Framing Tips

Framing Tips to Transform Your Art Without Breaking the Bank

Hanging a poster on the wall with tape or blue sticky tack can give off a college dorm vibe. But if you take that same poster and put it into a frame, you can instantly have a piece of art that deserves a prime location on a wall in your home. The trouble is that taking your art or posters to a custom frame shop can leave your wallet hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars lighter. Luckily for you, these framing tips will help you transform your photos, artwork, and posters into wall-worthy pieces, without the high price tag.

A Woman Looking Up Pictures on Her Laptop

You can look up pictures and posters online to get some wall inspiration—or print your own photos!

Photo Source: Pexels/

Choose Your Frames

Picture frames come in a range of different sizes, colors, and materials. You should strive to pick out a frame that not only fits your artwork’s dimensions, but also matches the style of the piece. If you’re framing a print of a classic piece of art, it might make sense for you to choose an ornate, decorative frame. But if you’re framing a concert poster, a simple, black frame without any detailing might fit the bill.

Pay attention to the colors in the artwork you’re framing. Depending on how much of an impact you want the frame to make visually, it can be a good idea to choose a standout color from the art as the color of the frame. For example, if you want the frame to coordinate with a brightly colored piece of art, you can choose a secondary color from the piece for your frame. When in doubt, a black or other neutral color is always a safe bet.

Size can be a big issue if you are buying inexpensive frames either online or in a physical store. Most frames come in range of standard sizes, such as 4 by 6 inches or 8 by 10 inches for photos, and 18 by 24 inches or 24 by 36 inches for posters. If your art or photo is a standard size, all you need to do is find a frame that matches it. If you’re framing art that’s an unusual size, you’ll need a few more framing tips to be able to get the job done yourself.

Stacked Picture Frames

Frames come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and styles!

Photo Source: Pexels/Unsplash

Choose to Mat or to Float

If you’ve looked high and low and haven’t found a frame that fits your artwork, you have two main choices. You can either mat the image or you can purposefully let it float in a frame that’s too big for it.

Matted pictures are mounted to a thick piece of cardboard and have a second piece of board placed on top of them, creating a frame within a frame. If you’re handy with an Xacto knife, you can purchase a mat board and cut out an opening the size of your artwork yourself, saving you a considerable amount of money when compared to going to a custom framer. Since matting a picture conceals its edges, this option works best when you don’t care about covering up the four sides of the art.

If you decide to have the artwork float in the frame, you do not have to use the second piece of mat board to frame the image. Instead, you just attach the picture to the backing board. The board fits in the frame and you position the artwork or photo on top of it so that it appears to “float” inside. You can cut a slit in the backing board just above the top of the artwork and use tape to hold the picture in place.

If You Choose to Go Pro

While purchasing an inexpensive frame and matting or floating a picture yourself is fine for most posters and photos, if you have a piece of fine or delicate art, you’re going to want to have a professional frame it. A professional has the experience and training needed to know what type of materials to use to fully protect art from light and dust, as well as how to frame the art with color and frame proportion to make it shine.

That said, you don’t want to trust valuable artwork to just anyone. You should always check out the framing company’s previous work, if possible, and see if you can find anyone who can recommend them or who praises their work. If you’re preserving an heirloom family photo in a frame or framing a piece of art you bought from an artist, it can be well worth the higher price tag and extra effort to make sure the job is done right.

The price quote you get from a framing shop might not be worth it, though, for smaller pieces like posters or photos. In those cases, you may be better off buying an “off the rack” frame and doing it yourself! But if you’re framing fragile or valuable art, it’s better to always go pro.

Featured Photo Source: Pexels/Unsplash

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