September 17, 2018
Framing Tips Every Artists Needs
BY Marrilee Anderson
Framing, one of the least talked about, yet most useful tool an artist can ever have. Often viewed as something that can easily be thrown together without much effort, but In reality, framing is a glorious form of art all on its own. It can take many years to learn the skills and knowledge of framing, and even then you will still learn something new everyday; a truly never ending practice.
When properly honed and crafted, framing enhances the piece of art it holds through the choice of molding and matting. Those simple components help to express the story within to the world by picking up and enhance little nuances that can be missed. The art that is framed on the walls of your home express, deepen feelings that transfer to you by being just merely in their presence.
No art is just a pretty picture, they have diverse, vast meanings that penetrate your soul. Art deserves the care and beauty of preservation for endless years to come. After all, the average time those framed pieces of art stay on the walls of your home is 20 years. 20 years!
What Your Buyer Really Wants
The usual collector of art tends to find the quickest way to have a piece framed. Most shy away just hearing the words ‘custom framing’. That is expensive! While custom framing will always be more expensive than grabbing a quick pre-made frame and mat will be; it does offer the assistance of a custom framer that can help you choose the perfect match for your artwork, and the best components for preservation quality framing.
Quite often the average person can’t afford to get every piece they have custom framed, that leads them to give up, and store those precious memories in a closet or under the bed for years. It benefits the artist to recognize this pattern, and adjust their own art to better fit those they want to reach.
Proper Sizing Matters
The most important component is sizing; pre-made frames come in standard sizes that don’t always match the size the substrate the art is created on. Take the time to visit your local stores that carry these frames, and write down those sizes, or ask others to help you in doing so.
It can be hard at times to not use a whole piece of art paper, especially when budgets are an issue. Do not be afraid of trimming where you need to help get you to a standard size. Those scraps can be used for swatches, tiny works of art, and for many other useful purposes.
There will be times you have no choice, and need to do a custom mat to help get you to that perfect standard size; there is no shame in doing this! Especially when it comes to original pieces of art. It’s worth it to get them matted and framed to sell as a whole piece.
Often art galleries, mainly traditionalist ones, will want specific white mats and specific frame color choices for all of your work you want to display. If you keep your pieces to standard sizes, then you can easily recycle the frames and mats for multiple pieces without buying custom components frequently. Recycling frames will save you much needed art supply money!
Mats and Their Drawbacks
Mats in general can be a big issue especially when it comes to matting prints. A shocking number of artists will mat their prints to help the pieces look professional; to get more sales. The sad reality is the waste involved in this practice. Over sixty percent of those that purchase the matted prints will come into a framing shop to toss the current mat for one that will fit better with their décor. The most horrific part is often those prints are odd sizes from standard, the mats never get reused, and end up in landfills somewhere. Save yourself the time and costs: let your customer buy the art, not the hassle.
Importance of Preservation
Ensuring the components you use in framing are acid free is extremely important. If you’ve seen an old newspaper or paperback book and how the pages will turn yellow, brittle and start disintegrating, you know the components used were not acid free. Most pre-made mats and frame backings will not be acid free; it is worth investing in an upgrade for the preservation of your artwork if you plan on selling a framed piece.
Using UV Protected Glass
Pre-made frames also never come with UV coated glass; they have a standard plate glass that won’t prevent fading in the future. It would be advisable, especially if the artwork being framed is an original work, to change the glass to one with UV coating. The UV glass does not need to be the most expensive non-glare version, both will have the same UV rating; it can easily be upgraded in the future.
DIY Framing Assembly
You can save costs by assembling frames yourself. Insert the art by installing framing or glazing points if none are pre-inserted, add a dust cover with double-sided tape, bumpons at the bottom corners to keep the frame from the wall to prevent moisture buildup, attach wire and other hangers, lastly include artist information to the dustcover, be it a logo, stamp, sticker, or business card to identify your work.
Wire hangers are the go to type of hanger to use; they will always be easier to hang than other types. When using a wire hanger make sure the ring hangers are 1/3 of the way down from the top edge. Sawtooth hangers should only be used on frames too thin or small for wire hangers. For very large or heavy frames use D-ring or mirror hangers on both sides will be best to support the weight.
Pre-stretched canvas assembly can be a challenge; finding pre-made frames that can hold the depth of the piece is the toughest part. Offset clips rather than the usual framing points are necessary for anything that sticks out of the frame. It is always best to get a frame that comes as close to flush with the back as possible.
When in doubt, never hesitate to ask a local framer in your area or even browse videos online when you need help, there are many ways to get resourceful information and how-to’s.
Play, Learn, Experiment, and Have Fun!
Enjoy the process of framing your work. Sprawling through color choices, and molding designs can be just as therapeutic as creating the artwork itself. You will be surprised at what combinations will completely change the feel of your work! Do not be afraid of trying something crazy that seems impossible; if putting a full feather boa into a tiny frame can be done, anything is possible!
*Artwork courtesy of Pearlphoenix