Professional Framing Techniques

By Armand Cabrera

Framing is almost as important as the painting itself. While people can disagree on the color or style of frame there are some basic approaches to framing that makes your work look more professional.

These are the steps I take when framing an oil or acrylic painting

Here is how my frame looks just out of the box.

When I remove it from the plastic the first thing I do is put my name on it. This prevents galleries and venues from swapping my nice metal leaf or in some cases gold leaf frame with finished corners for some cheap chopped frame from Graphic Dimensions or Michaels. I also put the title on the back of the painting and a sticker with contact info. This allows collectors to find me since most galleries nowadays don’t give out collector info to the artists.

Next I put rubber bumpers or felt bumpers on all the corners so the frame doesn’t leave marks on the wall. If I have a case where I am framing stretched canvas I put them on the corners of the stretched canvas if it makes contact with the wall instead of the frame when it hangs.

Never nail your paintings into your frames if someone wants to swap the frame down the line you have to use something that doesn’t hurt the wood. I use offset clips or S clips to do the job. This way I can swap my paintings in and out of the frame with just a screwdriver.
I keep a number of sizes for the different sizes of my paintings. Because this image is on linen panel the clip is facing down into the frame.
If it was stretched linen I would flip the clip over so it stood out away from the frame to hold the canvas.

Once I screw in the clips I place the wire holders and attach those to the frame low enough that the wire will form a triangle shape when hanging but not stick out above the frame.

Next I get my picture hanging wire and attach one side to the wire holder. I do this by looping the wire thought the holders ring twice and then twist it back along the wire.

This insures it won’t unravel and bonk someone on the head while my painting is hanging above them on the couch.

 I then measure where I want the wire to end at its apex. I do this so when it hangs it doesn’t stick out above the frame. I cut the other side of the wire and fasten it in the same way.

I’m done and the picture is ready to hang on the wall. Only 24 more to go for the show this week at Narmada.

If you have any questions about anything I talked about here leave me a comment.

6 thoughts on “Professional Framing Techniques

  1. Matthew,

    I don't have one place I buy my frames. The best thing I can tell you is buy wholesale and in bulk if you can. Thats what I do. I use different people for different sizes and styles; King of Frame, JFM and Omega. Gold frames are on a piece by piece basis because so few of my colectors want them. I'm just not at a price point yet where it matters. I use gold leaf for national shows.

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