Picture Framing Guide
What's the best way to frame my print?
This is probably the number one question I get about artwork so I thought I'd address the issue in detail here. It can be a little frustrating when you've purchased a print and are really excited to get it up on the wall but it didn't come framed (hello my shop- ha!). Now what? Where do you go to find a frame that fits? Here are a few resources to help you find the perfect frame to fit your new print.
Brick and Mortar Frame Shops
Supporting a small, local frame shop in your area can be pretty rewarding. There are plenty of mom and pop shops around if you stop to look and the level of service you'll get from a local business is usually excellent. Start by searching for "custom framing" in your area and you're bound to come up with at least 2 good options. Going this route can get you some beautiful results while you're supporting your community...a win win in my book.
You can also swing by Michael's or Hobby Lobby to check out their standard size frames. They usually stock a small number of ready to hang options and you can often find sales or coupons to get a discount.
Mail Order Frames
These days there are a myriad of online services that do it all when it comes to picture framing. Since these services require the frame to be shipped, you won't find many that offer real glass but rather a lightweight acrylic that won't break in transit. Honestly, when it comes to large frames, I opt out of glass/acrylic completely (read more about that here) so that makes things even easier. Here are some good resources for online framing:
Other Online Options
You can also search on Amazon. Here are a couple nice options:
IKEA also has some inexpensive options:
To Mat Or Not To Mat
I get this question a lot too. Why would you need or want a mat for your frame? Ultimately I think it comes down to personal preference but here are some tips to help you decide when you might need a mat:
When your print is a little small for the space- Adding a mat will increase the overall size of your framed print so if you've got a small print but you feel like the space needs something more, you can add a mat and increase the dimensions by several inches.
If your image needs breathing room- Sometimes the image just kind of needs some space to breathe. Busy images can look even more crowded if there isn't a little space around the edges. A mat can give the viewer a little visual pause between the surroundings and the artwork, which let's them better appreciate all the intricacies of a busy piece.
You should also look at the edges of your artwork...are there important points of interest along the edges? If so, you probably don't want to crowd them with the frame so adding a mat would be wise in this case.
If you're using glossy paper- Depending on the environment the print is kept in, sometimes a glossy photo print can actually stick to the glass of the frame. This can cause unwanted visual distortion and eventually damage to the print. Usually this only happens in very humid conditions but I find that if you use a mat, it can keep the photo paper slightly separated from the glass and helps avoid this issue.
With all the choices out there, I'm confident you'll find a frame that fits your budget and style. I hope to one day offer framed prints in my shop but until then I hope you find this helpful!
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