The 7 Things You Need To Consider When Framing An Art Print

Let’s face it. If you have a really stunning art print you are going to want to show it off. But if that print is unframed, there are a number of factors to consider before hanging it on the wall. That’s because no two art prints are the same. You will want to pay particular attention to the following seven items as they will form the template you can use for all future art prints.

1 – The Size Factor

You need to know precisely how big your art print is before you start to work on the framing of it. You will have two basic options: standard and custom.

What this means is should your print be a standard size, A2 or A3 as examples, framing choices will be abundant. That is to say, ready-made frames come in the full range of standard sizes. If your print does not fit a standard size, you will have to get a custom made frame. Custom frames may cost a bit more than standard, but with a custom frame, you can be a bit more creative.

The size of your print will also help you to determine what kind of material will be used in the actual frame construction.


2 – The Components

The frame is much more than just the four panels of material that surround your print. There are other important parts to the frame that are generally referred to as components.

Depending on the size of the print and where you intend to display it, the type of components you’ll need will vary. A mount is nice in that it can create framing space between your print and frame as opposed to the frame butting up against the edge of the print. The wider the mount, the more you force eyes to look at the art in the center of the mount/frame.

Glazing is another consideration. That’s a fancy way of describing the type of glass that sits overtop of the print. Your choices are basically Clarity+ Acrylic, which has much the same reflective properties as glass, is safer and has a higher UV value or Float Glass, which is you other option. It does not have the same properties as Clarity+ Acrylic.


3 – The Orientation

This is where you have to pay some attention to the size and shape of the wall you plan to hang your framed print from.

For example, if the wall happens to be wide a landscape print would probably look better on it. Or you could use the space to hang several smaller prints. For a tall and narrow wall you would be better off hanging portraits and you could stack them to create an interesting visual.

The place where your framed print will fit best is still very much up to you, but these suggestions are primarily logical in design.


4 – The Material

You know we’ve covered a lot of ground to this point, right? Well, the material you choose to frame your art print with is just about as important as the actual print itself. That’s because the material will set the print apart from anything else on the walls in the same room. Plus, with the ‘right’ material choice, the overall look of the room can be enhanced.

As example is that if the room is mostly contemporary in look and furnishings, a contemporary frame material like aluminum may fit in nicely. If the room has a more rustic feel to it, a frame of wood or even rough cut lumber that is a bit distressed can complement the existing décor.

Or, you can just go off the chart and use a contemporary frame material in a rustic room to create a dramatic contrast.


5 – The Color

This is where the rubber hits the road. Color says a lot about a frame. It also has to create the right balance between the art print it is framing and still fit within the existing décor of the room the frame will be in.

There are several questions you will have to address with color and they include:

  • Which color(s) will complement the current room décor?
  • What color(s) will bring out the best in the art print being framed?
  • Do you want the art print to be a feature or just a subdued part of the art work in the room?
  • Do you want to use a trendy color or not?
  • Will the color(s) work if the framed print has to go into another space?
  • Why was I framing this print, again?

The frame color is an essential part of the print framing equation. Plus, the mount color is also something to consider at this time.


6 – The Pattern/Finish

As if you haven’t had enough choices to narrow down, here is another category that will give you an endless supply of options.

The interesting thing about patterns and frame finishes is that you can be very creative here. The moldings of your frame can fall under several different styles ranging from foiled and brushed to painted, stained and ornate. This is really where you can create a statement that lets your framed art print speak.

If you are seeking a more classic look, unfinished wood can say that with just a glance. A lacquered frame would work well with an art deco print. Sometimes you can match the frame finish with the actual print. If it has bright colors in it, then a brightly colored stain or painted frame will finish it off nicely.


7 – The Location

This is a bit more than just the wall you plan to hang your print from. This is more about composition than anything else.

If your newly framed art print is part of a set, then that will dictate the location it will be placed. If the print is meant to be a standalone featured art piece, it will look best as the only piece on a particular wall. If the piece is something that fits a theme of other framed prints already on a wall, then you may want to group them or use them as a mood setting visual that fills the room.

For example, if all the existing prints in a room have a Western/cowboy theme, and your new print does as well, it would fit best in the same room.


A Few More Things To Remember About Framing Your Print

The frame you choose is going to provide your print with a level of protection. It is because of this that you should avoid a cheap, inexpensive frame just to get the print on a wall. Good quality frames are not costly, but they will be worth whatever you spend if it protects your print and gives it the kind of attention it deserves.

Avoid a much heavier frame than required. This is, unless you have the perfect place to hang it and that the place on the wall you use can actually support the frame. That may involve special hanging brackets and additional support. When you can properly hang a large art print, it will add something to the space that can’t be matched.

Unless you are filling every available blank space on your wall with a jigsaw puzzle selection of framed prints, there is one way to place a print for best appeal. The center of the art work should be at eye level. In other words, hang your print so the center of it is between 1.5 and 2-meters from the floor for maximum effect.


The Best Way To Hang Your Print Is With The Correct Tools

Alright, now that you’ve made it this far, you can’t just swing a hammer and hope that your guesstimate is pretty close. What you need to do is use a level, pencil and a ruler.

These tools will help you to straighten the frame. Also, using a single nail to hold a frame of any significant weight is well, going to fail at one point. Picture hooks, mirror plates and more than one nail can hold your framed print in place and keep gravity from tugging it to the floor. Gravity can really cause you a great deal of pain if you’ve covered these seven steps and your art print ends up damaged when it smashes on the floor.


Make Your Rooms Explode

Framed prints are more than just pretty photos in an equally pretty frame. With the right combination of the seven elements described here you can make a room just dance. Mood, message and vibe can all be affected by the right choice of art print and frame sitting (okay, hanging) from the perfect space.

There is a bit of a science to it, but now you know the secrets behind it. Get out there and give it a try. You’ll love the results so much you’ll start adding more art prints to your personal collection.

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