Blog: Picture Framing
Let’s say you’ve just finished re-decorating your living room. You want to start brand-new, now, and hang paintings so that the space emulates a smart gallery room.
But stop right there: have you considered the effect of spacing the paintings, or how much room you have to play with?
In this week’s blog, we’ll consider the various things that affect how you hang pictures and what makes them look good on the wall.
Space is opinion
How many paintings or photos you decide to hang depends on the biggest factor: space and how much of it there will be between each painting.
You can either go for the sparse approach, and have only a few select works with plenty of room between each of them, or you can position a number of paintings on the wall.
Providing there is equal room between each painting, the latter approach can work equally well. Which brings us to point number 2…
In order to work out how many paintings you would like to hang, consider how far away the paintings will be viewed from. If there is a fair bit of room to stand back and admire the pictures, you may wish to have less paintings.
That way, the eye will focus only on specific works of art.
If you have a smaller room, however, you may want the intimate approach of looking at lots of different intricate paintings.
This works very well with small pieces that demand a lot of attention, or when you have a theme that flows throughout each one, telling a story.
The main thing to remember is that if you have just a few paintings on show, you won’t want too many frame types to distract from the art.
On the other hand, if you have many different paintings, you may well be able to use lots of different frames, and make this a feature entirely in its own right.
You’ve decided on the wood. You know where it’s going. There’s just one more thing to consider: your frame’s profile, and how it’ll affect the art-work that will go inside it.
Take a picture frame moulding and turn it so that you’re looking along the length of it.
What you’re seeing is the frame’s profile, which shows a cross-section of how many grooves the frame has, if it’s rounded or if it’s square.
Here’s our guide to choosing the right profile for your picture frame:
Step 1: take a close look at your art-work
Forget the colours of your painting for a moment, and focus on the texture. Are there intricate lines?
Does the painting feature buildings? Does it depict a grand, Victorian theme or is it a pen-and ink sketch of a busy market one-hundred years ago?
In that case, you may want a frame with more detail and grooves within its body.
Step 2: deciding on squared-off or round edges
Take another look at your art-work. Is there a softness about the piece?
Is it a landscape which has woodland, or a painting that speaks of natural pleasures like a walk amongst some woodland?
In that case, you may want to go for a profile which is rounded as well as made up of grooves.
Step 3: or should you go with a frame that slopes in?
If you’re looking for a frame that leads the eye into the middle of the picture, a flat frame which descends towards the picture could be a nice idea.
These frames often have a narrow inner edge that’s gold or can be painted gold or another colour, adding contrast and enhancing the piece as it hangs on the wall.
Step 4: when to go with something more complex
Some picture frames have very complex mouldings which have many deep grooves, high and low elements, and intriguing corner sections with swirls and patterns.
These frames are rarely cheap and can be very heavy, but if you have a particularly special family portrait, for example, they can be the ideal choice.
Send us an email or give us a ring and we’ll happily advise you on picture frames, different mounts and all the rest. But as experienced as we are at what we do, there are some things that only you know!
Here, then, are 3 personal (but not too personal!) questions to ask yourself before you begin the picture framing process. Give these a thought and you’ll be making the right choice, with confidence.
Number 1: does everyone agree on the frames you’re considering?
If you’re hanging a picture in your study, and only you use it, chances are that you can get away with framing that print exactly how you want to.
But if the art-work is set to hang in a more public area like the living or dining room, you’ll need to make sure everyone agrees! If opinions are divided, you’re better off waiting until you can reach a compromise with the whole family.
And if the problem seems to be style, with everyone wanting something different, consider something modern like a wide, flat wooden frame.
That way, your piece will be the focus of attention, and instead of everyone arguing about the frame, they’ll be looking at the art instead!
Number 2: are you sure you’re not going to redecorate that room soon?
One of the biggest reasons why people have pictures re-framed is that they have decided to change the style of a room. This means that, suddenly, the new style doesn’t work with the old frames.
