At FRAME USA we work all day with frames and the materials to create them, but I wondered if this little bit of information might shed some light on the importance of using conservation materials to preserve art for years to come.
When framing a picture, you may opt to include a mat board. When using a high quality mat board, it is possible to protect your picture or artwork from being discolored by the acidic properties of a wood frame or from external factors, including the wall the frame is being hung on. The mat is not only a beautiful addition to the framing, it also creates a buffered border that prevents acid from destroying what you are trying to protect.
There are several types of mat boards you can choose to use, the main two being AlphaRag and Paper Mat. Each of these mat boards has specific properties that make them more desirable. AlphaRag is the highest quality mat board you can purchase and is made from cotton. Rag is extremely durable and will stand the test of time by blocking all acid from getting to the picture. The colors available are somewhat limited and the pricing is higher than any other mat board, but it is a fair trade off to have the kind of mat board used to best protect your art. Paper mat boards are the least expensive of all the mat boards, but they also do the least to protect your pictures over time. These boards are treated with a chemical to neutralize the acidity of the wood pulp used to make the mat. The problem is that this buffer will deteriorate over time, and the acidity of the wood will eventually damage the picture by leaving a burn mark on the art that cannot be removed. These mat boards are recommended for temporary framing and should only be used for a period of time.
Spending the little extra money in the beginning will make it possible to cherish your framed piece for many years to come. Thanks for the read, from one happy framer!
My name is Dorian Richards and I’m a new face in the customer service department. Before arriving here, I knew nothing about framing and all it entails. Once I was able to learn, it sparked my interest in things I didn’t really value before. I had a desire to frame and display what matters to me the most. Of course, that would be my family.
My first picture is a few random photos of memories that I’ve shared with them. There is never a dull moment when it comes to my family. From a grandparent showing his grandchild the art of Indian poker or your mom photo bombing your selfie, these are moments I never wanted to forget. It shows exactly what it reads at the top “Family is everything”.
My second photo is my lovely parents! This photo is something I really cherish. My mom and dad have been married more than 25 yrs. They give me something to look up to. This picture was taken on my mom’s 50th birthday. With all these great memories that I have, they are made even more special with the perfect frame. If you love your family as much as I do, I would recommend keeping these moments alive by putting them in the quality frame.
Hi, my name is Taylor, customer Service Representative for Frame USA. I by no means am an artistic person, but I do appreciate art that carries meaning. When I hear from a customer who is looking to frame a diploma, wedding portrait, first day of school picture or any other special occasion I put myself in their shoes. There is no better feeling than finally choosing a frame for that piece that means so much to you and hanging it in your home.
My husband and I purchased our first home almost a year ago. The first
piece of art we purchased was actually from a family member. My uncle Marvin Espy is an artist, designer and photographer who now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He sketched an image we sent him of our twin boys and produced an AMAZING piece of art. I couldn’t wait to frame it. I chose the Corporate Wide Grey Barnwood picture frame. Looks pretty amazing wouldn’t you say?
Next I wanted to find frames for our kids’ newborn pictures. We had guests at our baby shower sign the mat around our twin’s pictures welcoming them as soon as they got home. Unfortunately the frame was broken during the move. The Corporate Wide frame we used for the sketch looked so good we decided to get two more!
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the art in my husband’s man cave. He is a boxing fan so I thought why not get him “The Greatest” Muhammad Ali poster from Posterservice with Frame USA’s Architect
Walnut picture frame. It was a hit!
The picture frame is just as important as the piece of art. The choice of frame can make or break its’ presentation so make sure the frame you choose compliments your art piece and is of made of quality materials. I certainly feel I made great framing choices.
Valentine’s Day is all about letting someone special know that you’re thinking about them. One way to do that is by getting them a gift. You can buy something expensive (like jewelry), or something you know they need (like a gardening trowel) but the gifts that leave the biggest impression are the ones that have meaning behind them. The thoughtful presents that you create yourself that shows your valentine how well you know them. A great way of doing this is by putting significant photos or mementos from a special moment into picture frames and then customizing those frames.
