How to frame an oil painting

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How to frame an oil painting

Many artists paint on stretched canvas, but once you’ve finished your painting how do you frame it? A typical frame is intended for a flat work of art, but there are several options for framing stretched canvas.

Overview

It is very easy to frame a stretched canvas. You don’t need to remove the canvas from the stretchers to frame the painting. The frame sits on the edge of the stretched canvas as it would on a canvas board, and there is no need to protect it with glass. If the canvas stretchers have become warped, you can remove the finished painting and remount it, either on new stretchers or on a rigid support.

How to Frame Your Stretched Canvas Painting

Firstly, you should know the outside dimensions of your painting and the type of frame that will look good with it. Standard sizes are the most economical; you will have to pay more if you purchase a custom frame. You want a frame that will complement your painting and not compete with it. Make sure to buy a frame that is made for the size of your painting if it is a standard size. If the frame isn’t as deep as the canvas, you’ll see part of the edge of the canvas if you’re looking from the side.

To frame the canvas, you simply slip the painting into the frame from the back as usual. You can get canvas frame clips or offset clips for attaching a frame to a canvas from a hardware or frame store, or online. Artist Brian Rice uses bent pipe clamps, instead of buying offset clips, to secure a frame to a canvas. Simply drill the offset clips into the frame and your canvas will be secure within the frame.

It is not necessary, but sometimes a piece of paper is stuck on the back of the framed canvas using brown paper attached to the frame with double-sided tape to ‘tidy up’ the back of the canvas and stop dust collecting in it. If you do this, be sure to cut a hole in the back to allow the canvas to breathe so it can adjust to changes in ambient temperature and humidity.

You can also use a floater frame (occasionally referred to as an L-frame) to frame your painting. With these types of frames, there is a gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame such that the painting appears to be floating in the frame. The painting is inserted from the front and rests on a ledge of the frame to which the painting is screwed in through the back to the stretcher bars. These frames are available in various sizes and depths, including ones suitable for deep gallery-wrap canvasses.

If you’re a real DIY person, you can also build your own frame. Inexpensive lattice is the right weight and width to start with. Cut the lattice to the correct lengths to form a frame, paint them as desired, and use wire nails or brads to fasten the pieces together around your stretched canvas.

This article was co-authored by Renée Plevy. Renée Plevy is an Internationally Acclaimed Portrait Artist from New York/Palm Beach who has painted The Grand Dames of Palm Beach and various celebrities and community leaders. With over 50 years of experience, Renée specializes in painting realistically in oil and capturing the soul of the person. She has studied under internationally renowned portrait artists John Howard Sanden, David Leffel, Robert Beverly Hale, Clyde Smith, and Leonid Gervits. Renée is featured in over 68 shows and galleries including a one-woman museum show at the Paterson Museum. She has garnered numerous awards including “Artist of the Year” from The Bloomfield Art League and First Prize from the Boca Raton Museum Artist’s Guild. Renée has even painted a portrait of celebrity, Vanilla Ice. She also teaches at the Boca Raton Museum Art School – formerly at SVA in Manhattan.

This article has been viewed 151,032 times.

Framing an oil painting comes down to choosing an appropriate frame, installing the frame correctly, and hanging it in your home. You’ll have to choose between a minimalistic, traditional, or antique frame based on the style of your composition. To frame the painting, layer the canvas behind a dust cover and tape. Once you’ve framed your painting, hang it in a safe location inside your home where it looks good to you!

How to frame an oil painting

Renée Plevy
Portrait Artist & Educator Expert Interview. 7 May 2021. These frames provide a modern look, and differ from traditional frames by adding very little visual impact on their own. They look sort of like siding or open borders for a piece of art. [2] X Research source

  • Float and baguette frames tend to emphasize the work itself, since the frames tend to contain few details on their own.
  • Float frames can make a work appear more striking. The mat helps isolate the work in the center of the wall, making it stand out more.
  • Baguette frames can make a work look dramatic. The minimalistic frame lifts the image off of the wall a few inches, which can make it seem like the work is literally popping out.
  • The difference between a baguette and float frame is whether there is any space between the canvas and the frame itself. Float frames have a space, which is sometimes filled in with a mat, while baguette frames leave no room between the frame and the painting.

