How to choose the right wood for your picture frames

Written by chris pink on October 3, 2014 in Picture Framing

how to choose picture frame wood mouldings

Above: an example of the beautiful grain found in cherry


If you don’t know much about wood, learning about picture framing can be a daunting experience. After all, frames don’t come in just one kind of wood, they come in many!

Here’s a basic overview of the different types and what may be suitable for your project.

Soft-wood frames

Often the cheapest, these frames are easy to paint, minimal on the grain and are also usually very light-weight. Be warned, though, as they’re not as hardy or durable as some woods. That said, the cost factor makes this type of wood attractive for artists/consumers who need to frame a lot of things.


Love to see that grain? Then oak, considered by some to be the benchmark of fine framing, is often the answer. It’s heavier and sturdier than soft-wood, making it ideal for framing weighty mirrors and large oil paintings. The cost factor obviously shoots up though, as you might expect.

Ash and cherry and other smooth woods

Cherry frames look incredible just as they are, and often only require a layer of wax to bring out their potential. Ash, on the other hand, is incredibly hard and very fine in its grain, making it the ideal answer when you need something contemporary to go with prints, etchings and simple, modern paintings.

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