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How to frame art made on paper and canvas

In this article, you’ll find the basics on framing and how one can do so without having to spend a ton of money. It’s suggested that you go to a professional framer, as it takes quite a bit of time to learn how to frame a piece with high quality. And, despite the fact that we layed out several articles that tell one how to pick a high-quality frame that adds beauty to the piece and doesn’t take away from it. Also, know that professional framing is expensive and that if you’re forced to mount entirely solo it can drain your pockets, especially if you aren’t showing your work in a commercial space.

Know that every artist has their own taste and style and even though the frame should match the art, and not the room that the art is placed in. A good frame sort of dresses up the painting. It helps give the art a finished look, while improving upon the visual aspects of the artwork. The ideal situation would be to simply pick a wooden frame that matched the color and style of the artwork.

So, what do you need to do to frame art on paper?

When you’re framing your work, you must remember that every piece requires certain things such as:

White vs. Color Mat

Most framed work on paper that is made of photography has a white mat and a very basic frame around it. You’ll see plenty of things such as this if you go to a museum. Even though you are picking a mat that matches your styles and tastes you still want it to be fairly reserved. And, remember, if you aren’t too sure about the color, white is the best way to go.

If this is you first time framing art and you aren’t too sure about the color, you should always go with an off-white mat instead of a colored one so that it won’t overpower the print or drawing. If you’d still like to play with the color a little bit, pick a double mat. Color mats can easily overpower a drawing while a white or off-white mat won’t. There are different shades that one can purchase a white mat in, and you need to pay attention to the color temperature of it. As long as you match the temperature of the mat to the color temperature of the white in your drawing, either cool or warm white works.

Should you use a single or double mat?

If you decide to do a double mat, you want to have a color mat as the inner layer and an off-white mat as the outer layer. This helps the overall color of the photo remain off-white. This is actually an area that professional framers are extremely good at (us). Professional framers have the know-how to pick the correct colors for the outer and inner mats as well as match that with a frame that is of the correct style and hue.

Picking the correct tape and backing

All the material that is used should be acid-free; this includes a double-sided tape and the backing. If you do use products with acid, the piece will yellow over time. Tape is the item that holds it all together.

Also, you should know that the ready-made frames found in Walmart and craft stores do not come with acid-free backing which makes them unsuitable for professional framing.

It’s usually a good idea to go to a framer, so that the correct mat can be chosen for you. If you do, however, plan on doing quite a bit of drawing and selling of your own work, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a professional mat cutter.

With a mat cutter you are able to cut your mat down to whatever size you’d like. One would also be able to make a nonstandard opening, meaning that you can cut the mat to any size frame.

One can determine the quality of a mat not only by its thickness but also by the cleanness of the beveled corners.

The inner corner edges can look uneven if the blade isn’t new or is cutting sloppily.

What’s best acrylic plexi-glass or glass?

One can frame drawings with ordinary glass but the overall size of the piece must be considered. Consider the downside of ordinary glass; it’s heavy, it can break into pieces (meaning that it can cut into the art), it’s also reflective. Just consider where you’re going to hang the artwork so that it minimizes reflections.

Plexiglass, on the other hand, is lightweight and is typically used in galleries to minimize damage to the work. But do consider that plexi-glass scratches easily and can be rendered useless once it receives one. Also, plexi-glass is pricier than glass and it can be reflective; meaning that you need to search for a non-glare one.

Wood frames vs metal frames? You have to consider the lifespan of your display

The three types of frames are: metal, wood, and plastic. Choosing one of these types of frames depends entirely on the amount of money you’re trying to spend. It’s highly suggested that you do not give into framing your work using a plastic frame; they don’t last very long. They also don’t provide enough support for pieces left in humid and hot climates as they bend very easily in such places.

What is a metal sectional frame?

They are a great alternative to plastic frames if you don’t have a ton of money to spend on them. They last for quite some time and don’t fall apart easily. These types of frames come in a number of styles and colors, are easily assembled, and hold the shape they have for a very long time. Many metal sectional frames have canvas depth, meaning you can frame canvas art as well.

What is a Real Wood Frame?

One can find a real wood frame in a number of styles. Wooden frames have a varied finish and width, and a professional framer can break it or make it by choosing the right frame for the art. The richer the artwork, the wider the frame. The style of the frame is much more important than the width because of the idea that it needs to be able to complement the drawing.

Then, we have the American Frame. You can buy these size frames at any craft store. You do have to pay attention to the quality and variety of the frame in question however, when you purchase them.

Canvas floater and shadow box frames

One will occasionally find that shadow box or canvas floater frames work better than traditional frames. Glass will suspend the art in the middle and create open space between the art and the frame.

Here you have it, how to frame a piece on paper and canvas. And don’t forget that we do custom framing here as well.


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