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ART 101: FRAMING SUGGESTIONS

Because ARTprojectA wants to keep your ART costs down, most of the flat artwork we sell is unframed (unless otherwise indicated). This not only will reduce your packing and shipping costs, but will allow you to work creatively with your own framer to ensure that the frame is appropriate not just to the piece, but also to the setting in which you intend to display the artwork.

The purpose of a frame is to protect art as well as provide a means for art to be installed on a wall. A well made frame will be a necessary barrier between the art and the outside world, protecting the piece from dust, water and other destructive elements as well as preventing other physical damage.

ARTprojectA’s 10+ TIPS ABOUT FRAMING:

Framing itself is an art. We recommend you find a framer who will take time to work with you, offering you multiple options at a reasonable price. To help you get started, here are 10+ suggestions for you and your framer:

  1. Archival materials.

    This is important to help preserve your art and is well worth the relatively small additional expense. We suggest acid free mat and mat board, hinges, etc. The rule of thumb is generally that anything touching the art should be acid free. See GLOSSARY acid free

  2. Size of the mat.

    Small pieces can be made to look much more significant if framed with a wide mat. A generous mat will allow your art room to “breathe”.

  3. Proportion of mat.

    Many framers and professionals in the art field prefer to “bottom weight” the mat. This means making the bottom width of the mat slightly bigger than the other three sides (which in most cases should be the same size). The reason for this is purely for visual purposes, as the larger dimension on the bottom seems to “anchor” the work.

  4. Thickness of the mat.

    We prefer 8 ply mat over 4 ply. Sometimes this can be less expensively achieved by “sandwiching” two 4 ply mats together.

  5. Color of the mat.

    Mats are often selected based on colors which appear in the artwork. When choosing an all-white mat (our usual preference), try to match the “white” in the paper or print/photograph, as there are many different shades of white or off-white.

  6. Floating the image.

    Sometimes “floating” art above the mat, creating a shadow around the edges, is preferred. This choice is particularly appropriate if the edges of the art are irregular. (See GLOSSARY deckled). Placing the art on 1/16”-1/8” acid free foam core or mat board cut slightly smaller than the art, raises the art, thereby allowing its edges to create a small shadow on the background mat.

  7. Using a window mat.

    It’s possible to place art directly on a mat board and not spend money for a window (overlaying) mat. This is particularly suitable for a piece of art that is bigger than normal mat board size, already has a border as part of the art, has irregular edges, or has a lot of white space around its edges. In this case, make sure to leave enough white space showing between the edge of the art and the interior edge of the frame, so as not to not “crowd” the work. When choosing this option, the background mat board color is still important. If choosing white, try to match as closely as possible the white in the art to achieve a seamless effect.

  8. Width of the mat.

    Every frame has a “rabbit”, which is the part of the frame that covers the mat and holds it and the glass or plexi in place. The “rabbit” usually measures 1/4” and should be taken into account when deciding the width of the mat or how much background mat board will be showing if a window mat is not used. Some framers include this in the mat measurement, in which case the width of the mat that shows will be 1/4” less than the measurement quoted. Other framers will add an extra 1/2” to both the length and width of the board before cutting. This will allow the “rabbit” to cover 1/4” of the mat on each side, assuring that the mat’s width will reflect exactly the agreed upon border size.

  9. Width of the frame.

    Frame widths vary greatly. Choosing a wide frame or a narrow profile is a personal preference. Many framers suggest that the width of the frame should not match the width of the mat or the width of the mat board showing between the edge of the art and the interior edge of the frame.

  10. Frame options.

    When choosing a frame style, always keep in mind the work itself and what type of frame profile (depth, width, design) will look best with the art. You may love a frame but when held up against the art, it simply does not look good. Save that frame for another piece of art in the future and select the frame that looks best for your art. Don’t forget to keep in mind other artwork that you might be displaying nearby and where you will place it. Remember that good framing should enhance your art and the space. If you choose a silver or gold frame, for example, it’s a good idea to take into account how that tone will fit into the room.

  11. Glass or Plexiglass.

    Special UV glass and UV plexi will protect art from the majority of destructive UV rays from the sun. Denglass is a “museum glass” recognized for its high quality. Non-glare glass and plexi can also be considered, especially if reflection is an issue.