How Do I Become a Picture Framer?

Jennifer Voight

Most people working in the picture framing profession become a picture framer after working under an experienced master picture framer as a part-time helper or apprentice for two to four years. There are a few picture framing courses offered by community colleges and through workshops held by professional picture framing organizations. Most important, however, are the personal qualities that a job candidate possesses, like attention to detail, creativity, and customer service experience.

Professional picture framers are trained under master craftsmen.
Professional picture framers are trained under master craftsmen.

Many picture framers find jobs in small family-owned or chain custom-framing centers. Other job opportunities for picture framers are available in art galleries or large retail arts and crafts stores that offer picture framing departments. To become a picture framer, it’s common to begin by obtaining a job as a part-time worker doing general duties and progress to working with a more experienced picture framer. Some prospective framers have backgrounds in art history, fine arts, or graphic design. Although these backgrounds can be helpful, they are not required.

Picture framers may work with antique or ornate designs to make a picture standout.
Picture framers may work with antique or ornate designs to make a picture standout.

As picture framers spend a lot of time working with customers to determine custom picture framing needs, anyone who wants to become a picture framer must work well with people and have a professional appearance. These professionals help customers create a work of art by helping them choose matting and frame styles. An eye for color, design, and interior decorating can be very helpful. To determine the cost of a project, a professional must be able to take accurate measurements. These results help him figure the cost of supplies and aid the customer in creating a framing project within a particular budget.

To become a picture framer, it’s helpful to be able to use basic tools, like a screwdriver, hammer, and saw for cutting frames. Basic carpentry skills can help because picture framers assemble frames from scratch. An individual who wants to become a picture framer should have great attention to detail and be able to work well with her hands.

There are a few ways to increase marketability and advance in the picture framing field. Professional organizations offer courses and certifications that enable picture framers to hold the designation certified picture framer and master certified picture framer. This can enable a person to move into management or start his or her own business. Some picture framers choose to use a picture-framing background to move into other, better paying fields that require more education in science and chemistry, like art conservation or art restoration.

Basic carpentry skills can be useful for assembling picture frames from scratch.
Basic carpentry skills can be useful for assembling picture frames from scratch.

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