By Elizabeth Eadie
Nothing makes a piece of art or an original print feel as important as framing. Even a child’s doodle or a map from a vacation feels more significant when we take the time to frame them. Framing them not only solidifies the memory and its significance in our lives, it tells others part of our story as we journey through life.
Many people put off framing for various reasons: whether they’re just not sure how to go about it, they think it’s too expensive or maybe they’ve never really noticed how much framed art can make your house feel more polished and complete. Framing doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming. There are lots of options out there and great ways to save money.
I have accumulated six new pieces art this year and I framed them all pretty much the same way. Here’s how I did it along with some alternative steps along the way.
First, decide on your frame. I use black gallery frames throughout my home. I probably won’t do this forever but as long as I’m in such a small space, it keeps the look cohesive. I also like the smaller front facing part of the gallery frame. It’s just enough to outline the piece to show its importance but not enough to distract from it. I buy my gallery frames from Utrecht art store. Other art stores sell frames and Ikea is known in the design world for being the go-to place for
standard frame sizes. Not all of my pieces are standard which brings me back to Utrecht. They also sell frame kits whereby you buy the sides of the frame separate from the top and bottom. Doing so allows you to create your own rectangle that will fit your work perfectly.
The next step is deciding on the mat. If you’ve bought a pre-matted frame, the mat included might be perfect for your piece. Try it out and see what you think. Art stores sell mats and the staff will be able to help you find the perfect mat for your work. Remember that you want archival quality. You can also buy pre-cut mats that have variable internal dimensions for your art. The possibilities really are endless so it’s best to know what you’re looking for before you
If you buy a mat, then what? Some art stores will cut them for you. Others will charge you a small cutting fee if you buy the frame and mat from them. Also, you can cut it yourself. Yes, really! A mat cutter is a small angled blade the will cut the internal box of your mat and you use it much like an exacto blade. The mat cutter will set you back only about $15 so if you’re handy at all, you’ll save yourself a lot of money over time by cutting your own mats. Looking to save money or need a quick alternative? Poster board. It’s available at any drug store and doesn’t need to be cut at an angle since it’s so thin.
Frame? Check. Mat? Check. Attach the art to the mat with archival tape, also available at any art store. Insert the mat into the frame and seal the back with either another mat or the frame backing. Hang all art around eye level or create a collage like look by clustering frames. Now sit back and enjoy your artfully designed home.
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Elizabeth Eadie lives in downtown Baltimore. She is a Baltimore web designer, a maker of watercolor stationery and a design blogger.