Looking for some Art to up the aesthetic appeal of your space? You did a search and found something that you just couldn’t take your eyes off. “It is so me! I think it will look fantastic on that wall in our room. Just what we needed!” Ta-da! Bought!
Now comes the difficult part – selecting a Frame that goes with it. The task isn’t as difficult as it seems but many people find it stressful to make up their minds while selecting a Frame. A lot of questions and confusion. Have I made the right choice? What if I had selected another Frame? Matt or not? Vintage or Classic? Metal or Wood? After all, the Frame can make such a big difference to the final look.
Shipping Framed Art can be difficult which is why most Artists sell their Art unframed. I am an Artist and I also sell most of my Art unframed. I do upload Framing ideas on my social media accounts regularly so as to assist potential buyers. Framing is an additional service that I provide to close friends & family as well as local buyers upon request. At online shops, my Artwork is shown with and without Frames so the onlooker can imagine how it would look once it is framed. I usually show Frames that are common and easily available or standard market Frames.
With the advent of 3D and AR (Artificial Reality) a cool new feature will soon be available – We can scan our wall or space using the camera in our phone and the software will project and show us how the Art will look framed on our wall, like on that wall in your house, like what if you bought it and put it there how would it look? All this in real-time before buying. Although it seemed unbelievable at first, this feature is currently in the beta testing phase and very much implementable.
Art is to everyone’s taste and choice. It isn’t a one shoe fits all formula. Some may like a minimal wall with just one big Art while others may want many Frames filling up the whole wall end to end. I totally agree ‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’. I am not an expert at Framing but I can definitely share whatever I have known or learnt so far about ‘Making an Art Wall and Framing your Art’.
These are basically ideas and suggestions that would help anyone make a simple ‘you cannot go wrong with this’ kind of choice. It works best for people who wish to decorate their spaces with Art but on a budget. Yup! Definitely recommend expert help from a professional if it suits you. Even then this information will help. When the Frame maker asks you questions to understand your requirements, you would know what exactly is he talking about. So here’s answering some of the questions I usually come across about selecting Frames and putting up Art on the wall.
1. Edges of the Art – A minimum of half inches on all the sides gets enveloped into the frame. Even in a plain classic thin black or white frame without matting the edges get hidden into the portion of the frame. An artist paints these edges knowing well that it will get covered up or may leave a white border edge for it.
If the Art doesn’t have a blank border and you don’t want to cover up the edges then select a Floating Frame or a Sandwich Glass Frame. In a floating frame the Art is put above the matt making it look like it is floating, while in a double wall glass frame the Art is sandwiched between two glass panels. Only the glass touches the frame and the Art looks floating. See the picture below.
2. What is Matt – A Matt or a Mat or a Mount is an additional border around the Art cut from a sheet of paper or board. Although it has a decorative purpose, it is more to preserve the Art by avoiding direct contact between the Art and the edges of the frame and glass. They recommend using an acid free material for it. A window for the Art is cut out. We can have any colour mat. Black, white and off – white are standard colours.
Frames that are available at shops include a mat or we can make one from paper sheets available in the market too. A mat is preferred for photos, prints and Art on paper that is otherwise small. The matt makes the frame look bigger while keeping the focus on the Art. Art Galleries and Museums have Artwork with matts.
There are double matt frames too. It means the Art encased in the first matt and then another matt and finally the frame. Looks like multiple frames inside each other. Ready Frames in the market will have only a single matt option.
3. Size of the Art – How big is the wall? What is the size of the Art? Take a scale (ruler) and approximately measure the size of the Art that you will be putting up. How much space you want to cover or leave out? In case you are going to put up multiple Frames then space them out well. How many of them are landscapes and how many portraits? Visualise!
Placing a paper of the same size as the Art on the wall to visualise the Framed Art can help map the space for a beginner. Any Frame adds to the size of the Art and if you get a frame done with matting, it adds even more. The chances of a miscalculation in the size can be reduced if we understand this.
Explaining it with the help of an example : Let’s take an art on paper that has a finished size : 8 inches width and 10 inches height. We find a Frame of 11 x 14 inches. So for the 3 inches in width and 4 inches in height we can add a matt OR we add 3 inches equally and get a custom Frame of size 11 x 13 inches.
Even without the matt, it would be about 8.5 x 11 inches. The Frame moulding would add about an inch or more depending on its design, bevel and thickness. Always check the finished size written in the info when buying a standard market Frame. As for custom framing, you can control this better. This applies for all paintings on canvas or on paper, photos and prints that you can Frame.
