What Size Frame for a 12×16 Print? A Comprehensive Guide

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What size frame for 12×16 print – What size frame for a 12×16 print? This question can puzzle art enthusiasts and home decorators alike. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the key considerations, standard sizes, custom options, and everything you need to know to choose the perfect frame for your 12×16 print.

From understanding the impact of matting to selecting the right materials and finishes, this guide will empower you to make informed decisions that enhance the beauty and longevity of your framed artwork.

Frame Size Considerations

When selecting a frame for a 12×16 print, several factors should be considered to ensure a harmonious and visually appealing presentation.

The most important consideration is the size of the print itself. The frame should be large enough to accommodate the print comfortably, with a suitable border around it. This border serves several purposes: it provides a visual buffer between the print and the edge of the frame, preventing the print from feeling cramped or overwhelmed; it allows for any necessary matting or mounting; and it helps to protect the edges of the print from damage.

Selecting a Border Size

The width of the border is a matter of personal preference, but there are some general guidelines to follow. For a 12×16 print, a border of 2-3 inches on all sides is a good starting point. This will provide ample space for matting and mounting, if desired, and will create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look.

Choosing a Frame Style

The style of the frame should complement the print’s subject matter and overall style. For example, a simple, modern frame with clean lines would be a good choice for a minimalist or abstract print. A more ornate frame with intricate detailing would be more suitable for a traditional or classical print.

Matching the Frame to the Print

When selecting a frame, it is important to consider the colors and tones of the print. A frame that is too similar in color to the print can make the print look flat and uninteresting. A frame that is too contrasting can overwhelm the print and draw attention away from it.

Standard Frame Sizes

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Standard frame sizes provide a convenient and consistent way to display 12×16 prints. These frames are designed to fit the specific dimensions of the print, ensuring a snug fit and a polished presentation. Let’s explore the available standard frame sizes, their advantages, and how to choose the best option for your space and decor style.

The following table lists the most common standard frame sizes for 12×16 prints:

Frame SizeOverall Dimensions (inches)Mat Opening (inches)

The 14×18 frame size is the most popular choice, as it provides a relatively narrow border around the print, highlighting the image without overpowering it. The 16×20 and 18×22 frames offer a wider border, giving the print a more substantial presence on the wall.

The 20×24 frame size is the largest of the standard options, providing a dramatic and eye-catching display.

When choosing a standard frame size, consider the size of the space where the print will be displayed. A larger frame will make a bolder statement in a spacious room, while a smaller frame may be more appropriate for a smaller or more intimate space.

Additionally, the decor style of the room should be taken into account. A modern or minimalist space may call for a simple and sleek frame, while a more traditional or ornate space may benefit from a frame with more decorative details.

Custom Frame Options

16x20 matted 8x10 havenly calter room

Ordering a custom-made frame for a 12×16 print offers numerous advantages. It allows for precise customization to complement the artwork, décor, and personal preferences. Custom frames provide a wider selection of materials, finishes, and matting options, ensuring a tailored framing solution.

Materials and Finishes

Custom frames come in various materials, including wood, metal, and acrylic. Wood frames offer a classic and versatile option, with a wide range of wood species and finishes to choose from, such as oak, maple, and walnut. Metal frames provide a sleek and contemporary look, available in brushed, matte, or glossy finishes.

Acrylic frames offer a lightweight and durable alternative, showcasing the artwork with minimal obstruction.

Matting Options

Matting adds depth and visual interest to the framed artwork. Custom frames allow for the selection of mat color, texture, and size. Mat colors can complement or contrast the artwork, while textures add a tactile element. Mat size can be adjusted to create a desired visual effect, such as a narrow mat for a minimalist look or a wider mat for a more traditional feel.

Measuring and Fitting

Accurate measuring is crucial for a precise fit. Measure the artwork’s height and width and add approximately 2 inches to each measurement to determine the frame opening size. Use a framing square to ensure accuracy when measuring and cutting the frame.

Once the frame is assembled, carefully insert the artwork and secure it with acid-free materials.

