The first thing to know about
framing is that it should make the art look good. Good
presentation enhances the art; bad presentation can
kill it. Choices of presentation should provide a
background that draws the observer's eye to the art,
but should not overpower or compete with the art.
The second thing you should know is that
framing is supposed to take care of the art. Preservation is important, because most damage to art
on paper is caused by improper framing. Presentation
mistakes can always be corrected, but mistakes
in preservation are usually permanent, leading
to complete destruction of the art in some cases.
Check credentials and references.
Separate glass from the art surface
This is important because moisture will condense where there is no air gap,
inviting mildew and mold.
a visual background
For this purpose, the wider the mat, the better. If the mat overpowers the
art, then mat color is wrong. Mat width affects the visual importance of the
You can emphasize certain colors in the art and help it fit into the chosen
Top mat should be neutral in color, and of less color intensity than the art.
If the top mat dominates, it will distract from the art. Additional mats beneath
the top mat can be used to provide accents for color coordination with surroundings
or to emphasize certain colors in the art.
- Narrow mats are usually
more distraction than enhancement.
Wide mats create focus toward the art. Standard sizes for ready made and
open frames usually correspond to standard photograph sizes. The following
are suggested ready made frame sizes, with mats, for various art image (mat
- This is a matter of opinion;
mat decoration can enhance or detract from art. Common
techniques include ink lines, marbled paper, V-grooves,
watercolor, fabric panels. Be imaginative, but conservative
with mat decoration.
- Dry mounting is recommended
for photos and other non-porous paper artworks which
have no significant value. Over time, drymount tissue
may deteriorate and loosen the mount in spots.
- Clear picture framing
glass is most common and least expensive for general
purposes. Often called "regular" glass,
but should not be confused with lower-quality window
- Non-glare glass is about
twice the price of clear glass. Its etched surface
blurs the image when viewed from side angles, especially
when glass is properly separated from the art surface;
more separation, more blur.
glass is available clear or non-glare, and is recommended
for all preservation projects. It is coated inside
to filter out more than 95% of harmful UV light,
which causes fading. UV rays are in all light, but
very strong in sunlight and fluorescent light. Cost
of UV-filtering glass is about the same as non-glare
- Sawtooth hangers are
OK for small frames, but are inadequate for frames
larger than 8" x 10".
- Generally, wire is best
for frames up to a weight of 30 lbs. Stainless steel
or coated wires are stronger, will not rust or corrode,
and will avoid marks on walls. Make sure ends are
securely fastened to screw-eyes, and that they are
securely fastened to the frame. Use proper size picture
frame hangers, not just a nail in the wall.
- For frames over 30 lbs.,
use separate hangers on each side of the frame back,
and no wire. If a wire is used on a heavy frame,
the sides pull toward the center, and corner joints
are strained; also, top and bottom rails of the frame
tend to bow.
can view other free framing articles and tips
for arranging artwork at the photograph's website.
The artist offers free screensavers along with
affordable prices for beautiful pictures. Mr.
McNulty’s web site www.premierphotographer.com offers
some of the finest fine art photography available
online. You can reach Pat McNulty at 484-707-3686
or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
a look at www.premierphotographer.com for
several other free articles on framing and arranging
artwork, along with free decorating articles.