Tips for Framing Your Masterpieces

So, you have the perfect piece of art ready to hang in your home. Now what?

Framing proves as important as the art itself. There are many steps to take before hanging up your artwork as well as a large variety of frames to choose from – or make!

Framing ArtworkBefore you frame

Matting

Matting, which is a board of compressed cotton that is added around or in back of your artwork, enhances your artwork’s size and appearance, says Real Simple. When you want to make your artwork appear larger, matting adds some extra area around your piece. While matting complements art and photos, it also protects artwork by creating a space between it and the glass or acrylic sheet that allows air to circulate. Matting also helps draw the viewer’s eye into the picture while creating a neutral backdrop that better allows viewers to appreciate the art.

Hinging

Attaching your photograph or other artwork to your mat requires hinging. The paperboards used for mounting should be archival-quality, or acid-free. This prevents your artwork from being damaged by the mounting board or fading or losing color to the backing. Choosing the right materials and methods for attaching your artwork to your mat is also important, says True Art. The traditional hinging method is to use Japanese paper and a wheat- or rice-based starch paste, according to the site. There are two main methods – the folded hinge, which is attached at multiple locations along the sides of the artwork, or the pendulum hinge, which adheres in two or more places along the top edge of the art being framed.

Glazing

The transparent material through which you see your artwork is the glazing. This is usually glass or Plexiglas. Plexiglas is unbreakable, which makes it popular for shipping artwork. Additionally glass is often only available in sizes up to 40 by 60 inches, notes Real Simple, so consider the size of your artwork before choosing your glazing. The glazing layer also acts as a physical barrier against dust and other household pollutants like cooking exhaust and splatters, cigarette smoke and fireplace smoke. Additionally, some artworks do not require glazing, such as an oil canvas or an acrylic painting, but more sensitive pieces, like watercolor paintings, should be fully protected.

Framing

Once you’ve prepared your materials, you should plan your framing to fit your artwork, not the room where it is hanging. Framing should complement your art and be an extension of the piece rather than competing with it, says Real Simple.

Try to match the style of the artwork when choosing a frame. For example, use a delicate frame with a delicate image, and stronger frames with heavier or bolder pieces. Here are three fun DIY framing techniques from Empty Easel.

Frameless acrylic frame

Display your artwork in a modern way with a frameless acrylic frame. For this style of frame, you will need two sheets of acrylic and a few frame bolts, as well as a butter knife, ruler and pen, a metal stake. The end result is your artwork displayed between two sheets of clear acrylic that are bolted together to form a frameless frame. Home Depot offers full step-by-step instructions on its site.

Two-stick frame

As simple as it sounds, this is the idea of hanging your artwork between two flat pieces of long wood with some strong magnets glued on to the back. The magnets hold the two pieces of wood together, helping you to avoid damage to your piece and creating a quick and simple framing solution. Use two wooden pieces at the top of your artwork or two at the top and two at the bottom for a different look.

Refurbished with yarn frame

For this DIY frame, you simply wrap yarn that complements your piece around the base and sides of an old frame. This allows you to bring new life to a vintage frame, or you can repaint or refinished the exposed edges of the frame to create a wholly new piece of art to frame your piece. By using accenting colors of yarn, your framed art will gain some extra pop and this simple-to-make frame makes it simple to match the existing room décor, too!

First, of course, you need artwork to frame. At Hunakai Studio of Fine Arts, we offer a full range of classes for kids, teens and adults in a wide variety of art styles and mediums. Fall classes start Sept. 14, so be sure to sign up soon to secure your space in one of our great upcoming sessions!