your room, without stealing the show.
- Comes in a wide variety of styles to suit any taste and budget.
- Can be used in conjunction with a floater frame as a “cap” (keep reading for more details on this)
- May cause damage to edges if removed since the frame lays on top of the piece.
- Reduces the area of the image by the width of the rabbet on all sides.
Floater Frame (right of top photo):
Characterized by it’s “L” shaped profile, the floater frame rests underneath the artwork and it’s edge is typically placed a 1/4 inch away from the painting, appearing that the painting is floating within the boarders of the frame, as seen in the bottom right photo. A more contemporary way to frame, you can also choose a wider relief, opting for 3/4 inch away from the image.
- Poses no threat to damaging the edges of heavily textured paintings, as there is no contact with the paint.
- Provides a contemporary looking, clean-lined finish to a piece without detracting from the artwork.
- Does not reduce the area or crop the artwork by laying on top of it.
- Less expensive than traditional frames.
- Has less options of widths and styles than that of traditional overlay frames.
- Can be “capped” with an overlay frame for greater variety, but will inevitability increase the cost.
A sampling of the variety of styles and finishes available in floater frames.
Ranging from glossy, matte, metallic, wood, beveled, rounded or square edges.
Pictured above, left: 3/4 inch width, regular stretcher
(left)Framed with a brushed black overlay frame
Choosing a full frame is the deluxe treatment for artwork.Top
The components of a full frame are the following (from left to right):
Overlay moulding, Linen liner, fillet, basic floater frameBottom
Left: This side view shows how each component is “capped” on top of one another to create one whole frame.Right: View of how the full frame would look head on.
- Best way to showcase a special piece of art
- More versatile, you can mix and match components for the perfect look
- It’s easy to go overboard when a simpler framing option might accentuate your piece better
- More components means higher cost
Narrow mouldings used as an accent. Fillets can be placed inside mat openings, or in the lip of frames or linen liners.
It is often desirable to create a visual resting spot between the art and everything around it. This can be achieved by using a liner, a fabric (often linen) covered wood frame.
Seamed liners (above) have a break in the fabric where the corners are joined and are usually slightly less expensive than seamless liners (below), which do not.
Enhancers have a rabbet (the frame lip that rests on top of your piece) like a regular frame, but they also have an indentation on their outer edge for the rabbet of the cap moulding to sit upon.
Note: This component was not designed to be used alone as a frame. Their outside edge is unfinished and they are not structurally strong enough to support a piece on its own.
Enhancers add an extra embellishment to mouldings which look more structurally cohesive than a Fillet to the overall design of the frame.
Mat board has two core functions. Like linen liners, mat provides an area for visual relief so the art could be viewed without the distraction of the nearby surroundings. Secondly, the depth of the mat also serves as a spacer to keep the glass from touching the face of the art.
These images (above) show the same print matted with three different colors. None of the choices are wrong, they are just different.
Mats are now available in a variety of colors, patterns and textures, which allows them to act in a decorative roll. Mats even come in shiny metallic and suede!
If you want a more lush look for your print, you might consider a thicker mat. Above, the outer mat is 8 ply with a beveled edge, it is much more apparent in the photograph while the middle (beveled) and inner (straight cut) 4 ply mats are less obvious with their lower profiles.
Single Mat (see above)
When mats were first introduced to framing, they were all a single layer. Today it is much more common to use two or three layers.
- Used most on high end art where the frame designs are simple and classic, not decorative.
- Also used when matting vintage, classic or antique pieces as it helps them look authentic to their era.
- To add one or more accent colours that can be used to help draw attention to the art by outlining it (top left and right).
- Can add greater depth by using two of the same color for a more subtle look (bottom left and right).
- multiple mat layers should not be used if opting for non-reflective glass, the extra depth will begin to look cloudy
Mat with Fillet
Fillets, or narrow mouldings used as an accent as described earlier, are placed either inside the lip of a frame or more often in mat openings (below).
- Create more depth than mats.
- Emphasize multiple mat layers (below).
- Finishes comparable to frames so they are useful to coordinate with the frame for a highly customized look.
- Used to create illusion that matting is thicker that 8 ply (see section on proportions).
- Brings out inherent depth in the art, such as a landscape with perspective.
- Adds actual depth to accommodate an object or art with sculptural relief.
One of the most important things when choosing a mat is deciding how much of the mat you want to see versus the image. Too little matting can look awkward. A new trend is to use very large matting around a smaller image.
- Larger matting adds a higher expense because it increases the UI of the frame and glass.
- Demonstrates your personal style: a smaller mat is more traditional while a larger one is more contemporary.
This print leaves even spacing around the entire print and uses a large mat to create a large space for the details of the painting to be observed.
Affixing the back of a paper piece to a wood panel or board to stabilize
and increases the profile width of the piece.
This print (above) has been mounted to a board and covered in a layer of clear plastic, which stabilizes the paper enough for traditional framing, but is not thick enough for a floater frame.
This also smooths out the surfaces of prints that might have been damaged by water or bending. As this is an open-ended, unsigned print that will not hold value, so it is safe to mount in this manner.
Due to it’s fragile and porous nature, paper artworks are usually framed with glass to protect it from stains, water, tears or scratches. Choosing the wrong kind of glass can mean exceeding your budget or inadequate protection.
- A physical barrier against stains and direct damage.
- No UV protection or non-reflective filter.
- Best for low-lit rooms and painted artwork on paper.
- Least expensive option
- Physical and UV protection and glare resistant.
- Ideal for rooms with large windows or bright lights and paper pieces
- with ink or fabrics which are more UV sensitive over time than paint.
- Most expensive option
When considering framing you should also be aware of what kind of costs are involved.
The cost of your frame moulding is the most basic component of your invoice. It is generally defined by two sets of numbers.
- The UI number, or United Inches, is calculated by adding the length and width of one side together.
- The manufacturer’s price code for each frame determines the relative cost to other frames from the same brand.
The cost of your frame is determined by a pricing table given to us by the manufacturer. We then see where the UI and price code intersect on the table to give you your price.
Some other options to consider are:
- measurements and quality (acid free or regular) of matting
- fillets and/or enhancers
- measurements and quality (UV, non-reflective, normal) of glass
- paper backing
- assembly charges
Here are a few interactive goodies to help you with your decor projects!
CURATE is fun app that will keep you busy for hours virtually arranging artwork on your own walls! By measuring your space and entering in the measurements, this amazing app ensures everything is actually to scale!
You can mix and match Larson-Jules collection of frames and mouldings on your own photo:
Larson-Juhl Interactive Frame Design
Learn how to create a unique wall art display that completes any room with this fun video from West Elm Home Decor:
How to Hang Wall Art Like a Pro
Every industry has it’s own lingo, so if we used a term you’re not familiar with, try referring to this helpful online glossary:
1. If your linen liner has a small mark on it, try using a white pencil/crayon to gently blend away the stain before resorting to replacing the entire liner.
2. If you’re calling for a frame quote, have on hand the depth of the canvas and UI (United Inches) measurement of your piece for faster results.
- Example: If you have a piece of artwork that measures 30″ x 40″ the UI would equal 70 inches.