In this post I'm going to share what you need to know to successfully and affordably frame your original artwork at home.
Here's the supplies you'll need to have on hand:
- Point Driver
- Framing points
- Roll of brown paper (for a nice presentation)
- Quality adhesive (wood glue or hot glue gun also suitable)
- Picture hanging wire (make sure to buy for the correct weight)
- D-ring picture hangers (make sure to buy for the correct weight)
- Screw driver
- Wire cutters
How do you shop for a custom frame? Whether you've got a hardboard panel or stretched canvas you'll be able to find a frame that'll fit perfectly. The important things to pay attention to are the size and depth of your artwork as well as the width of your desired frame (ideal width is 2" or greater for most medium/large paintings).
To frame a stretched canvas, a similar method to what's written below applies. However, you will need to use a floater frame.
Frame Depth refers to the depth of the frame's rabbet (the cut-out area behind the frame's molding that holds your artwork in place). To find a frame that will accommodate your artwork, measure the depth of the artwork, including any matting or mounting materials, and order a frame with a depth that is, at a minimum, the same as that measured depth.
Frame Dimensions are sized by the opening, not by the outside of the frame. To determine the size of frame to order, measure the outside of your artwork, including mat, and order that size frame. The frame will overlap your artwork ¼" all the way around, so your artwork will fit nicely behind the frame's molding.
Assembling your frame is pretty straight forward. Your frame will sometimes come assembled depending on size. But when it doesn't, the frames come with instructions and are ready for you to assemble. You won't need any glue to attach them, just a little bit of effort to fit each piece into the matching grooves. Once all four sides are assembled your frame is ready for the next step!
Before I place artwork in any frame, I always make sure to title, sign, and date on the back of the artwork on the canvas portion in permanent ink for authenticity purposes. Once the artwork is sitting nicely in the frame, grab your point driver and framing points.
Depending on the size of your artwork you'll need fewer or more framing points. I grab a handful and place them flat against the back of the painting and a few inches apart most of the time. To use the point driver, pick up the framing point and insert it into the driver with the pointed side facing out. Place the driver where you want the point to be and squeeze the trigger to insert it securely.
When all the points are inserted, I double check that everything is secure. If you find something is off, you can easily remove the points using the driver, make your adjustments, and reinsert the points. Once you're happy, grab your brown paper and cut a piece so that it will completely cover the back of the artwork and have enough space to be glued to the back of your frame.
The paper is never glued to the artwork itself. I usually take my glue and spread a thin layer around the frame with an old paint brush.
I only cover the approximate area I will need for the paper backing, I never coat the entire back of the frame. The PVA glue dries clear, so it's okay if it runs a little out of the paper boundary.
While the glue is still wet, I grab my piece of cut paper and lay it over top as evenly as possible and when it looks about right, press down firmly around the perimeter.
You'll want to get rid of the excess paper so I use a box cutter to carefully cut what hasn't been glued to the frame.
Your frame should end up looking something similar to this:
When installing the hangers, you'll want to place them about two thirds of the way up on the back of the painting. That allows for proper weight distribution when it's hung up on the wall. I divide the back of the frame into thirds and place the hangers somewhere near the top third portion.
Make sure when you screw them in that they face inwards towards the middle frame, never towards the outer edges. Also, be sure to use screws appropriate for your frames thickness to attach the hangers.
When the d-rings are secured, the length of wire cut always depends on how large the framed piece is, plus its good practice to include a little extra length.
To install the wire, insert one end through the ring and twist (likewise for the other side). There should be enough of a tail to tightly wrap around the wire afterwards. The wire should be pretty taught and shouldn't have a ton of give.
Using wire cutters, cut off any excess wire once you feel like you've wrapped it around enough times, I aim for an inch or so around the wire.
And there you have it! This framing method is something I'm always proud to send off to my art collectors. Keep in mind that the larger the size of your artwork, the more expensive the frames will be, but even so, if you're looking for an affordable way to elegantly frame your own artwork from home, this is the way that's worked best for me for years. I hope that artists and collectors alike can find this information helpful.
Thanks as always for reading, best of luck!
I'm Chuck Black, landscape and wildlife artist based in Southwest Montana.
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