How to frame an oil painting

Tip: Try to match the aesthetic of the frame with the style of your oil painting. If the painting is hyper realistic, you probably don’t want an abstract frame with a lot of designs. However, a unique frame with a lot of free-flowing inlays could work well with a piece of abstract expressionism.

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How to frame an oil painting

From time to time, art will be sold in a “raw” form, without a method to display it. There are some who will hang works on their canvases, but an oil painting truly shines when framed. You may have found the “perfect” oil painting for your display location and collection, but without a frame, it seems unfinished. To best accentuate your fine art, choose a frame which suits the style of the artwork as well as your taste. However, framing fine art like an oil painting is more than purchasing a ready-made piece from a craft store. Whether you choose to tackle this task on your own or hire a professional, here is a guide for framing oil paintings.

How to frame an oil painting

WHY FRAME AN OIL PAINTING?

There are several reasons why framing an oil painting is important, including:

  • Preservation of the works. After you have invested in a work of art, you want to enjoy it for years to come. A frame protects your art.
  • Complement the work itself. With hundreds, if not thousands, of options available, you can find frames which enhance the oil painting, drawing attention to the subject.
  • Protect the painting during shipping or storage. Canvas works are susceptible to stretching, twisting, and puncture. A frame can strengthen the work, allowing you to ship it safely or put it in storage, if necessary, for extended periods of time.

SELECTION

One unique trait of oil paintings is the delicacy of the paint itself. Oil paint dries slowly (due to oxidation), and if painted thick enough, can take years to dry. Therefore, glass is not usually recommended in framing. Additionally, the dimensional qualities of oil painting are to be accentuated and not hidden behind glass. However, oil paintings due allow for flexibility in framing choices and have been adorned a wide variety of frames, including heavy, ornate wood frames which would overpower other works of art.

MEASURING THE ARTWORK – MATTING

If a mat would benefit your artwork (like a spotlight), you will need to choose the width of the mat, the cut of the inside edge, and even the color. Most oil paintings are not matted, but if you are framing a work which doesn’t fill the entire canvas, you may find that a mat focuses the eye on the work.

THE LABOR OF FRAMING

Place the frame on a clean, padded surface, verify the width and depth of the rabbet (the recess where the work will rest), and be sure to allow a tiny bit of space (between 1/8 to 1/ 4 inch) between the artwork and the frame for “breathing.” You may modify the rabbet with hand tools if necessary.

Pad the frame to protect the canvas, making sure that there is no paint touching the padding or the frame, which can damage the work over time. Foam strips or thick cloth ribbon are good for this, but ensure they cannot be seen when the work is displayed and adhere to the frame along the entire surface. Edge strips are another layer of protection for the artwork, especially when there is impasto around the edges. Backing boards serve several purposes: both to protect the back of the artwork from damage and debris with a secure seal, and to offer a firm, flat surface for hanging hardware. Boards made from plastic, hardboard, and plywood (for smaller works) are all suitable for this.

HARDWARE IN THE FRAMING PROCESS

Now that you have a frame suitable for your artwork, you need to attach the painting to the frame and add hardware for hanging. There are two types of clips for attaching the canvas to frames; both spring clips and offset clips are appropriate. Both are screwed to the frame and clip over the back of the canvas. For hanging, D-rings are KING. The advantage of D-rings is that they can be attached to the frame and then hung on a picture hook rated for the appropriate weight of your artwork, placed securely in the wall. The hardware is never applied to the canvas, protecting it from damage and allowing you to replace the frame if you later choose.

How to frame an oil painting

VOILA! YOUR ARTWORK IS READY FOR DISPLAY

So, there you have it, framing your oil paintings in a nutshell. If you are handy and have a frame which fits your painting, you may find that you can take on this task on your own. If this seems daunting, look for a framing expert to guide you through the process or simply frame your artwork for you.