At Frame USA we have a number of different frames that would be perfect for creating this kind of unique Valentine’s Day present.
This is an unfinished picture frame with a flat profile that comes in 3 different widths (1.5″, 2″ or 3″). It is created especially
for crafting. You can paint it, glue on it, and use a wood burning pen, anything you can think of to decorate the frame. You could get small wooden hearts or other Valentine’s Day items (even those little candy hearts) and affix them to the frame with an inside that reminds the person of a fun time you’ve had together.
This frame is another unfinished wood frame (as the name might suggest). Like the Decorate It, the Unfinished series comes in 3 different profiles, but these are more decorative with some scoops and beveling in the frame. This picture frame could be painted in a rosy, reddish or dark pink color with a picture of you and your valentine together held within it. A classy way to celebrate your relationship.
Maybe you don’t have a lot of time or are just not good at crafting, painting or applique. You can still customize a frame for
your sweetheart to create a special memory. At Frame USA we are able to laser engrave names and even logos onto certain frame series that are found in the Laser Engraving category. You can engrave on any or all of the frame rails, oriented how you like. The laser burns away the finish to show the wood (or metal) beneath. You can engrave their name, maybe dates or a special quote or song lyrics. The possibilities for making your valentine go, “Awwwww!” and look at you with puppy-dog eyes are endless.
Remember that time you and your valentine went to the___(theater, restaurant, beach, etc.) and they kept the___(ticket stub, receipt, shells you found, etc.)? Wouldn’t it be a great Valentine’s Day
surprise to put those in a nice display? Frame USA has several different shadowboxes that are just right for showing off mementos. In our Shadowbox Elite, Shadowbox Showcase or Barnwood Shadowbox (for those who appreciate a rustic look) you can mount those items to the foamcore backing and give your special someone a gift that is both stylish and thoughtful.
Not all valentines are ready for something so meaningful. Maybe it’s someone you’ve been dating for a short while–long
enough to get them something but not long enough to make them a memory box–well we still have you covered. You can always pick them up a poster from Posterservice and put it in one of Frame USA’s poster frames. We have music posters, movie and TV posters, humor, art prints, and scenic–anything anyone could have an interest in. You can find something they would like. This still shows that you know what they like and want without over-doing the sentiment.
So as February 14th gets closer, consider giving your valentine something they can hang on their wall and cherish for many Valentine’s Days to come.
Believe or not, before started working for team Frame USA, my family was (still are) loyal customers to this fine picture framing establishment! I especially adore the Custom framing department we have. There is an array of styles, from traditional to modern to myriads of different mats to create limitless framing combinations to help your artwork integrate into the luxury of your living space. And as a recurring visitor to our retail store, I’d like to welcome you to join the virtual tour of “The Art at Fort Kelley.”
I take great value and deep appreciation for pieces that preserve the good memories in my life. Here is a Shepard Fairey print I bought at the Contemporary Art Center when he was in town exclusively performing DJ at the CAC after party. It was also my first time interacting with the artist and letting me try out his custom made OBEY vinyl records, a fun experience that is hard to forget! Well, for sure now that I have this piece hanged and to view on a daily basis.
I also collect prints that revolve around my interests and inspirations, it might be remotely apparent to see that I may have
a geeky nature with the pop culture and sci-fi universe. This one is a Doctor Who illustration by Adriana Melo, a Brazilian artist. I admire her pin-up comic book cover style, among the composition and subjects involved, it exhibits a great summation of my favorite season of the show! The blue confetti frame style I chose out of our custom collection emulates the iconic blue TARDIS, the time machine that takes the characters on myriads of adventures by traversing through time and space.
