Key Framing Points

Image courtesy of stock images from

Image courtesy of stock images from

There are many things to take into account when framing artworks, the following points should give you some solid ideas about what to consider in the process if you want the item to hang on the wall for a reasonable length of time.

Always frame and mount the picture to make it look fabulous – People often get the picture mounted and framed to match their decor, however only do this if the picture looks fabulous as well. Generally a plain finish is good as it supports the image by not standing out, letting the image be the centre of attention.

Always use a card mat board never paper – Make sure the mat board is acid free. After all you want  your picture to last a long time, so do it right, do it once, why a board instead of paper, the board serves the purpose of keeping the image away from the glass, if you use paper even a slight warp in the image could cause it to touch the glass, the challenge with that is the image can adhere to glass over time.

The proportions should make the picture look good – Often a narrow border will make the image look strange rather than support it in a visually suitable way. Err on the side of generous rather than narrow. Then select a colour or texture for the mat that suits the image. The same goes for the frame.

Use the right tape – In the mounting process the use of archival tape is important, if you use masking tape to hold an image in place the chances are it will lose its adhesive qualities fast, ending up in the picture falling free from the mount. The aim is to have the image hang from the mount by tape hinges, this minimises any effect the tape may have on the material the image is on. Tape is also used to seal up the back of the frame, your framer should also use an acid free one for this purpose.

Limited edition prints – Avoid asking your framer to cut the print size down to fit a frame or to reduce the mat size because of cost, this can detract from the prints value. Often Limited edition prints will have been done on a cotton rag paper and may have a deckled edge, a printers impression (called a chop), these are all things which should be preserved to maintain the value of the piece.

Under glass – Many artworks are framed under glass, this provides protection, physically and chemically as well as some degree of UV stabilisation. Often the only thing not framed under glass is a canvas painting. If you think you can do it cheaply by not using glass think again.

How important is acid free framing? – The work you are getting framed holds some value for you, perhaps the look, $$ value, or it’s been done by an Artist you admire. Either way you want it to last, acid free framing means you want the piece to last. Acid in the framing materials (like those used to manufacture paper and std card) can effect the piece, causing it to discolour and become brittle.

That’s my list for now.


Steve Gray


Leave a Reply