How to Frame Art Prints: A Comprehensive Guide to Enhance Your Artwork

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How to frame art prints is a comprehensive guide that delves into the art of framing, providing readers with valuable insights and practical techniques to elevate their artwork. From selecting the perfect frame to assembling it with precision, this guide offers a wealth of knowledge for art enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned framer or just starting your journey, this guide will equip you with the skills and knowledge to create stunning framed art prints that will showcase your artwork in its best light.

Materials for Framing Art Prints

Framing art prints involves the use of various materials to protect, enhance, and display the artwork. These materials include frames, mats, backing boards, glass, and mounting hardware. The choice of materials depends on the size, style, and value of the print, as well as the desired level of protection and presentation.


Frames are the most visible component of a framed print and serve to protect the edges of the artwork and enhance its aesthetic appeal. Frames are available in a wide range of styles, materials, and sizes. Common frame materials include wood, metal, plastic, and composite materials.

Wood frames are a popular choice for their classic look and durability. They are available in a variety of finishes, including natural wood, painted, and stained. Metal frames are another durable option and can add a modern or industrial touch to a print.

Plastic frames are lightweight and affordable, making them a good choice for budget-conscious framers. Composite frames are made from a combination of materials, such as wood and plastic, and offer a balance of durability and affordability.

The size of the frame should be appropriate for the size of the print. A frame that is too small will not provide adequate protection, while a frame that is too large will overwhelm the artwork. As a general rule, the frame should be at least 2 inches wider and taller than the print.


Mats are placed between the print and the frame to provide a border and protect the edges of the print from the frame. Mats are available in a variety of colors, textures, and materials. Common mat materials include acid-free paper, cotton rag, and linen.

Acid-free paper is the most important material for mats, as it will not damage the print over time. Cotton rag and linen are also good choices, as they are durable and can help to absorb moisture.

The size of the mat should be slightly larger than the print, with a border of at least 1 inch on all sides. The mat should be cut with a bevelled edge to create a shadow line around the print.

Backing Boards

Backing boards are placed behind the print to provide support and protection. Backing boards are typically made from acid-free cardboard or foam core. Acid-free cardboard is a good choice for long-term storage, as it will not damage the print. Foam core is a lightweight and affordable option, but it is not as durable as acid-free cardboard.

Framing art prints is an important step in preserving and displaying them. However, it is essential to choose the right type of printer for the job. A monochrome printer uses only one color, typically black, to create images. This can be an ideal choice for framing art prints, as it can produce high-quality, detailed images with minimal color distortion.

To learn more about monochrome printers and their benefits, visit what does monochrome printer mean. Once you have chosen the right printer, you can begin the process of framing your art prints.

The size of the backing board should be the same as the frame. The backing board should be cut with a straight edge.


Glass is placed over the print to protect it from dust, moisture, and UV radiation. Glass is available in a variety of thicknesses and types. Common glass types include regular glass, non-glare glass, and UV-protective glass.

Regular glass is the most affordable option, but it can reflect light and glare. Non-glare glass is treated with a coating that reduces reflections. UV-protective glass is treated with a coating that blocks UV radiation, which can damage prints over time.

The thickness of the glass should be appropriate for the size of the print. A thicker glass will provide more protection, but it will also be heavier and more expensive.

Mounting Hardware

Mounting hardware is used to attach the print to the backing board and the frame. Common mounting hardware includes nails, screws, and clips. Nails are the most traditional method of mounting prints, but they can damage the print if they are not driven in carefully.

Screws are a more secure option, but they can be more difficult to remove. Clips are a non-invasive method of mounting prints, but they may not be as secure as nails or screws.

The type of mounting hardware used will depend on the size and weight of the print, as well as the type of frame and backing board. It is important to use the correct type of mounting hardware to ensure that the print is securely attached and protected.

Table Summarizing Materials and Specifications

FrameWood, metal, plastic, compositeAppropriate for print sizeProtect edges, enhance aesthetic appeal
MatAcid-free paper, cotton rag, linenSlightly larger than printProtect edges, provide border
Backing BoardAcid-free cardboard, foam coreSame as frameSupport, protect
GlassRegular, non-glare, UV-protectiveAppropriate for print sizeProtect from dust, moisture, UV radiation
Mounting HardwareNails, screws, clipsAppropriate for print size and weightAttach print to backing board and frame

Choosing the Right Frame

Canvas frame

Selecting the appropriate frame for an art print is crucial to enhance its appearance and protect it from damage. Various types of frames are available, each with its unique characteristics. The choice of frame should be based on the style, size, color, and price of the art print.