As a bunch of artists living under the same roof, we have no shame in hanging up our own artwork around the
house. Well, maybe it’s just we have parents who like to express how proud they are of their kids. Here we exhibit a mixture between mine (far right) and my sister’s (middle and left) pieces we’ve done in college. As the maker of some of these pieces, I can support the fact that these were preambles to my current body of work. But it’s immensely interesting to see the personal growth from then to now. Here is
another painting I created back in ye olden college years: a master’s painting based on the one of the artworks at the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection. Maybe you’re wondering why there’s no face, well I’m sure there’s was a perfectly good reason back then for which I have none now.
Whenever I go to FrameUSA to get framing done, it’s just like going mall shopping for a dress. Attempting to find the best look to your artwork is imperative, regardless. Out of the wide variety of styles of frames and shades of mats they have, they can create countless of designs in order to cater to your preference and tailoring to your artworks figure. As my photos can attest, FrameUSA has done an excellent job helping me find the right dress for my artwork.
Post by Lindsay Allen, Inside Sales Representative for Frame USA
I recently had the opportunity to join a class at Painting With a Twist. Let me tell you, this was by far THE BEST Wine and Canvas workshop that I’ve been to (if you aren’t familiar with these workshops I HIGHLY recommend them to anyone)! Now, I am an absolute novice when it comes to painting, but at the end of the class I felt like Van Gogh (metaphorically speaking of course)! So, when I brought the canvas home, I was so excited to find the perfect spot to hang it but something just didn’t seem right, it was almost naked on my wall. Something was missing on my beautiful canvas, but what?
A frame of course!
I used our sleek Build-A-Frame feature on Frameusa.com to upload an image of my piece and, voila! I found the perfect picture frame for my one of a kind canvas! For those who have stretched canvases at home, and love to frame your pieces, here are some quick framing tips!
Always make sure you order frames with no materials (shell only)
Since the canvas is painted, this actaully seals the fabric and prevents deterioration of the fibers. So glazing is not a necessity when it comes to framing canvas. This will save you money rather than having to pay for a frame that comes with a bunch of materials that you don’t need. However, make sure that you have hardware to install the canvas on your own. Off set brackets can be found at any frame shop, or hardware store.
Make sure you pay attention to the depth of the “rabbet” in comparison to the depth of your stretcher bars.
For example, if your stretcher bar is ½ inch deep, the rabbet of the frame must be at least ½ deep. Otherwise the canvas will not be flush with the back of the frame.
Make sure you have the appropriate hanging hardware for the size of your framed canvas.
The biggest mistake a lot of people make is attempting to hang their canvas on too thin of wire, or anchors that are not compatible with the weight of the frame. This is very dangerous, not only for hanging a framed canvas, but for hanging any type of frame. If you are unsure of what type of hanging hardware to use, please ask a professional to assist.
Also, if you’re one of those crafty people who like to step out of the norm when it comes to framing, another great frame option is our Floater Series! What makes this frames stand out from the others is that it is a front loading frame, making your canvas appear to be floating inside of the frame. It also has a ¾ deep “rabbet”, which is deep enough for most stretched canvases.
I am so excited to get my canvas framed and hung on my wall! It will truly be a work of art!
Hi, my name’s Clair. Quality Control Specialist for Frame USA by day, Artist by night.
If you’re like me, you love art. You love books stores, pop-up art shows, old classic movies and home remodeling TV shows. Most importantly you love creating and decorating your home/work space with the images you love. Be it posters, reproduction, original art, or family photos. You surround yourself with what makes you happy; with what makes you, uniquely you.
If that sounds about right then you might agree that there is no better feeling in the world than finishing or buying a piece of art that you love. However, there’s no worse feeling than the one that usually follows when you ask yourself, “how am I going to hanging this?” and quickly realize your spending is not over.