Sybaris Collection is here to assist you in your journey to building your art collection. Consider the experts with our custom framing service; we can help you choose the perfect frame for your work, whether it be a new addition or a new face for your current pieces of art.

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How to frame an oil painting

From time to time, art will be sold in a “raw” form, without a method to display it. There are some who will hang works on their canvases, but an oil painting truly shines when framed. You may have found the “perfect” oil painting for your display location and collection, but without a frame, it seems unfinished. To best accentuate your fine art, choose a frame which suits the style of the artwork as well as your taste. However, framing fine art like an oil painting is more than purchasing a ready-made piece from a craft store. Whether you choose to tackle this task on your own or hire a professional, here is a guide for framing oil paintings.

How to frame an oil painting

WHY FRAME AN OIL PAINTING?

There are several reasons why framing an oil painting is important, including:

  • Preservation of the works. After you have invested in a work of art, you want to enjoy it for years to come. A frame protects your art.
  • Complement the work itself. With hundreds, if not thousands, of options available, you can find frames which enhance the oil painting, drawing attention to the subject.
  • Protect the painting during shipping or storage. Canvas works are susceptible to stretching, twisting, and puncture. A frame can strengthen the work, allowing you to ship it safely or put it in storage, if necessary, for extended periods of time.

SELECTION

One unique trait of oil paintings is the delicacy of the paint itself. Oil paint dries slowly (due to oxidation), and if painted thick enough, can take years to dry. Therefore, glass is not usually recommended in framing. Additionally, the dimensional qualities of oil painting are to be accentuated and not hidden behind glass. However, oil paintings due allow for flexibility in framing choices and have been adorned a wide variety of frames, including heavy, ornate wood frames which would overpower other works of art.

MEASURING THE ARTWORK – MATTING

If a mat would benefit your artwork (like a spotlight), you will need to choose the width of the mat, the cut of the inside edge, and even the color. Most oil paintings are not matted, but if you are framing a work which doesn’t fill the entire canvas, you may find that a mat focuses the eye on the work.

THE LABOR OF FRAMING

Place the frame on a clean, padded surface, verify the width and depth of the rabbet (the recess where the work will rest), and be sure to allow a tiny bit of space (between 1/8 to 1/ 4 inch) between the artwork and the frame for “breathing.” You may modify the rabbet with hand tools if necessary.

Pad the frame to protect the canvas, making sure that there is no paint touching the padding or the frame, which can damage the work over time. Foam strips or thick cloth ribbon are good for this, but ensure they cannot be seen when the work is displayed and adhere to the frame along the entire surface. Edge strips are another layer of protection for the artwork, especially when there is impasto around the edges. Backing boards serve several purposes: both to protect the back of the artwork from damage and debris with a secure seal, and to offer a firm, flat surface for hanging hardware. Boards made from plastic, hardboard, and plywood (for smaller works) are all suitable for this.

HARDWARE IN THE FRAMING PROCESS

Now that you have a frame suitable for your artwork, you need to attach the painting to the frame and add hardware for hanging. There are two types of clips for attaching the canvas to frames; both spring clips and offset clips are appropriate. Both are screwed to the frame and clip over the back of the canvas. For hanging, D-rings are KING. The advantage of D-rings is that they can be attached to the frame and then hung on a picture hook rated for the appropriate weight of your artwork, placed securely in the wall. The hardware is never applied to the canvas, protecting it from damage and allowing you to replace the frame if you later choose.

How to frame an oil painting

VOILA! YOUR ARTWORK IS READY FOR DISPLAY

So, there you have it, framing your oil paintings in a nutshell. If you are handy and have a frame which fits your painting, you may find that you can take on this task on your own. If this seems daunting, look for a framing expert to guide you through the process or simply frame your artwork for you.

Sybaris Collection is here to assist you in your journey to building your art collection. Consider the experts with our custom framing service; we can help you choose the perfect frame for your work, whether it be a new addition or a new face for your current pieces of art.