Types of Frames

Frames are typically made from wood, metal, plastic, or composite materials. Wooden frames offer a classic and timeless look, while metal frames provide a modern and sleek aesthetic. Plastic frames are lightweight and affordable, while composite frames combine the durability of wood with the affordability of plastic.

Considerations for Choosing a Frame

When selecting a frame, consider the following factors:

  • Style:The frame should complement the style of the art print. A traditional print may look best in a wooden frame, while a contemporary print may suit a metal or plastic frame.
  • Size:The frame should be proportional to the size of the art print. A small print will be overwhelmed by a large frame, while a large print may look lost in a small frame.
  • Color:The color of the frame should harmonize with the colors in the art print. A neutral-colored frame can work well with any print, while a more colorful frame can add a pop of color.
  • Price:Frames can range in price from inexpensive to expensive. Set a budget before you start shopping, and be prepared to adjust your expectations based on the available options.

Importance of Mat and Backing Board

In addition to the frame, a mat and backing board are also important for protecting and presenting the art print. A mat provides a buffer between the print and the glass, preventing direct contact and damage. A backing board supports the print and prevents it from warping or bending.

Measuring the Art Print and Frame

To ensure a proper fit, it is essential to measure both the art print and the frame. The frame should be slightly larger than the print, allowing for a small overlap on all sides. Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine the dimensions of both the print and the frame.

Tips for Choosing a Frame

  • Consider the overall look you want to achieve.
  • Bring the art print with you when shopping for a frame.
  • Ask for advice from a framing professional.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different frame styles and colors.
  • Choose a frame that will enhance the beauty of the art print and protect it for years to come.

How to Prepare an Art Print for Framing

Properly preparing an art print for framing ensures its longevity and aesthetic appeal. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you prepare your art print for framing.

Handling and Storage of the Art Print

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Materials and Tools

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Step 1: Trimming the Edges

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Step 2: Mounting on a Backing Board

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Step 3: Attaching to the Mat

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Step 4: Final Touches

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Tips and Tricks

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Assembling the Frame

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Assembling the frame is a crucial step in preserving and displaying your artwork. The process involves attaching the backing board, mat, and glass to the frame, and then securing the artwork within the frame.The first step is to attach the backing board to the frame.

The backing board provides support for the artwork and helps to prevent it from warping or bending. Use acid-free backing board to protect the artwork from damage. Attach the backing board to the frame using mounting tape or nails.Next, place the mat over the backing board.

The mat creates a border around the artwork and helps to draw attention to it. Choose a mat that complements the artwork and the frame. Attach the mat to the backing board using mounting tape or hinges.The final step is to place the glass over the mat and artwork.

The glass protects the artwork from dust, dirt, and moisture. Use acid-free glass to prevent damage to the artwork. Attach the glass to the frame using glazing points or clips.Once the backing board, mat, and glass are in place, you can secure the artwork within the frame.

There are several methods for securing the artwork, including using mounting tape, clips, or hinges. Choose a method that is appropriate for the size and weight of the artwork.

Hanging the Framed Art Print

How to frame art prints

Hanging a framed art print securely is crucial for its preservation and aesthetic appeal. Several methods can be employed, each with its advantages and considerations.

Using Wire

Wire hanging is a common and versatile method suitable for most framed prints. It involves attaching a wire to the back of the frame and then suspending the print from a hook or nail on the wall.

  • Pros:Wire hanging allows for precise placement and leveling of the print, and it is relatively easy to install.
  • Cons:The wire can be visible, especially on larger prints, and it may require some adjustment to ensure a secure and level hang.

Using D-Rings

D-rings are metal loops attached to the back of the frame. They are typically used in conjunction with wire, providing a more secure and concealed hanging mechanism.

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Once the printer is connected, you can print your framed art prints with ease.

  • Pros:D-rings are less visible than wire and provide a more stable hanging system, reducing the risk of the print falling.
  • Cons:D-rings may require more effort to install and may not be suitable for very heavy prints.

Using Picture Hooks

Picture hooks are small hooks that are screwed directly into the wall. They are a simple and inexpensive hanging method for smaller and lighter prints.

