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How to frame your artwork

Whether you are an artist or an art collector, framing is an important part of the selling/buying art process. Not all artworks require framing but depending on the style, medium and surface, some artworks might look better with a frame while prolonging their life at the same time.

Artwork on canvas

Work on canvas doesn’t necessarily require framing and for that reason many artists paint the edges too. So when you hung such paintings on the wall, the image that continues around the edges makes up for the frame. However, if the edges are too narrow, some artists and collectors prefer to frame the artwork for protection as the wooden frame might cut through the canvas or it might warp in time. Small paintings on canvas look good in floating frames (a small square in the middle of a bigger one). They are elegant and make the artwork look bigger as a whole without being distracting from the picture itself.

 

Artwork on paper

Acrylic, oil paintings and mixed media art created on paper need framing to be hung on the wall. While some artists sell their work on paper unframed and un-mounted leaving it to the buyer to frame it in their favourite style, other artists choose to frame their paintings, especially if they submit the artwork to various exhibitions. Just a simple mount and frame in the colour and style of the painting is enough to protect the artwork for generations to come.

 

Prints, Drawings and Watercolour

Prints, drawings and watercolour paintings require special attention as they need glass for protection against fading. It is important to make sure the glass doesn’t touch the artwork as it needs a bit of space to avoid the condensation being absorbed into the artwork. Another requirement is an acid free mount and backing board to avoid mould building up over time.

 

Professional framing

When it comes to framing artwork, unless you are trained, it is better to leave it to the professionals. Find a good framer in your area that knows all about art mediums, framing styles and mounting. From gloss finish frames for a modern look to antique white for a rustic approach, frames come in a variety of styles, sizes and colours. The framers will discuss with you what is best for the artwork and they also have various samples they put against an artwork so you can visualize how it would look like.

 

Do it yourself framing

Unless you are a trained framer, we only recommend framing your own artwork if the size is standard and you find good quality standard frames and mounts in the shops. You can also order good quality custom made mounts. Also bear in mind that the frame will be bigger than the artwork allowing for the mount to come in between. For example for a 6” x 6” artwork the frame should be 8” x 8” allowing for a 2” mount around it.  However, you can opt for an even bigger frame and a wider mount if you want the piece to take up more space on the wall. If this is the case, make sure the frame is simple so the artwork won’t look lost. You want the artwork to stand out so make sure you frame it accordingly.

 

Tips:

  • Matching the style: make sure the style of the frame is in tune with the style of the artwork. The frame shouldn’t take the attention away from the artwork but complement it. Avoid ornate golden frames for abstract artwork and gloss finish frames for traditional landscapes in oils.
  • Matching the size: make sure the frame is bigger than the artwork allowing space for the mount. Depending on the size of the artwork and how big you want your frame to be, you can have narrow or wide mounts. A professional framer will know exactly how wide you can go with your mount without taking the attention from the picture.
  • Matching the shape: a landscape oriented artwork requires a landscape frame, a portrait one requires a similar frame and a square shape artwork looks good in a square frame. However, you can mix and match if you want a quirky look or if you intend to create an accent wall with small artworks framed in various style, sizes and shapes. 
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Art2Arts Gallery LTD - Trading as Art2Arts. Registered office: 30 Lower Derby Road, Portsmouth, PO2 8EX. Registered in England. Company registration number: 7795357.