Our advice is to think well into the next couple of years.
Do this and you’re sure to take future ideas into account, giving you the chance to frame pictures so that they will work with the room as it is, and as you would like it.
Alternatively, we can frame your art-work in simple frames for the time being, and then you can upgrade to new frames in the near future.
That way, you won’t waste too much money and you’ll ensure everything is in-keeping.
Number 3: are you listening to your own mind and not your friends?
With everyone having a different idea of what’s stylish and in fashion, it’s easy to get swept away with trends and end up with an all-white living room that contains only 1 large painting, framed so minimalistically that you can barely see it.
The key thing here is to listen to your own mind and what makes you tick!
Lots of people secretly want to make a real feature out of their paintings, so don’t be shy about using colour just the way you want it.
After all, you’re the one who has to live with the art on a day-to-day basis. Why should you compromise?
Here are 3 exceedingly common questions we get asked quite a lot. Ask us these and you’re very likely to get answers to much more, and gain expert insight that you didn’t have before.
Don’t have time? Then this blog post should help you out plenty for now!
Number 1: “how custom is custom?”
A very good question to start with. Allow us to put it like this: we frame whatever comes our way.
That really could mean anything!
One day it might be some treasured jewellery, displayed in the centre of a frame, seemingly levitating in a void, while the next it could be a very narrow portrait-style frame that requires special attention to its mount.
Think it can’t be framed? We can’t claim to be able to frame absolutely everything, but we will be honest with you and always do our best.
Number 2: “can you guide me as to what kind of
wood and finishes you care to offer?”
Yes we can, absolutely. We understand that our website is big and that not everyone wants to (or can!) spend hours looking through all its pages.
In this case, allow us to really narrow down your options. One of our expert framers will discuss some options with you and give you a great starting point.
That way, you’ll start off with solid options and may even be exposed to ideas that you had never previously considered…but that work really well!
Number 3: “I’m not sure how to frame this watercolour
we found, can you please advise?”
My, you are polite.
Yes. No problem. Some things are very easy to frame. Others require a bit more thought. Watercolours, in general, need to be considered with specific care.
We could just shove one in a frame, but would that ensure it longevity? We don’t think so. Watercolour paper can be incredibly fragile…
The key thing to take away from all this is the following: framing isn’t just about making something attractive and wall-worthy, it’s about maintaining it in as good a state as possible, for as long as we possibly can!
White is a brilliant colour, and anyone who has ever bought white paint will know one thing for certain: where white is concerned…there’s more than one kind! In fact, there are hundreds.
If you apply this thinking to custom picture frames, it’s easy to see how many varieties of white can be created. All you have to do is take the smallest splash of blue, red or yellow paint and add it to emulsion.
Stir it in well and you’ll have some lovely new white paint with a very subtle hint.
Here are a few ideas to get you started, along with an idea of colours that work well for certain kinds of art and photography.
Blue tinted white paint, for bright Mediterranean themes
For bright Mediterranean themed art, plain white can be a little too plain, and a bold colour like dark red would be much too overpowering.
This is where light blue steps in. It’s a pastel shade so it goes very well with most contemporary furniture, and it’ll add a level of interest that white simply can’t achieve. A great way to compliment oil paintings or photos.
Grey tinted white – a great way to darken white
without adding too much mood
Grey tinted white? I know, it sounds a bit dull. But in fact, when you place a simple, light grey frame on a very-white wall, the effect can be very appealing indeed.
The trick here is to only use the barest trace of grey paint when you create the original mix.
Even a light shade of grey will do a lot to add interest, and this colour works excellently with black and white photo prints.
Pinky-white adds smile-inducing character
Looking to brighten a white frame up but not ready for the bold colours we spoke of at the start of this blog post? If terracotta is your thing, then light pink or even subtle orange could be a wonderful way to go.
This colour is ideally suited to sunsets and will work well with most wood furniture.