Matting Options


Matting, also known as passe-partout, is an essential element in framing a print, serving both aesthetic and protective purposes. It provides a visually appealing border around the print, enhancing its presentation and creating a sense of depth and dimensionality.

Matting not only protects the print from direct contact with the glass, preventing scratches and smudges, but also helps prevent moisture and dust from reaching the print’s surface. By creating a buffer zone between the print and the glass, matting reduces the risk of damage caused by condensation or other environmental factors.

Choosing a Mat Color

The color of the mat can significantly impact the overall look and feel of the framed print. A well-chosen mat color can complement the print’s colors and enhance its visual appeal. Here are some guidelines to consider when selecting a mat color:

  • Neutral colors:Neutral colors such as white, black, or gray provide a classic and versatile backdrop for any print. They allow the print’s colors to take center stage without overpowering them.
  • Complementary colors:Choosing a mat color that complements the print’s dominant colors can create a harmonious and visually appealing effect. For example, a print with warm colors would look great with a mat in a cool color, and vice versa.
  • Contrasting colors:A contrasting mat color can create a striking and eye-catching effect. However, it’s important to choose a contrasting color that doesn’t clash with the print’s colors.

Mat Texture and Style

In addition to color, the texture and style of the mat can also influence the presentation of the print. Here are some common mat textures and styles to consider:

  • Smooth mats:Smooth mats have a flat, even surface that provides a clean and modern look. They are a good choice for prints with sharp lines and bold colors.
  • Textured mats:Textured mats have a slightly rough or uneven surface that can add depth and interest to the framed print. They are a good choice for prints with soft, muted colors or for creating a more rustic look.
  • Beveled mats:Beveled mats have a sloped edge that creates a subtle shadow around the print. They are a good choice for adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the framed print.

Double Matting

Double matting involves using two mats of different colors or textures to create a layered effect. This can add depth and interest to the framed print and can help to draw attention to the print’s subject matter. When double matting, it’s important to choose mat colors and textures that complement each other and the print itself.

Choosing a Mat for Your Print

When choosing a mat for your print, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • The print’s subject matter:The subject matter of the print can influence the choice of mat color and style. For example, a landscape print might look best with a mat in a natural color, such as green or brown, while a portrait might look best with a mat in a more formal color, such as black or white.

  • The print’s colors:The colors in the print can also influence the choice of mat color. A print with warm colors might look best with a mat in a cool color, and vice versa.
  • The print’s size:The size of the print can also affect the choice of mat. A small print might look best with a narrow mat, while a large print might look best with a wider mat.
  • The frame:The frame that you choose for the print can also influence the choice of mat. A simple frame might look best with a simple mat, while a more ornate frame might look best with a more elaborate mat.

– Showcase various framing styles suitable for 12×16 prints.

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Framing styles play a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal and overall impact of a 12×16 print. Selecting the right framing style can complement the print’s subject matter, enhance its aesthetic appeal, and protect it from damage. Here are some popular framing styles to consider:

Traditional Framing Style

Traditional framing styles exude an elegant and timeless charm, characterized by intricate moldings and ornate details. These frames are often made from wood, such as mahogany or cherry, and can feature decorative elements like carved patterns or gold leaf accents.

Traditional framing styles suit classic and formal prints, such as landscapes, portraits, or antique maps.

Contemporary Framing Style

Contemporary framing styles prioritize simplicity and clean lines, creating a modern and minimalist aesthetic. These frames are typically made from metal, such as aluminum or stainless steel, or from sleek woods like oak or walnut. Contemporary frames often feature narrow profiles and lack elaborate ornamentation, allowing the print to take center stage.

Rustic Framing Style

Rustic framing styles embrace natural and distressed elements, evoking a sense of warmth and authenticity. These frames are often made from reclaimed wood or weathered metals, featuring visible knots, cracks, or other imperfections. Rustic frames complement prints with a natural or vintage aesthetic, such as landscapes, wildlife photography, or abstract art.

