Picture Framing FAQ

There are so many types of frames to choose from. How do I know which one is right for me?

There are no rules! Deciding where your picture will hang is a great first step to choosing the right frame. Be inspired by your space, and take note if there is a predominant wood type, or interesting shapes or angles that could help you with your selection. Is your artwork curvy and organic or sharp and linear?

Consider a barn board frame for a cottage-like environment, or a metal frame if there's any rod iron or stainless steel in the room. Ask a professional framer if they'll lend you frame and mat samples for you to take home and try out just like wallpaper!

I'm moving, and have several valuable frames I want to save from damage in transit. What is the best way to protect them?

The main thing to be aware of when transporting a frame is how vulnerable the corners are to dings and damages. To protect your picture, use paper corners (available in corrugated cardboard, or other heavy grade card materials) that slide onto your frame and secure snugly. They are generally inexpensive and are just what you need for that extra protection. As an extra precaution, wrap your pictures in sheet or blankets to avoid scratching against one another.

What is the best way to determine my mat size?

Your mat should be at least twice the width of your frame. Otherwise your piece will begin to look stripy, detracting from the image. Two inches and up is usually a good place to start, but do your research. Flip through design magazines to see what they've done, and consult a professional framer for one-on-one advice. Remember that to measure your window opening, you need to overlap the image at least 1/8" so it doesn't pop out, and is instead lightly pressed under the mat board.

Can anything be drymounted?

No! Do not drymount anything that is of value, mainly monetary. After the drymounting process, your image will be permanently adhered to a backing board, not to be removed without irreparable damage.

Items that should trigger a red flag before drymounting are originals, limited editions, or anything of value to a collector. Another material that should never be drymounted is anything that will melt under intense heat. Wax-based artwork, fax paper, and some of today's printed digital photography should not be exposed to a heat press. If you're unsure, consult a professional framer.

How should the back of my frame be sealed?

Note that the backs of wood frames can be sealed, but metal frame backs cannot. The covering is not for decoration purposes, but is primarily functional. The seal protects from bugs, dust and dirt from getting in. There are a few options for backings, but the most popular is called a 'dust cover' which is essentially a piece of craft paper cut to the perimeter of the frame, and stretched using a double sided tape.

How should I properly handle my artwork until I can finally get to a professional framer?

Handling your artwork is something that can frequently be overlooked, resulting in devastating damage. There are a few things to remember that can help you take good care of your piece. Also, different mediums require different cautionary techniques. For starters, never stack painting on top of one another. The paint could scratch upon contact, and even fall off in chips. Avoid touching the canvas or board whenever possible, especially the surface. Handle a canvas by the edges, as you would a photograph. Avoid rolling artwork, including canvases and paper-based creations. Travel with loose artwork in an acid-free paper folder. Finally, never try and clean a piece yourself. Introducing any product to the surface of your artwork is asking for trouble unless you're absolutely sure what you're doing. Ask a professional before you do anything.

What does it mean to 'block' needlework?

The process of 'blocking' a needlework helps the piece regain its original shape. After being steam ironed, the fibres naturally relax, and pins are placed through the fabric into a board with pre-drilled, perfectly aligned holes. This process takes approximately 24 hours until the pins can be removed and the fabric has snapped back into its original shape, ready for framing.

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