Perhaps like me you’ve tried to cut corners when it comes to framing. Let’s be honest, Framing can be expensive. So, you own several bulging portfolios and enough cardboard tubes to build the world’s largest telescope. I mean, it’s not enough that we as artists and art coinsures have to spend money to make art and acquire art, but we must also spend money if we plan at all to enjoy it.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years of arting and framing, whether you’re selling or buying there’s simply no arguing the effectiveness of a fantastic framing Job. I see it all the time in our Custom framing shop. Customers bring in old sentimental images probably worth nothing more than something you could find at a yard sale. But, because it’s special to them, they invest, and the final product is always breathtaking. Just imagine the effect quality framing has on something truly unique and timeless. It’s magical. Just ask our Raving fans!
I promise, nothing will enhance the appeal of your artwork, whatever it is, more than a beautiful frame. And let’s face it, appeal is essential if you ever want to be a professional artist, impress your in laws, or get that promotion you’ve been working so hard for.
That’s why we at frame USA pride ourselves in not only the quality of our frames, which I personally see to on a daily basis, but the affordability of our picture frames. Each woods frame at frame USA is cut, joined, filled, and hand quality checked right here in our American home base facility ensuring not only quality and affordability, (like I’ve mentioned) But also that your money stays here in our wonderful U.S. of A.
We know the importance of arting and framing and the impact it has logistically and visually in your homes, offices, studios and galleries. Let us be the ones to make your art something really special; something that demands to be noticed. It’s what we do best.
To mat or not to mat? That is a valid question when putting art and photos into picture frames. When should you use a mat? What color mat should you use? Do I need acid free matting? There are no wrong answers (well, when it comes to mat measurements there can be wrong answers) to these questions but there are some typical things that people tend to do that might be helpful if you’re wondering what you should do about matting your piece before framing it. So let’s do a quick, easy-breezy run down of some common mat ideas.
WHEN SHOULD YOU MAT?
Not every picture you put in a frame needs a mat. If you just want to pop in one of the kids’ 5×7 or 8×10 school photos into a picture frame of the same size, and you’re just going to change it out the following year–those probably don’t need matted. Matted photos are usually ones that you plan on keeping framed indefinitely and that you want to give a little extra oomph to. The purpose of a mat is to give the picture some extra space in the frame so that you can use a larger picture frame to add dramatic weight to whatever the artwork is that you’re framing. A family portrait that you’re hanging in the living room, or a special art print that you’ve purchased and want to put in a nice, righ frame. These are the typical kinds of pictures you want to mat. Of course, you can mat anything you like but if you’re wondering, “Does this need matted?” this is a good rule of thumb.
Also, when you have a piece that is an unusual size but you’d like to try and get it into a standard sized frame–that is a time you’d want to get a mat. The mat will go to the inside edges of the frame and the opening then can be centered and made the size of the piece. The only caveat with this is that the vertical sides of the mat may be different than the horizontal so that one dimension has more space than the other, but this is a solution to that problem.
WHAT SIZE MAT AND OPENING SHOULD I GET?
Again, with sizing, there is no one right thing to do. If you’re basing the size of your frame on the size of your mat you start with the mat width. That is how much matting you want around your photo or art. A good safe, round number is 2″. A lot of people use this number. It’s not too much matting or too little. If your photo is small-ish (5×7) and you don’t want the frame to be much bigger, you can drop this down to 1″. And of course if you’re going for a certain look where you want a lot of space, or just a thin edge, you can do those too. The thinnest you can go, however, is 3/4″ because you must account for the lip of the frame taking up a little on each side. And speaking of accounting for the lip, you will also want to take into consideration making your mat opening slightly smaller than your piece (unless your piece has already built in a border around it to accomodate matting–in which case you can make your exact image size the opening size). For this example we’ll assume your piece has no border. You need to make the opening at least 1/4″ smaller than your actual paper or whatever physical medium your image is on. This is so the piece has something to fall against when put up to the opening and can be taped to the inside of the mat. We recommend 1/2″ total (which works out to be 1/4″ per side because there are two sides). Once you have your opening and how wide you want your mat, you can come up with your outer dimensions. Again, because the lip of any frame will take up a little of the mat, it’s nearly impossible to get the exact amount of space (unless you have the frame in hand and can measure the lip exactly), So for example, if your piece is an 11×14 photo and you want 2″ of matting you would:
Take 11×14 and remove 1/2″ from each side to get 10.5×13.5. This is your opening size. Then add 4″ to each side (this is taking both sides into account) to get 14.5×17.5. This is your outside dimensions and the opening size of your frame. Or, if you want a standard sized frame, a 16×20 would give you about 3.25″ of matting all the way around.
