How To Frame Artwork

How To Frame Artwork

August 24, 2020

To frame or not to frame?

That is the first question when you get a new piece of art for your home.

Some artwork is ready to display without the need for framing, while others call for a hanging apparatus. Identifying the need is the first step, and by far the easiest part. If the answer is yes, then a slew of additional questions that follow can make for a dizzying decision!⁠

Read on for some tips on selecting the right frame.

You want to find a frame that accentuates the piece⁠, without detracting from the art itself. So let's consider some of your options...

DIY or Professionally Prepared

We'll cut to the chase: professional framing can be pricey. It may not make the most sense for an inexpensive print, but when it comes to original works of art - especially those with special considerations or irregular dimensions, you're best off handing it over to the professionals. After all, you want your new artwork to shine as a reflection of your personality! 

Otherwise, there are plenty of really excellent frame choices available at your local craft store or online retailers that will add a lovely finish to your home.

This is a great option if price is a factor and if the art you are framing is a standard size. We offer all of our prints in ready to frame sizes for this reason!


The frame itself

Choice of material, color, and size⁠. These aspects alone can cause decision paralysis! If you have a more contemporary space, simple is better.  If you err toward more traditional or funkier, you'll have more options to contend with. Be bold! After all, the purpose is to make you happy, so if you love it, chances are you're headed in the right direction. 


To matte of not to matte

This comes down to personal preference and the effect you're going for. For a more polished look, mattes add an element of sophistication to your artwork. You can't go wrong with a crisp, white matte. But beige or colored mattes have their place when you're going for a more custom feel. 


Generally, the size of the matte should be proportional to the size of the artwork (most work under 18x24" does well with a 1.5" - 2" matte) but large mattes are also very trendy right now. 5x7" frames prints with a 3-4" matte make a sharp addition to your walls.

Floating or traditional⁠

Floating frames get their name from the effect that they create. They are perfect for framing canvases or panel paintings to make it appear as though they are floating in the frame. This offers a contemporary feel that many people prefer over a more traditional frame.

Floating frames do not involve glass, which makes them a great option for high glare areas. Artwork should be varnished or protected by a gel coat to prevent fading and damage.

If you like the look of a floating frame, consider adding a 2" border and varnish option to your prints to accommodate stretching and framing.

If you prefer the protection and finished look that glass provides, go for a traditional frame. A matte may or may not be used and the style is up to you!

Match the artwork / Match the decor⁠

Ideally, you want a frame that does both. The artwork should shine above all else and when in doubt, simpler is better. A frame should pick up some of the colors in the artwork and complement some features of the room. For example, if you opt for a metallic frame and have gold accents throughout your home, then gold will be your best bet for the frame. If the artwork has a lot of bold color in it, a simpler frame will prevent competing focal points and keep the attention on the artwork itself.

On the other hand, some people use frames as accessories and collect subtle, abstract art. This unique approach creates some very interesting vignettes, in which case, go wild with the framing!


Frame Style

This is where it gets personal. For a more contemporary decor, you may be drawn to straight lines, solid colors, metal or composite material, and floating frames. More classical tastes lean toward metallic or wood frames, patterning or filigree, and matted artwork. If you're eclectic, try some of both! You can always take your new artwork to a frame shop and comparison shop with the piece in hand. Th

The Bottom Line

Framing in an intuitive, personal choice. The more you build your art collection, the more seasoned you will become at selecting the best friends to complement the work. And remember: there is no right or wrong frame as long as you love it!

If you are looking for some new artwork to add to your home or workspace, check out our new Art On Fire giclée prints. Hand prepared and printed to order on high quality, matte canvas paper with archival inks, these prints add a timeless touch sophistication to any space.

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