prints. I would love to see how you’ve framed them.