Floating Framing Style

Floating frames create a visually striking effect by suspending the print within the frame, creating the illusion that it is floating on the wall. These frames are typically made from thin metal or acrylic and have a minimalist design. Floating frames are ideal for contemporary or abstract prints that benefit from a sense of depth and dimension.

When selecting a frame for a 12×16 print, it is important to consider the overall size of the framed piece. For instance, if you wish to create a gallery wall with multiple framed prints, you may want to choose a smaller frame to maintain a cohesive aesthetic.

Alternatively, if you desire a statement piece, a larger frame can enhance the impact of the print. Additionally, if you plan to print smaller pictures from your phone, this guide provides helpful tips on achieving the desired size and quality for your prints.

Shadowbox Framing Style

Shadowbox frames provide a unique way to display three-dimensional objects or prints that require additional depth. These frames have a deep profile and a glass or acrylic front, allowing the print or object to be viewed from multiple angles. Shadowbox frames are suitable for displaying memorabilia, artwork, or collectibles.

Choosing the right framing style for a 12×16 print involves considering the print’s subject matter, the desired aesthetic, and the overall décor of the space. By selecting a framing style that complements the print and enhances its visual impact, you can create a stunning display that will add beauty and value to your artwork.

Materials and Finishes

What size frame for 12x16 print

Picture frames are available in a wide range of materials and finishes, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The choice of materials and finishes will depend on the style of the artwork, the decor of the room, and the desired overall effect.


  • Wood:Wood is a classic and versatile material for picture frames. It is durable, relatively lightweight, and can be painted, stained, or left with its natural wood grain finish. Wood frames can be found in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern.

  • Metal:Metal frames are another popular option. They are durable and lightweight, and can be found in a variety of finishes, including brushed metal, polished metal, and painted metal. Metal frames can add a modern or industrial touch to a room.

  • Acrylic:Acrylic frames are a good choice for contemporary or minimalist artwork. They are lightweight and durable, and can be found in a variety of colors and finishes. Acrylic frames can help to create a clean and modern look.


  • Paint:Paint is a versatile finish that can be used to create a variety of looks. Painted frames can be found in any color, and can be distressed or antiqued to create a unique effect.
  • Stain:Stain is a good choice for wood frames. It allows the natural wood grain to show through, while adding a touch of color or protection. Stained frames can be found in a variety of colors and finishes.
  • Natural wood grain:Natural wood grain is a beautiful and timeless finish. It can be found on wood frames of all styles, from traditional to modern. Natural wood grain frames can add a touch of warmth and character to a room.

When choosing the right materials and finishes for a picture frame, it is important to consider the style of the artwork, the decor of the room, and the desired overall effect. With so many options available, it is easy to find the perfect frame to complement any artwork or decor style.

Display Options

Frame 16x20

Displaying a framed 12×16 print effectively enhances its aesthetic appeal and ensures its longevity. Various display options are available, each with its advantages and considerations. This section explores the different ways to display a framed print, providing guidance on choosing the best option based on the print’s size, weight, subject matter, and intended use.

Hanging the Print

Hanging a framed print is a classic display method that offers versatility and a professional look. It allows the print to be viewed at eye level and can create a focal point in a room. When hanging a print, consider the following:

  • Wall Type:Different wall types require specific hanging hardware. Drywall, for example, can be hung with nails or adhesive strips, while plaster walls may need anchors. Brick walls require specialized masonry anchors.
  • Weight of the Print:Heavier prints require sturdier hangers and may need multiple points of support. Ensure the hanging system can safely bear the weight of the print.
  • Picture Hangers:Various picture hangers are available, including nails, hooks, and adhesive strips. Nails provide a secure hold but can damage walls. Hooks are less intrusive but may not support heavy prints. Adhesive strips are easy to use but may not be suitable for all wall types.

Leaning the Print

Leaning a framed print against a wall or shelf is a casual and contemporary display option. It adds a touch of informality and can be easily adjusted or moved. However, it is important to ensure the print is stable and not prone to falling.

