Frame In Mind

Senior Show is fast approaching here at Marywood. And it’s crunch time for all the art students who are scrambling to get their work professionally presentable. No matter what kind of art student you are it is important to know how to frame and present your art. So I’ve compiled a list of things to consider when framing artworks. Hopefully it helps!

Finding Frames

  • Frames don’t have to be expensive. Check out local thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. A couple scrapes and chips might actually add character to your piece.
  • Found an old, broken frame in the attic of your house? Even if the frame doesn’t have a glass panel anymore, the frame would be a more perfect fit for paintings or other types of art that do not have to be protected by glass. Keep in mind too that a replacement piece of glass or non-glare plexi can easily be cut to fit.
  • Pieces that aren’t standard frame sizes will require custom framing which could be quite costly. Just remember that your art is worth it and that it is important to preserve it (and maybe remember in the future to consider standard sizes for easy framing solutions).
  • Wait for sales at local art stores or use coupons. Remember to buy five if the price is right!
  • Ordering online is always an option. Dick Blick, Utrecht, and other online art suppliers sell frames. A friend of mine actually came across this lovely site in her travels.

To mat or not to mat?

  • Pieces that cannot, by any means, touch the glass of the frame should have a mat. These are the pieces that are likely to smudge or stick to the glass.
  • Try to pick a mat color that will compliment your piece – and your frame! Consider complimentary or neutral colors. You may even want to bring your artwork or a print of your artwork to the art store with you when you go to purchase a mat.
  • Mats come pre-cut and go for about six dollars at local art stores. These pre-cut mats coincide with standard frame sizes only and do not generally run too big.
  • If you need a large mat or one that is non-standard in dimension, you’ll have to go to a custom framer and put in an order.
  • Or, you can do it yourself. A sheet of mat board costs somewhere between six and eight dollars at local art stores. Get your ruler and cutting board ready – and invest in a mat cutter. The windows of the mats have a beveled edge achieved only through the use of a mat cutter. The cheapest of these is about thirty dollars.
  • Floating is an option. You don’t have to use a mat. You can use a deeper frame and mount your piece on an acid-free backing using archival gum tape. The piece will appear as if it is “floating.”
  • If it is a digital piece, consider incorporating a “faux” mat. The mat will be printed directly onto the piece and the singular print can be popped into a poster frame easily.
  • 3D pieces can be framed! Consider buying some shadowboxes if you’re a sculptor, jewelry, or ceramic artist. And perhaps put a mat in that shadowbox. You might like it.
  • Textile art can be popped into a frame, whether it’s under glass or without glass, matted or not, is up to you. Treat it like a painting or a drawing.

How did I do? Did I miss anything? If you’ve got any tips, tricks, or cheats for matting and framing that I’ve forgot to mention, make them known!

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