  • Pros:Picture hooks are easy to install and can be used with a variety of frames.
  • Cons:Picture hooks may not be strong enough for heavier prints, and they can leave small holes in the wall.

Care and Maintenance

To preserve the longevity of framed art prints, proper care and maintenance are essential. This involves regular cleaning and protection from environmental factors that can cause damage.

Cleaning the frame and glass is crucial to maintain their aesthetic appeal. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe away dust and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could scratch the surface. For glass, a glass cleaner specifically designed for picture frames is recommended.

Artwork Protection

  • Ultraviolet (UV) Protection:UV rays can cause fading and discoloration of artwork. Choose frames with UV-protective glass or acrylic to shield the print from harmful radiation.
  • Humidity Control:Excessive humidity can warp the paper and damage the artwork. Keep the framed print in a room with controlled humidity levels, ideally between 40-50%.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight:Direct sunlight can cause fading and discoloration. Display the framed print in an area with indirect or diffused lighting.

Creative Framing Techniques

Innovative and creative framing techniques can elevate the presentation of art prints, enhancing their aesthetic appeal and complementing the artwork’s style. By employing custom mats, floating frames, shadow boxes, and various mat colors and textures, framers can create visually captivating displays that showcase the art effectively.

Custom Mats, How to frame art prints

  • Custom mats, cut to specific dimensions and shapes, provide a tailored fit for art prints. They can enhance the artwork by creating a border that draws attention to it while protecting its edges.
  • Mats come in various colors and textures, allowing framers to complement the artwork’s hues and complement its overall aesthetic. Neutral shades like white or cream create a classic and elegant look, while bolder colors can add a touch of vibrancy and contrast.

  • Double or triple mats, with varying widths and colors, can create a layered effect that adds depth and interest to the framed print.

Floating Frames

  • Floating frames create the illusion that the art print is suspended within the frame, giving it a modern and sophisticated appearance.
  • These frames have a recessed area that holds the print in place, creating a small gap between the print and the frame’s edge.
  • Floating frames are ideal for contemporary art prints with bold colors and sharp lines, as they allow the artwork to take center stage without any distractions.

Shadow Boxes

  • Shadow boxes are deep frames that allow for the display of three-dimensional objects or prints mounted on a backing board.
  • They provide an excellent way to showcase prints with added depth, such as those with raised textures or embellishments.
  • Shadow boxes can be customized with different depths and backing materials to accommodate various types of artwork.

Multiple Frames and Layers

  • Using multiple frames or layers can create a unique and eye-catching display for art prints.
  • Framers can combine different frame styles, sizes, and colors to create a layered effect that adds depth and visual interest.
  • This technique is particularly effective for large-scale prints or those with intricate details that benefit from additional emphasis.

Frame Material and Style Selection

  • The choice of frame material and style should complement the art print’s style and subject matter.
  • Wooden frames provide a classic and timeless look, while metal frames offer a more modern and industrial aesthetic.
  • For prints with delicate or antique qualities, ornate frames with intricate carvings can enhance their historical significance.

Mounting and Display

  • Proper mounting and display are crucial for preserving and showcasing framed art prints.
  • Prints should be mounted using acid-free materials to prevent damage from acidity over time.
  • Framers should consider the lighting conditions where the print will be displayed and use UV-protective glass or acrylic to prevent fading.

Framing for Different Art Styles: How To Frame Art Prints

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Framing an art print can greatly enhance its visual appeal and protect it from damage. The choice of frame should complement the style of the print and the overall décor of the space where it will be displayed. Here are some considerations for framing different art styles:

Contemporary Art

Contemporary art often features bold colors, geometric shapes, and unconventional compositions. Frames for contemporary art should be simple and modern, with clean lines and neutral colors. Metal frames in black, white, or silver are popular choices, as are wooden frames with a natural or painted finish.

Matting can be used to add a touch of sophistication, but it should be kept to a minimum to avoid overpowering the artwork.

Traditional Art

Traditional art, such as oil paintings and watercolors, often has a more formal and ornate style. Frames for traditional art should be classic and elegant, with intricate carvings or moldings. Gold or silver leaf frames are popular choices, as are wooden frames with a dark stain.

Matting is often used to create a sense of depth and to protect the artwork from moisture and dust.

Abstract Art

Abstract art is characterized by its lack of recognizable forms or objects. Frames for abstract art should be simple and unobtrusive, allowing the artwork to take center stage. Floating frames, which create the illusion that the artwork is floating within the frame, are a popular choice for abstract art.