  • Stability:Place the print on a flat surface that provides adequate support. Use non-slip pads or a wedge to prevent it from sliding.
  • Weight:Heavier prints may require additional support or a more substantial surface to lean against.
  • Protection:Consider placing a protective layer, such as a mat or glass, between the print and the surface it is leaning against to prevent scratches or damage.

Placing the Print on a Tabletop

Placing a framed print on a tabletop or mantel is a versatile display option that allows for easy viewing and accessibility. It is suitable for smaller prints or those that need to be viewed from a close distance.

  • Surface:Choose a stable and level surface that can support the weight of the print.
  • Visibility:Ensure the print is placed at an appropriate height and angle for easy viewing.
  • Protection:Protect the print from dust and scratches by placing it under a glass or acrylic cover.

Choosing the Best Display Option

The best display option for a 12×16 print depends on various factors, including the print’s size, weight, subject matter, and intended use. Consider the following:

  • Size and Weight:Larger and heavier prints may require more robust display methods, such as hanging with sturdy hangers or placing on a stable surface.
  • Subject Matter:The subject matter of the print can influence the display option. For example, a landscape print may look best hung on a wall, while a family portrait may be more suitable for display on a tabletop.
  • Intended Use:If the print is intended for display in a high-traffic area, consider a more secure display option, such as hanging it on a wall or placing it on a sturdy surface.

Ultimately, the best display option is the one that showcases the print effectively while ensuring its safety and longevity.

Conservation Considerations

Preserving the longevity of a framed print requires careful consideration of the materials used in its construction. Archival-quality materials, such as acid-free matting and backing, prevent damage to the print over time. These materials are designed to be inert, meaning they will not react chemically with the print and cause deterioration.

UV protection is another critical factor in preserving the print. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight can cause fading and damage to the print’s colors and surface. Framing with UV-protective glass or acrylic helps to block these harmful rays and extend the print’s lifespan.

Storage and Handling

Proper storage and handling of framed prints are essential for their long-term preservation. Store prints in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Avoid extreme temperatures and fluctuations in humidity, as these can cause damage to the print and its frame.

When handling framed prints, always wear clean gloves to prevent fingerprints and oils from transferring to the print’s surface. Handle the frame by its edges, avoiding touching the glass or the print itself.

If you have a 12×16 print, you’ll need to choose a frame that is the right size. The frame should be at least 1 inch wider and taller than the print. This will give you enough room to mat the print and hang it securely.

Once you have chosen the right size frame, you can start printing your photo. If you’re using a Mac, you can follow these steps to print in colour. Once you’ve printed your photo, you can frame it and hang it up.

A well-chosen frame can make a big difference in the overall look of your print.

Online Framing Services: What Size Frame For 12×16 Print

Online framing services offer a convenient and often cost-effective way to frame your 12×16 prints. These services typically allow you to upload your images online, select from a variety of frames and mats, and have your framed print shipped directly to your door.

There are several advantages to using online framing services. First, they are often more affordable than traditional framing services. Second, they offer a wider variety of frames and mats to choose from. Third, they are convenient and easy to use.

You can upload your images and select your frame and mat from the comfort of your own home.

However, there are also some disadvantages to using online framing services. First, you cannot see the finished product in person before you purchase it. Second, you may have to pay for shipping and handling. Third, you may have to wait several weeks for your framed print to arrive.

Choosing a Reputable Online Framer

If you are considering using an online framing service, it is important to choose a reputable company. Here are a few tips:

  • Read online reviews of the company.
  • Make sure the company uses high-quality materials.
  • Check the company’s return policy.
  • Get a quote from the company before you purchase your frame.

Ensuring Satisfaction with the Finished Product

Here are a few tips to ensure that you are satisfied with the finished product:

  • Upload a high-quality image of your print.
  • Select a frame and mat that complement your print.
  • Follow the company’s instructions carefully when assembling your frame.

DIY Framing


DIY framing involves assembling a frame and mounting a print within it, providing a cost-effective and customizable way to display artwork. It requires careful measuring, cutting, and assembly, along with the necessary tools and materials.