Be careful not to add too much orange to your paint, though. There again, if you have a sunset painting with a burning orb as the star attraction, that could be exactly what’s needed.
Here on this blog we like to think we’ve covered quite a bit by now. That being said, there’s always something else to consider, and this week it’s the pictures themselves…when you have so many, how do you choose which to frame and which to leave out?
It isn’t simple by any means, but here are 3 pointers which always make things easier.
Frames (and rooms) love themes
We know that it’s possible to frame lots of different types of thing in one place. The question is more if you should choose to do that. Some homes work well with lots of different art-work on the walls, but generally speaking, we think it’s fair to say that art and frames go hand-in-hand with themes.
A theme will give you a dominant colour that compliments your furniture, and it’ll also enable you to use the same kind of picture frame throughout, which means that you won’t spend forever choosing different ones. If you still want to frame lots of different things it may still be possible, of course. In this case, try to use similar mounts and frames which are different, but not strikingly so in size, width and profile.
Let’s say you have a series of Vietnamese paintings. They’re bright with red and yellow colours, and will really make an impact on your walls. Got lots of red and yellow in the room already? In that case, the impact will be big.
If you don’t want the impact to be quite so forceful, we’d recommend you tone it down a bit. By all means feel free to employ colour, but be careful – sometimes the brightest colours need to be used in moderation (unless you want the impact they give!).
Format and spacing
Chances are that, without you even really registering it, your room is dictating a certain kind of picture and size of frame go on the wall. Examine your furniture. Is it chunky, delicate, traditional or dark wood? The size of the objects in the room will go a long way towards influencing the frames you can hang within it. For example, if the room already contains a lot of old wooden furniture, be careful not to use bulky wooden frames that add too much extra of the same thing.
That concludes this week’s blog. Feel free to get in touch if you have a query, would like a quote or simply have a burning picture framing question!
2015 may be the age of automation, but that doesn’t mean our craft people just shove some wood in a machine and get a frame out the other end.
Far from it, in fact! In this week’s blog, we take you through the process – from what happens when someone orders a frame, to every practical step along the way (OK, not every practical step, but most and everything you, as a customer, need to know).
1: your enquiry/order
Often, the order is simple. A photographer needing basic black frames of the same size for their photography business, perhaps, or a standard metal frame set.
Then there’s the enquiry which needs assistance. Like when someone needs specialist advice on colours, where they are putting their frame, or the type of wood they might use.
We’re happy to get on with the job as specified, or give it some proper thought and give you our expert opinion.
It’s worth noting that we make a lot of custom sized frames, too. We couldn’t possibly list everything we are asked about here, but suffice to say that it is a lot!
2: sourcing the goods
The way it works is this: we keep materials on-site, and when we don’t have a moulding that we need, we order it in. The key here is quality control.
We inspect every moulding that comes through the door. And not just for dents. We make sure wood isn’t too warped, discoloured, or low quality.
We also make sure that when a frame is being put together, all the pieces are similar, so that it looks right and nothing is out of place.
3: frame creation
Where do we start? An average day might see us assembling dozens of sleek metal frames, piecing together tricky wood custom orders, or framing a difficult to house item (like a football shirt or a children’s toy).
Once again, it’s an opportunity for us to keep an eye on quality and keep you, the customer, happy.
4: package and send
What good is all that hard work if not protected at the end? All our frames are wrapped appropriately.
Have a question? We’re here to help, so feel free to email or give us a ring and have a chat.
Wooden picture frame, anyone? We sell everything from metal picture frames to pewter picture frames, but clearly wooden picture frames are our biggest seller, and something we get asked a lot about.
With such an industry staple, you’d think you could almost close your eyes and pick a frame. But alas, some care needs to be taken. Here, in this week’s blog post, we show you what to consider when hunting a suitable wooden picture frame down.
1: not all wood of the same kind looks the same
Looking for some new cherry wood picture frames for the house? Keep in mind that grains differ in all types of wood, and that means that although your new picture frame will look very similar, there may be slight differences in tone and colour.