It makes complete sense in buying the Art first and then selecting a suitable Frame. Also always calculate an approximate finished size on the wall before clicking the purchase button. We may not be able to make an exact calculation but the nearest can be rounded off to the next number on the higher side to avoid any bloopers.
4. Matching the Canvas with Frames – A board canvas needs to have a frame. With glass or without is ok, but a moulding around defines the Art. Paintings with acrylic paint can be used as wall mounting Frames. In this case the wooden frame in the stretched canvas is itself the final frame and it can be hanged on the wall directly. In case you wish to frame such a canvas you would need a Box Frame because this canvas is 1 or 1.5 inches thick like a box. For a canvas we have to consider the thickness also. The glass must not touch the canvas. A regular Frame wouldn’t fit so we would have to opt for custom framing. That is why wall mounting canvas frames are popular.
Ready standard size Frames work best for prints, art and photos on paper. They have a chart with common sizes for photos and A4 or maximum A3 size. Frames for Art larger than that may be difficult to source. The cost of framing an oil painting is the highest. It is high maintenance and must be done by a professional so that it is airtight and avoids contact with the glass. Even if it is custom framed, it needs a very experienced Frame maker or the Art can get spoilt.
5. Glass or Acrylic – Here they don’t mean the Acrylic paint. They are asking if we want the transparent panel in the frame that is made of glass or acrylic material. Acrylic is lighter in weight. It is cheaper too. A glass Frame will always cost more. The advantage with glass is that it doesn’t develop scratches. Acrylic does not break or chip off easily. Most over the counter Frames that are available for prices as low as a few dollars have acrylic panels.
6. Material and Type of the frame – It can be metal, wood or plastic? Vintage or Classic? Thin or thick? This selection is based more on the look and the cost. Only thing to remember is that the Frame shouldn’t be more than the Art itself. We want to Frame the Art to preserve it longer and be able to hang it on the wall. Other than that the Frame should add to the decorative factor of the Art and not the other way around. A simple suggestion would be to consider the other factors of the space. Some frames may look too heavy or cheap and not in sync with the other things around. A simple elegant black or white Frame with or without a matt or a nice wooden Frame in dark or light brown polish that matches the rest of the room works very well.
7. Changeable – Frames where we can remove and change the inserted Art by opening them are changeable frames. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a Frame and putting a nail each time, this is also a good option. Also when you want the same Frame for all the Art on that wall, one would opt for a changeable Frame. In future when you buy new Art you can use the same Frame and all of them match each other. This is because if we buy Frames over a period of time then there are chances that all will not be the same. Besides it is a one time investment. In this case the frames should be more sturdy and of good quality to last for years.
8. Hooks to hang the frame – Don’t miss this out when selecting your frame. Some Frames have movable hooks, some have a single hook, some double and the distance between these hooks matter. The hook may be small or fitted to the same level as the frame or could be coming out a level higher. These things we can’t determine while looking at the Frame in pictures. Only when we actually go to put the Frame up on the wall we realise that the Frame doesn’t sit well in place and it is because of the hook.
That was the hook on the Frame and now to put it up on the wall, we have to put a suitable nail. Now a days we get adhesive hooks that stick to the wall. No need to put nails that damage the wall. Works best if you don’t want to put a nail in the wall but select these as per the weight of the Frame. The options are vacuum hooks, velcro hooks and hooks with tape or adhesive. They will not damage the wall and no need to drill either. They are called ‘no nail or no damage hooks’.
9. Selecting the Wall – What I have learnt is that the Wall stands out when it’s made into an Art Wall. Basically when you want to highlight a particular wall or want a wall to grab attention in a room, it is the wall to select and make an Art Wall. Single large Framed Artworks on a single colour painted wall work best for abstract or modern Art. These look beautiful on wall mounted canvas without any frame or glass.
A small cluster of about two or three same sized Frames on a wall gives a classy contemporary look. The only big no-no here is having Frames on all the walls in a single room. That makes it look like a library or a museum or an Art gallery. The walls of staircases and passages are good for memory walls or photo walls. A little light that illuminates the Art is better than a dark space. Then again it is more to your taste.
10. Wallpaper and Decals : Often used for a photo wall. For a nursery or a commercial space it would be a good idea to have Framed prints or posters and decals around. Decals are vinyl stickers that we can stick on the wall. They are available in many designs. Having a nice background with a printed wall paper and Art frames on it also look good for some Art. Mixing these along with Art give a very different new look. It isn’t the traditional style and may not appeal to some.
I hope this clears most of the doubts on Framing and creating an Art Wall. If you have time, please visit my Pinterest account. I have an album for ideas on creating an Art Wall. Have an Arty Weekend!
Photo Credits: Pictures that I have clicked have my name and the others are from the WordPress Library.