Matting can be used to add a touch of color or texture, but it should be kept to a minimum.


Photography is a unique art form that requires special considerations when framing. Frames for photography should be simple and understated, allowing the image to speak for itself. Black or white frames are popular choices, as are wooden frames with a natural or painted finish.

Matting can be used to create a sense of depth and to protect the photograph from moisture and dust.

Recommended Framing Options for Different Art Styles
Art StyleFrame MaterialMat ColorHanging Technique
ContemporaryMetal, woodNeutral colorsWire, sawtooth
TraditionalWood, gold or silver leafWhite, black, creamD-rings
AbstractFloating framesMinimal or no mattingWire, sawtooth
PhotographyBlack, white, or woodWhite, black, or creamWire, sawtooth, D-rings

Impact of Framing on the Overall Aesthetic of an Artwork

The frame you choose can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of an artwork. A well-chosen frame can enhance the artwork’s colors, textures, and composition, while a poorly chosen frame can detract from its beauty. When choosing a frame, it is important to consider the subject matter and color palette of the print.

For example, a print with a bright, colorful subject matter may look best in a simple, neutral-colored frame, while a print with a more muted color palette may look best in a more ornate frame.

Framing for Different Room Decor

Framing art prints can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of a room, complementing the overall decor style and creating a cohesive design scheme. Here’s how to frame art prints to suit different room decor styles:

Modern Decor

Modern decor emphasizes clean lines, geometric shapes, and neutral colors. To complement this style, choose frames with sleek, minimalist designs and neutral tones like black, white, or metallic. Consider using mats in subtle shades of gray or white to enhance the artwork’s impact.

Rustic Decor

Rustic decor incorporates natural elements like wood, stone, and leather. To match this aesthetic, opt for frames made from reclaimed wood, distressed metal, or woven fibers. Choose mats in earthy tones like beige, brown, or olive green to complement the rustic charm.

Bohemian Decor

Bohemian decor is known for its eclectic and colorful style. To complement this look, choose frames with intricate patterns, vibrant colors, or ethnic motifs. Layer multiple mats in different textures and colors to create a visually interesting display.

Minimalist Decor

Minimalist decor focuses on simplicity and functionality. To complement this style, choose frames with clean lines and neutral colors. Consider using narrow mats or no mats at all to keep the focus on the artwork itself.

Custom Framing Options

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Custom framing offers unparalleled protection, preservation, and aesthetic enhancement for valuable artwork and collectibles. Collaborating with a professional framer allows for tailored solutions that meet specific conservation and design requirements.

Custom frames provide a wide range of materials, styles, and finishes to complement the artwork’s aesthetic and the desired display environment.


Custom frames can be crafted from various materials, each with unique characteristics:

  • Wood:Classic and versatile, wood frames offer warmth, durability, and a timeless appeal.
  • Metal:Sleek and contemporary, metal frames add a modern touch and enhance the artwork’s impact.
  • Plastic:Lightweight and cost-effective, plastic frames provide a practical and versatile option.
  • Acrylic:Clear and durable, acrylic frames offer unobstructed views of the artwork while providing protection.


Custom frames come in a variety of styles to match the artwork and decor:

  • Traditional:Ornate and detailed, traditional frames evoke a sense of history and grandeur.
  • Contemporary:Clean-lined and minimalist, contemporary frames emphasize the artwork’s simplicity and modernity.
  • Modern:Geometric and bold, modern frames make a statement and draw attention to the artwork.
  • Rustic:Natural and weathered, rustic frames add a touch of charm and warmth to the display.


Custom frames can be finished in various ways to enhance their appearance:

  • Painted:Painted finishes provide a solid color that complements the artwork or decor.
  • Stained:Stained finishes reveal the natural grain and texture of the wood, adding depth and character.
  • Gilded:Gilded finishes, typically in gold or silver, add a touch of opulence and elegance.
  • Textured:Textured finishes, such as embossed or carved patterns, create visual interest and enhance the frame’s overall design.

Choosing the Right Option

Selecting the right custom framing option requires careful consideration of the artwork, the desired display environment, and personal preferences. Here are some tips:

  • Consider the artwork’s size, shape, and style when choosing the frame’s dimensions and style.
  • Match the frame’s material and finish to the artwork’s aesthetic and the room’s decor.
  • Choose glazing that protects the artwork from UV damage and environmental factors while enhancing its appearance.
  • Work with a professional framer to ensure the artwork is properly preserved and displayed to its full potential.