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If you’re struggling to frame a painting, it might be because you are thinking like an artist, not a framer. Luckily, having framed Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, FA Pollak’s Alexander Roeder knows a thing or two about getting a painting ready to display

How to frame an oil painting

2 Why not try putting various pictures in one frame? We recently worked on a few small teacup prints – they were in a long frame with a mount and six openings. It worked well and added variety.

3 An ostentatious frame can make the painting look more important and there are some people who just want something expensive-looking on the wall. It’s funny because collectors will look at a painting and not want to make it look expensive whereas a dealer always will. The worth of a painting doesn’t interest me but the age of a painting does – as it’s good to get a period frame to suit.

4 What picture should go in what frame is partly down to perception. People think Impressionist paintings should be in busy, small and thick frames, but they are only in those because the dealer selling the first few had them lying around at the time. You can use this to your advantage – create a Victorian look with something austere or linear, for example.

5 Some people want a thin frame but it can make it look as if it has been framed as an afterthought. Don’t use thin frames with very small artwork because it will look weedy – you need a thicker frame and it should be bevelled, to draw your eye in.

How to frame an oil painting

6 For landscapes, try to avoid frames with too many lines on them. You might want to go for something curvy instead, that leads the eye into the picture, rather than something flat.

7 When it comes to mounting, never choose a colour that you’d find in the picture. People always make that mistake: “There’s red in the picture, I must use a red mount!” It’s just wrong. Your eyes will be drawn to the red of the mount and it will kill all other colour. The trick is to compliment, not copy. Using a neutral colour, like cream, often works really well. We do a lot of silk mounts, too – they are popular and look good.

8 Modern prints nowadays are always printed with a lot of paper around the image so you can often save money and use this as a built-in mount. Tray or box frames are a good bet for more modern paintings – they are good ways of containing a picture so it doesn’t just blend into the wall.

9 Learn how to stretch your canvases properly if you want them framed properly. Canvas gives. If you stretch your own canvases make sure they are straight and you use the wedges. All canvases have wedges in a packet on the back of the stretcher and the whole point of these is to be used – they are designed to help stop the canvas from sagging and going out of shape.

10 Glass can be expensive so choose only what you really need. There are lots of different types, from bog-standard float glass upwards. There’s a coated glass with chemical on each side that is good. It’s low reflecting and if you hang it correctly and light it well, you won’t even see the glass. Then there’s the museum standard, which is low reflecting but also stops UV light. You can get this from most good framers, it’s just very expensive.

11 Oil paintings don’t need glazing. People used to glaze them because there was more smog and smoky fires. These days we are far more hermetically sealed and people don’t smoke as much, so it’s not necessary.

12 My failsafe frame is oak. A decent, not-too-thin wood frame can go round pretty much everything and you can change the colour with waxing. However, each individual picture must be considered separately.

This article featured in Artists & Illustrators magazine. To discover more How to Guides get the latest magazine or find it in all good newsagents. Plus, browse our online collection.

Read more: how to varnish your art and how to stretch a canvas.

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In association with Cass Art.

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Artists and Illustrators

Artists & Illustrators is Britain’s most popular magazine for practising artists, whilst also being equally relevant to professionals, aspiring amateurs or to those who paint purely for pleasure. Full of step-by-step practical advice, readers’ own work, exclusive features on famous names and expert product tests, this is the top publication for every artist seeking inspiration, whether they favour painting, drawing or printmaking.

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How to frame an oil painting

Many artists paint on stretched canvas, but once you’ve finished your painting how do you frame it? A typical frame is intended for a flat work of art, but there are several options for framing stretched canvas.

Overview

It is very easy to frame a stretched canvas. You don’t need to remove the canvas from the stretchers to frame the painting. The frame sits on the edge of the stretched canvas as it would on a canvas board, and there is no need to protect it with glass. If the canvas stretchers have become warped, you can remove the finished painting and remount it, either on new stretchers or on a rigid support.

