The Art of DIY Framing

Framing isn't just about putting a box around a piece of artwork. It's an art form in and of itself. Spend a few hours browsing through art stores and framing catalogues, and you'll see that a lot of artists spend more on the frame than they do on the art supplies for the painting itself. The frame you choose and the way that you frame your picture can make the painting pop or fade. Listed below are some things you'll want to consider.

All Frames Can Be Embellished

The frame you buy isn't necessarily the one you'll use. Frames can be customized in a number of ways. They can be painted or stenciled. You can glue on buttons or ribbons. While it's not a good idea to embellish valuable antique frames as it can reduce their value, any other frame that you purchase can be decorated in some way. Hot glue guns work well for attaching most embellishments, and acrylic paints work better than water colors. If you decide you want a particularly rich embellishment, consider oil paints. Just remember that sometimes it takes as long as 72 hours or more for the frame to fully dry.

The Frame Is Not the Main Event

As you start the framing process, it's a good idea to sketch out your initial ideas. Just remember that as you are doing this, the frame isn't what everyone is supposed to be looking at. A decorated frame or even a classic polished wood framediy picture frame should do the same thing: draw attention to the artwork inside. The frame enhances the viewing experience. Consider ways to incorporate the primary elements of the artwork into the frame. For instance, if you have a mahogany and teal Japanese silk painting, you might consider a mahogany frame to tie in the palette. A basic polished frame will add a finished look to the painting and create a more solid viewing experience. But you might also decide to go the opposite way and choose an unstained pine frame. The pine frame would accent the silk painting colors without mimicking them. Because of the lightness, pine gives the painting a more open appearance; the frame almost melds into the background, attracting the eye to the focal point in the picture. Different frames create different effects. When you're trying to find the best one, you might consider trying a couple options. Narrow down your selection to your top three, and then try them out.

The Wall Makes Up Part of the Display

fancy picture framesWhen you're considering doing the framing yourself, remember the wall. The wall your picture is hung upon is just as important to your display as the frame and the painting. If, for instance, you take that mahogany and teal Japanese silk painting and frame it on a wall painted teal, you won't want to use the light pine frame. The starkness of the contrast will make the frame the focal point rather than the painting. If, on the other hand, you have a light colored wall, you could choose either. When hanging a picture on a dark wall, avoid light frames. When hanging a picture on a light wall, you can choose either light or dark, depending on what you want to accomplish.

Framing allows you to create a viewing experience and accent the already beautiful artwork on display. To make your frames even better, remember that you can always embellish them. The frame itself can be decorated to make it unique, but it is not the main event. Remember that it is intended to set the artwork off to its best advantage. But when making your choice, also remember your walls. The right frame will work with both the walls and your artwork.

About the author


Mark Rogers is an amateur photographer and the founder of Frame Destination, Inc. In 2004 Mark realized the framing industry was not keeping up with the evolution of photography via new digital technology and started Frame Destination in his garage. Now his company has thousands of do-it-yourself framing customers across the US that it helps with its 11,000 square feet production facility in Dallas, TX.

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