Care and Maintenance

Custom framed items require proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity:

  • Keep the frame clean by gently dusting it with a soft cloth.
  • Avoid exposing the artwork to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • Handle the framed item with care to prevent damage to the frame or artwork.
  • If the frame becomes damaged, consult a professional framer for repairs.

Troubleshooting Common Framing Issues

How to frame art prints

Framing art prints can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are some common problems that may arise during framing and how to solve them:

Uneven Mats

Uneven mats can occur when the mat is not properly cut or when it has shifted during framing. To adjust the mat, use spacers or shims to even it out. Spacers are thin pieces of cardboard or foam core that can be placed between the mat and the backing board to create a more even surface.

Shims are tapered pieces of wood or plastic that can be placed under the mat to raise it in certain areas.

Loose Glass

Loose glass can occur when the glass retainer clips are not properly tightened or when the glass is too thin. To tighten the glass retainer clips, use a screwdriver to turn the screws clockwise. If the glass is too thin, you may need to replace it with thicker glass.

Damaged Frames

Damaged frames can occur during shipping, handling, or storage. To repair a damaged frame, you can use wood glue to reattach any loose pieces. If the frame is badly damaged, you may need to replace it.

Preventing Framing Issues

There are a few things you can do to prevent framing issues from occurring:

  • Use high-quality materials.
  • Cut the mat and frame to the correct size.
  • Handle the frame with care.
  • Store the frame in a cool, dry place.

Troubleshooting Checklist

If you encounter any problems while framing your art print, here is a checklist of steps to take:

  1. Inspect the frame and mat for any damage.
  2. Check the glass to make sure it is properly secured.
  3. Adjust the mat if it is uneven.
  4. Tighten the glass retainer clips if the glass is loose.
  5. Repair or replace any damaged parts of the frame.

Glossary of Terms

  • Backing board:The board that the art print is mounted on.
  • Glass retainer clips:The clips that hold the glass in place.
  • Mat:The border that surrounds the art print.
  • Shims:Tapered pieces of wood or plastic that can be used to raise the mat in certain areas.
  • Spacers:Thin pieces of cardboard or foam core that can be used to even out the mat.

Framing Art Prints on a Budget

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Framing art prints can be an expensive endeavor, but there are ways to do it on a budget. Here are a few tips and tricks:

Consider using ready-made frames. These frames are available in a variety of sizes and styles, and they can be found at most home improvement stores. They are typically less expensive than custom-made frames.

DIY Framing Techniques

If you are handy, you can also frame your art prints yourself. There are a number of DIY framing techniques that you can use, such as using mat board and glass, or using a shadow box.

Saving Money on Materials

You can also save money on materials by shopping around for the best prices. Compare prices at different stores before you buy, and look for sales and discounts.

Inspiration and Examples

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When it comes to framing art prints, there are endless possibilities. To provide inspiration and demonstrate different framing techniques, here is a gallery of framed prints in various styles, sizes, and room settings:

Framed Prints in Different Styles

  • A classic black frame can add a touch of sophistication to any print.
  • A white frame can create a clean and modern look.
  • A wooden frame can add a natural and rustic touch.
  • A metallic frame can add a touch of glamour.
  • A colorful frame can add a pop of personality.

Framed Prints in Different Sizes

  • Small prints can be framed in a single frame or grouped together in a gallery wall.
  • Large prints can make a statement on their own or be paired with smaller prints.
  • Oversized prints can create a dramatic focal point in a room.

Framed Prints in Different Room Settings

  • Framed prints can add a touch of style to any room in your home.
  • In a living room, framed prints can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
  • In a bedroom, framed prints can add a personal touch and create a relaxing space.
  • In a kitchen, framed prints can add a touch of whimsy and cheer.
  • In a bathroom, framed prints can add a touch of spa-like luxury.

FAQ Overview

What are the essential materials needed for framing art prints?

The essential materials include frames, mats, backing boards, glass, and mounting hardware.

How do I choose the right frame for my art print?

Consider the style, size, color, and price of the frame, as well as the mat and backing board.

What are the different types of glass available for framing?

Regular glass, non-glare glass, and museum glass are the most common types of glass used for framing.