Measuring and Cutting

Measure the print’s dimensions and add 2-3 inches to each side for the frame’s overlap. Transfer these measurements to the frame components, using a ruler or measuring tape. Use a miter saw or miter box to cut the frame pieces at 45-degree angles, ensuring precise alignment when assembled.

Assembling the Frame

Apply wood glue to the mitered edges of the frame pieces and press them together firmly. Use clamps or nails to secure the joints while the glue dries. Reinforce the corners with corner clamps or L-brackets for added strength.

Mounting the Print

Place the print on a flat surface and center it within the frame. Secure it using acid-free mounting tape or hinges, ensuring it does not touch the frame’s edges.

Hanging the Framed Print

Use D-rings or wire to attach the frame to the wall. Determine the appropriate hanging height and mark the location with a pencil. Use a level to ensure the frame is hung straight.

Budget Considerations

What size frame for 12x16 print

The cost of framing a 12×16 print can vary significantly depending on the materials used, the size and complexity of the frame, and the level of customization. Here’s a general overview of budget options for framing a 12×16 print:

Basic Framing:A simple frame made of basic materials like wood or metal can cost around $20-$50. This option is suitable for prints that will be displayed in a casual setting or for those on a tight budget.

Mid-Range Framing:Frames made of higher-quality materials like solid wood or aluminum, with added features like mats or glazing, can cost between $50-$150. This option offers a more polished look and better protection for the print.

Custom Framing:For unique or valuable prints, custom framing is an excellent choice. Custom frames are made to the exact specifications of the print and can incorporate a wide range of materials, finishes, and embellishments. The cost of custom framing can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the design and the materials used.

Tips for Finding Affordable Framing Options, What size frame for 12×16 print

  • Shop around:Compare prices from different framing shops to find the best deal.
  • Consider online framing services:Online framing services often offer competitive prices and a wide selection of frames.
  • Use less expensive materials:Opt for frames made of less expensive materials like wood or metal instead of exotic hardwoods or gold.
  • Choose a simple design:Avoid frames with elaborate carvings or embellishments, which can increase the cost.
  • DIY framing:If you’re handy, you can save money by framing the print yourself. However, ensure you have the necessary tools and skills to do it properly.

Inspiration and Ideas

Frame 16x20 matted 8x10 set wall rustic wood frames brown designovation

Framing a 12×16 print offers ample opportunities for creative expression. Explore a gallery of framed prints to spark inspiration and gain insights into the impact of different framing styles, matting, and display techniques.

Showcase Gallery

A curated gallery showcases framed 12×16 prints in diverse settings, demonstrating the transformative power of framing. Observe how a classic black frame enhances the elegance of a monochrome photograph, while a rustic wooden frame complements the warmth of a nature scene.


Personalize a framed print to reflect your unique style and taste. Choose a frame that complements the subject matter and décor. Consider adding a mat to create depth and draw attention to the print. Experiment with different mat colors and textures to enhance the overall presentation.

Additional Resources

Arttoframes 16x20 mdf 18x24 plexi 22x28 matted mainstays

For further assistance with framing 12×16 prints, consult the following resources:

Reputable Sources

Professional Framing Services

Online Framing Companies

Online Forums and Communities

Essential Questionnaire

What is the most common frame size for a 12×16 print?

The most common frame size for a 12×16 print is 16×20 inches, providing a 2-inch border around the print.

What type of matting should I use for my 12×16 print?

Matting adds depth and elegance to your framed print. Consider using a neutral-colored mat, such as white or cream, to complement the print’s colors and subject matter.

How do I choose the right frame style for my 12×16 print?

The frame style should complement the print’s style and subject matter. For example, a rustic frame might suit a landscape photograph, while a sleek, modern frame might enhance an abstract painting.

What is the best way to display a framed 12×16 print?

Hanging your framed print at eye level is generally recommended. You can also lean it against a wall or place it on a tabletop, depending on the size and weight of the print.