2: deceptively simple wood picture frames are the way to go
There are lots of ornate wood picture frames on offer to the public, from mouldings with high detail, to frames with deep profiles. However, simple flat frames are always a good bet. Failing that, you could always select a curved frame.
With their smoothed, rolled-over edges, these look classy and come in an array of wood varieties.
3: there are bargains to be had
Found a frame that you love, but that’s slightly too expensive? In that case, consider a narrower frame, or a slightly different type. You’ll be surprised by some of the deals we can do.
4: narrow frames with large mounts work very well
If you’re on a tight budget, but have a large picture that you need mounted and framed, your best bet may well be a narrow frame and a wide mount.
Chunky frames often cost a lot in large sizes, so this can be one way to make a compromise without ending up with something a million miles from what you intended.
5: don’t forget about the dark colours!
Dark woods may not be quite as popular as the lighter varieties, but they can work just as well.
Be sure to look at everything from walnut to virtually black – coupled with an eggshell or off-white mount, these can make for visually arresting combinations with excellent high-contrast.
We don’t like to boast, but here at Picture Frame Studio, we know a thing or two about picture frames (you’d expect us to, wouldn’t you?!).
And one thing is certain: you get cheap frames that work (ours) and those that don’t (we’re not naming names!). Here’s our quick guide, packed with info about how to tell the difference between quality and…everything else!
Wood quality matters
Wood, clearly, is not all made the same. You have hard wood and soft wood, and a million grades in between…
How do we select our wood? Well, we use affordable wood that has nice grain and is nice and sturdy with it. You can tell good wood from bad by flexing it and looking at what happens.
Pine is a prime example – if you pick up a dodgy picture frame, you’ll find it flexes all over the place and doesn’t offer enough support to the art-work inside it.
Wood doesn’t have to be very expensive to be good, but it does have to have the appropriate qualities we always look for.
It’s all in the corners
Take this example: picture frame 1 has 2 staples, while picture frame 2 has 4 staples. 2 staples might be enough for a narrow frame, but the key thing is to use enough to cover a corner’s surface area.
This prevents flexing and means that if that frame does ever hit the ground, it won’t fall apart on impact!
Beware (some, not all!) painted frames
It can be hard to take two painted picture frames and tell good from bad. Our advice? Turn the frame over, first, and make sure that there are enough staples. It should also have been glued, ideally, to add extra adhesion.
Otherwise, examine the surface and have a look at where each frame corner meets another. Is one side higher than the other?
Is there an ominous crack opening in the paint? Both of these things in the same frame probably don’t mean great things…
Summary? If you pick up a cheap picture frame in a shop it could be the best thing you ever did for your art work. But equally, it could be bad news, so stay one step ahead and keep those eyes wide open! (Or…buy from us.)
The world of picture framing can be a formal one at times, and with measurements and room dynamics often taking centre stage, it’s easy to go the same route as everyone else.
Look beyond the usual, however, and there are all kinds of ways of using picture frames to present work in a more adventurous manner. In this week’s blog post, we take a look at a few.
Reconsider the way you think of mounts
Standard mounts are absolutely ideal for things like formal portraits, but what do you do when you feel like mixing things up a bit? The answer is…experiment!
Delve into our archives and you’ll discover a host of bold colours and intriguing effects that could really bring out your subject’s personality.
If you’re feeling really daring, you could even hand-paint your own mount and then cut it at home with some simple mount cutting equipment.
Distressed frames are fully customizable!
Ever wanted to put your own spin on a frame? In that case, you could buy a gold leaf frame and then take some wire wool to it, revealing the layers of paint underneath.
This gives an immediate aged quality to a frame, and makes it look interesting without it being scruffy. If you’re really up for challenge you could even have a go at gold leafing a frame yourself.
Frame something truly unique
Typically, it’s art-work and photos that get the picture framing treatment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options.