How to Frame Your Stretched Canvas Painting

Firstly, you should know the outside dimensions of your painting and the type of frame that will look good with it. Standard sizes are the most economical; you will have to pay more if you purchase a custom frame. You want a frame that will complement your painting and not compete with it. Make sure to buy a frame that is made for the size of your painting if it is a standard size. If the frame isn’t as deep as the canvas, you’ll see part of the edge of the canvas if you’re looking from the side.

To frame the canvas, you simply slip the painting into the frame from the back as usual. You can get canvas frame clips or offset clips for attaching a frame to a canvas from a hardware or frame store, or online. Artist Brian Rice uses bent pipe clamps, instead of buying offset clips, to secure a frame to a canvas. Simply drill the offset clips into the frame and your canvas will be secure within the frame.

It is not necessary, but sometimes a piece of paper is stuck on the back of the framed canvas using brown paper attached to the frame with double-sided tape to ‘tidy up’ the back of the canvas and stop dust collecting in it. If you do this, be sure to cut a hole in the back to allow the canvas to breathe so it can adjust to changes in ambient temperature and humidity.

You can also use a floater frame (occasionally referred to as an L-frame) to frame your painting. With these types of frames, there is a gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame such that the painting appears to be floating in the frame. The painting is inserted from the front and rests on a ledge of the frame to which the painting is screwed in through the back to the stretcher bars. These frames are available in various sizes and depths, including ones suitable for deep gallery-wrap canvasses.

If you’re a real DIY person, you can also build your own frame. Inexpensive lattice is the right weight and width to start with. Cut the lattice to the correct lengths to form a frame, paint them as desired, and use wire nails or brads to fasten the pieces together around your stretched canvas.

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Choose Standard, Custom, or DIY Options

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How to frame an oil painting

Many artists paint on stretched canvas, but once you’ve finished your painting how do you frame it? A typical frame is intended for a flat work of art, but there are several options for framing stretched canvas.

Overview

It is very easy to frame a stretched canvas. You don’t need to remove the canvas from the stretchers to frame the painting. The frame sits on the edge of the stretched canvas as it would on a canvas board, and there is no need to protect it with glass. If the canvas stretchers have become warped, you can remove the finished painting and remount it, either on new stretchers or on a rigid support.

How to Frame Your Stretched Canvas Painting

Firstly, you should know the outside dimensions of your painting and the type of frame that will look good with it. Standard sizes are the most economical; you will have to pay more if you purchase a custom frame. You want a frame that will complement your painting and not compete with it. Make sure to buy a frame that is made for the size of your painting if it is a standard size. If the frame isn’t as deep as the canvas, you’ll see part of the edge of the canvas if you’re looking from the side.

To frame the canvas, you simply slip the painting into the frame from the back as usual. You can get canvas frame clips or offset clips for attaching a frame to a canvas from a hardware or frame store, or online. Artist Brian Rice uses bent pipe clamps, instead of buying offset clips, to secure a frame to a canvas. Simply drill the offset clips into the frame and your canvas will be secure within the frame.

It is not necessary, but sometimes a piece of paper is stuck on the back of the framed canvas using brown paper attached to the frame with double-sided tape to ‘tidy up’ the back of the canvas and stop dust collecting in it. If you do this, be sure to cut a hole in the back to allow the canvas to breathe so it can adjust to changes in ambient temperature and humidity.

You can also use a floater frame (occasionally referred to as an L-frame) to frame your painting. With these types of frames, there is a gap between the edge of the canvas and the frame such that the painting appears to be floating in the frame. The painting is inserted from the front and rests on a ledge of the frame to which the painting is screwed in through the back to the stretcher bars. These frames are available in various sizes and depths, including ones suitable for deep gallery-wrap canvasses.

If you’re a real DIY person, you can also build your own frame. Inexpensive lattice is the right weight and width to start with. Cut the lattice to the correct lengths to form a frame, paint them as desired, and use wire nails or brads to fasten the pieces together around your stretched canvas.