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Whether you’re an artist, an art dealer, or simply a flea market enthusiast, chances are you’ll eventually need to learn how to frame a painting yourself. You’ll save money doing it yourself since professional framing services can be quite expensive. Additionally, learning how to successfully frame a painting isn’t difficult, although it does require a good eye. Of course, being an admirer of art, you likely possess this quality already.
Before you frame a painting you should first consider its composition. The frame should be an extension of the piece. A poorly framed painting can greatly diminish the intended impact of the artist’s work itself. So, since a great deal of thought and perspective went into what is depicted on the canvas itself, it should naturally follow that there is more to the frame than merely what to wrap around art. Fortunately, there are some general rules of thumb you can follow.
A work of art that is highly detailed, vibrantly colored, or abstract in nature, is best suited to a frame with clean, simple lines. On the other hand, a painting that portrays a single subject or a group of related objects, such as still life, often becomes animated with an ornate art frame. Other elements to consider before you frame a painting is the width and overall size of the frame, as well as the material from which it is made. For example, a modern chrome frame would look alien draped around a woodland scene. However, a rough-hewn wooden frame would compliment the theme nicely.
Another element to reflect on as you frame a painting is how it should be matted. Matting adds dimension to almost any kind of painting, no matter what the subject. Generally, the orientation of the painting will dictate whether the matting should be vertical or horizontal. In addition, consider using unconventional matting techniques. For instance, surrounding a small painting with an oversized mat can really make the piece ‘pop,’ both up close and from a distance. Likewise, layering mats of different widths or even different colors is a great eye-catching technique, providing it doesn’t overpower the painting itself.
Once a painting is properly matted, all you need to do is to insert it into the open backside of the selected frame. The painting (and glass, if applicable) should then be secured in place with screws or the side clips of the frame, if included. Next, two strap hangers should be screwed into the frame to support hanging, leaving enough slack to accommodate hanging wire. Finally, thread the appropriate length of hanging wire through each strap hanger, wrapping any excess tightly around each hanger. Screw each strap hanger down securely, and your painting is ready to hang.
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