For example, we can frame anything from a pebble collection to a wrestling outfit, and we’ll do it in a box frame that will make a wonderful gift.
Box frames are wonderful because they’re modern, sturdy, and they make a piece stand out from the wall they are hung on.
So, next time you think about going standard, give some consideration to doing something a little bit different. Colour is your friend, and the only thing limiting your creations is creativity!
It’s here, there’s no denying it: our days of cold and rain are (hopefully! Please?!) behind us for this year, and summer is upon us. And with that realisation comes another one – it’s time to head down to the beach and snap away!
That’s all fine and well, but how do you frame a beach scene? Good question. In this week’s blog post, we’ll show you how, offer inspiration and give you some picture framing food for thought.
1: light coloured mounts work well
The Beatles. A solar eclipse. Some things are great and always will be. Enter the off-white mount. This has been a firm favourite with beach photos for many years, and there’s no reason to change that now. The white contrasts really well with the stunning blue sky, and it also offers enough contrast with the sand at the bottom. Job done.
2: natural wood frames are just the start
Natural wood picture frames are the obvious choice for these kinds of pictures. Then again, you may want to be bolder. For example, if you have a sunset, you could go with a bright colour frame that matches the burning sun, or a dark blue one for a stormy beach night.
3: metal frames have their uses too
The silvery sands and metallic rocks in some photos make metal frames a great option if you want something hard wearing, smart and with enough smoothness to shine under lights. These also work exceptionally well for black and white photographs or monochrome images.
4: wide frame, anyone?
Slim frames are great, and can allow the picture to become the star of the show. Wide frames, however, should not be forgotten! They lead the eye in and really make the piece in to a stunning feature that jumps out from the wall.
That’s all for this week. Look out for more picture framing advice in the weeks to come!
If there is any subject within the realm of picture framing that causes confusion and alarm, it’s got to be that of the mounts which accompany picture frames. Do it right and you’ll enhance the image, creating a match made in heaven. Do it wrong and you’ll dampen the allure of the art-work inside the wood exterior, resulting in a look which won’t enhance anything!
This week, here’s our 3 step guide to selecting the best mount possible.
Step 1: know your colours
The way to bring out the true personality of a painting or photo is to select a dominant colour from the painting. This may sound simple, but when there are several, it certainly isn’t!
Achieve the best look by choosing a colour which will both match your art and go well in your home. If in doubt, over anything, select a colour which will work well in the room you intend to put the painting in. Nobody will notice if the mount colour is slightly different to that of the painting’s main colour, but eyes will notice if you choose a colour that doesn’t fit in the chosen environment!
Step 2: double mounts can work wonders
Many people opt for a very plain mount, fearing that too bright a colour will look strange. In truth, a bright colour, as long as it’s appropriate, can work wonders! Double mounts, equally – where there is a thin slip of a bolder colour on the inside and a lighter one on the outside – can look fantastic.
The key, as with anything, is moderation. So go easy on having too much bright colour showing.
Step 3: opinions are divided…so trust your instinct
Want a certain colour mount? There are no hard and fast rules here! While we give advice constantly about the best colours and textures, sometimes breaking the rules works well in itself. This is particularly true if you are mounting abstract work. Sometimes, choosing the right mount can be as much about the personality of the painting or the person who’s hanging it on their wall, so don’t be afraid to break away from the pack!
Getting a family image or holiday photograph printed on a canvas is a fantastic way to put a smile on a loved one’s face and share some memories at a special time.
The way canvases are printed, with the image often wrapped around the sides, means that many people decide not to have the gift framed.
Putting a frame around a canvas can look stunning, though. In this week’s blog let’s take a look at the most suitable picture frames to choose from, and think about where colour fits in, too.
Depth is important
The first important thing to remember is that depth plays a vital part. Some canvases are thin, while others are blocky and sit two or three inches from the wall. Be sure to choose a frame which is deep enough to accept your canvas – simple box frames work very well.
