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A Complete Guide To Framing Art - How To Frame An Artwork

A complete guide to framing art

Whether you are a seasoned collector or just have one or two pieces in your home, you will know that framing art, and framing it right, can add a stunning new dimension. Everything from the type, size, and colour of the frame to the way it’s mounted can change the look and feel of a piece entirely, thus altering the mood of the room in which it is hung. Here is a complete guide to framing it to ensure that you showcase your artwork perfectly.

Type of artwork

The type of artwork you are framing, whether a painting or a print/photograph can determine the type of frame you can have.

For original paintings, you can choose a traditional frame where the canvas painting sits to the inner edge of the frame, 'the lip' of the frame, and the painting is mounted through the back of the frame. Or, you choose a floating frame where the frame doesn't have 'the lip' and the canvas is mounted through the front of the painting. The painting, therefore, sits on top of the frame and appears to be 'floating'.

Here are some recent examples of my paintings framed using traditional frames and floating frames, so you can see the difference.

A photo of one of my custom original paintings in a floating frame in my client's home.

A photo of one of my custom original paintings in a traditional frame in my client's home.

Choosing your frame colour

The frame you choose is incredibly important, and it can alter the mood of the picture entirely. Choosing a contemporary frame in a matt, block colour can add drama to a piece. Going for an elegant, thin frame in metallic gold or silver gives a much more delicate look. There is a wide variety of frame choices on offer for standard-sized artwork. If your original art is in an unusual or larger size, you can also get a custom frame made to fit its dimensions exactly.

Here is a sample of some of the frames offered by my local framer. I have seen an increasing demand for authentic wooden frames and chrome or golden frames with my clients, which are currently trending.


For art prints and fine art photographs, beyond simply framing your piece of art, matting can provide an additional border. The matting is a piece of board which acts as a ‘window’ to display your artwork. The mat board can be cut to any thickness, and can be any colour. This is particularly useful for highlighting a certain tone in a piece of artwork, helping it to suit the room where it is going to be placed.

If you want to add matting to your new piece of contemporary art, you will need:

  • Mat board in your chosen colour
  • A box cutter or similar blade
  • A ruler
  • A protective cutting surface or mat
  • A pencil
  • A specialist mat cutter
  • Your chosen frame

First, cut your mat board so that it is the same size as the frame you want to use. Most off-the-shelf frames come with a backing – use this as a template to help you cut the correct dimensions.

You then must measure the window or opening that your artwork will show through. How big or small this window should be depends on the look you are wanting to achieve. Be careful, this requires a steady hand and good use of a ruler!

Once you have marked, in pencil, the lines where you want to cut, use the mat cutter to carefully cut the mat board. After cutting four straight lines, push the rest of the mat board through to create a gap.

Place the newly cut mat board on top of your art, print or fine art photograph and secure in place using your frame.

All of my art prints come with a 1-cm classic white border, as pictured, so matting is not required.


Trusted framing experts

Of course, if a piece is particularly valuable or if you simply would rather leave the framing process down to the experts, there are a number of reputable framing businesses that can help you to make your new piece of art look stunning, and perfect for its environment. I use a trusted local professional framer with over 20 years experience for all my framing work.

This is a photo of one of my recent custom paintings which I had framed for my client.

One thing I love about my local framer is that I know that they will always be made using high-quality materials. I check all of the frames in person at the framing shop before sending photos to my clients, and then packaging the artwork safely for transport to my clients worldwide.

Want a custom framed artwork?

If you are interested in purchasing an original painting from my collection, or having a custom painting created for you, please get in touch here to find out about my framing options and get a quote.

For more framing ideas and a vast range of artwork, please visit my partner website abstracthouse.com. Shop abstract art prints amongst other beautiful artwork on Abstract House.