Thinking outside the box!
While the box frame is the go-to option for standard canvases, it is possible to be more adventurous. There’s no reason why your canvas can’t be treated to a more ornate frame, and frames with texture compliment the surface of a canvas very well and continue the theme.
Have a canvas that you want to make a real feature of? In that case, it’s entirely possible to put a thin, simple frame round the canvas, and then place a bigger main frame around this.
Doing so really allows the canvas to jump out of the wall, and leads the eye in and out of the art-work beautifully.
Colour is your friend
If you’re trying to achieve a high-contrast look between colourful walls and a colourful canvas, we’d recommend framing with a paler-coloured frame, such as cream.
If your walls are white, though, and you’re looking to make a big impact with your canvas, then it could be a great idea to choose a very bright frame.
Here at Picture Frame Studio, our business is in making custom size frames fit for any purpose. That said, we understand that sometimes people come across picture frames in high-street shops and find that these work well for images and photos that are standard, basic sizes.
So, with standard in mind, here’s our check-list of what to look out for to make sure that your new frame is a decent buy.
Is the frame too narrow?
Narrow frames can work very well, but if a frame is too narrow – for example, less than 2cm wide – you may struggle to put screws in the back without them bursting out of the sides. You can use very small screws of course, but even these can be a problem, so this is a factor to keep in mind.
Do the frame and mount really go together?
Ready-made mounts and frames often work well. But beware strange or obscure colour combinations, and remember that even if your art-work matches these colours, the whole thing needs to work when it’s up on your wall at home!
That cheap picture frame you picked up for very little money may seem like a great deal, but if the frame hasn’t been properly put together, it won’t last very long. Turn the frame over and have a look at the corners. Can you see at least two V shaped staples holding each one together?
If the frame flexes a lot, or you can’t see evidence of both staples and glue, then that good deal may be one you might live to regret.
Acrylic or glass
There’s a place for both materials in picture frames, but beware the wrong material in the wrong frame! If your picture frame is going to stay in one place then we’d always recommend glass. But if you think you might move the frame around, or you’re at all concerned about it being dropped, then acrylic is the superior choice.
Now for the mount…
The last thing on this check-list is the mount (or matting). As mentioned in previous blog posts, you’ll want to have a look and see if the corners have been cut well. Over time, badly over-cut corners can attract dirt and dust and look anything but attractive, so always opt for a mount which has been cut well (…or mention this to the person at the checkout and see if a discount is forthcoming!).
A framed photograph is a gift that’ll put a smile on the face of anyone, any age. That said, one size – and type – does not fit all! Read on for some classic ideas to suit new parents, youngsters, teenagers and older people who have seen it all.
The classic look – ideal for new parents
When you’ve just received the greatest gift of all-time, a child, the last thing you want is a present that’s more of a feature than your new little one! So, for new parents, we suggest giving a classic white or dark frame that won’t upstage the new arrival.
White frames are available in every size to suit, and both black and white picture frames work well with adorable black and white photos of babies.
The best picture frame idea for teens
For teenagers, we’d steer clear of gold and go with a light natural wood. Alternatively, you could apply a generous coating of liming wax and let the grain show through.
If your teen is a fan of bright colours, then by all means go ahead – and if you’re going this route…don’t hold back!
The brighter the colour, the more of a statement.
Picture frames for young children
Young children are probably the easiest to please on this list – you can’t go wrong with bold, bright colours, and a frame with multiple windows is bound to work well, because then they can have a series of lovely pictures to look at.
Alternatively, you could create a montage look, and stick all kinds of objects to the surface of the frame. Either go with a theme, or choose a selection of fun items and get DIYing!
What to do for older people
For the older more discerning person, your options are plentiful – choose a gold frame for that pure, established look, or go with a slightly more refined pewter frame.
Alternatively, dark wood frames always save the day, and if all else fails, you can choose a narrow metal frame that’ll work a treat with vintage photos in black and white or sepia.