SHOULD I GET ACID FREE?
Most paper products contain some acidic chemicals. The amounts are minute, but over time they can discolor or damage a piece that they’ve been attached to for a long period of time. If the piece you’re matting and putting in a picture frame is not particularly special to you or is not valuable or will never be removed from it’s frame then you can probably safely use any standard or premium mat. It takes a long time for any damage to occur, if it ever does. However, if the piece is a one of a kind, a limited edition or something with sentimental value, you may want to consider acid free. Acid free mats are a little more expensive and don’t come in as many colors but they will not mar or damage your piece, even after years and years. If you are going to choose an acid free mat you’ll also want to be sure and affix your piece with acid free tape.
There are a lot of other questions that can go into matting; multiple openings, double and triple mats, color choices and textured mats. When you have specific questions about matting, you can always call the customer service department at Frame USA (800-577-5920) or live chat them through the website and they will help you choose and size the right mat for your piece. You can also use our Build-A-Frame service to do a step by step process that shows you what the mat and frame will look like (and you can even upload an image and compare it against your wall color to see how it will look) to make things even easier. Or if you know exactly what you want, feel free to go straight to Mat Designers and put in an order.
Matting may seem complicated once you get into it, but don’t overthink it and always ask questions. Your framed art piece will be better for it.
October is here. Pumpkins, warm apple cider, a chill in the air and falling leaves. Lots and lots of falling or fallen leaves. When the foliage turns color and begins to drop from branches, it might be fun to preserve some of the more beautiful specimens you can find. There are hundreds of crafts that can be done using autumn foliage that are great for kids and adults, but we will just talk about two very simple ones that you can do using picture frames from Frame USA.
Before you get to the frames however, you have to get some leaves. The first week of October is prime foliage collection time. Everything has had a chance to change to those beautiful red, yellow and orange hues and have hit the ground but are still supple and haven’t really started to dry out and turn brown and crumbly. Try and get as many different types and colors of leaves as you can, large and small. A variety of shapes to choose from will make your crafts more interesting. Plus, it’s just nice to be out in the crisp autumn air. When you get them home, if you’re not going to use them right away, be sure to store them in a cool, dark place. It wouldn’t hurt to put them in sealable, airtight plastic bags either.
Once you have a good selection of leaves, you can start the first project; framing fall foliage as a picture. There are a lot of ways you can arrange your leaves, but the two that are easiest is to frame one large leaf by itself, or create a collage of different leaves, almost a mosaic. The first thing you’ll want to do, either way, is to preserve your leaves a little. I suggest starting out by drying them. You can do this very easily by putting them between two pieces of wax paper and then closing them in a large book overnight. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to spray your leaves with a UV resistant acrylic sealer. This will help keep their colors from fading over time. You’ll want to do one side, then when that dries, flip them over and do the other. These are both spray-heavy projects actually, because I also suggest using spray adhesive (for this first project) and you can also use a glossy spray finish if you want to give your leaves a shiny look. Once you’ve treated your
leaf or leaves, and they’re dry, you can spray a piece of white foam core (all of these supplies are inexpensive and can be purchased at your local craft/hobby store and the leaves are free) with spray adhesive and quickly (but gently) affix the leaves or leaf in the position you want them/it. The adhesive dries quickly so you won’t have much chance to rearrange so you will want to plan this out first.
We have several wood picture frames that are ideal for autumn inspired framing project. The first is one of our rustic barn wood frames. Our Appalachian Barnwood to be exact. I would recommend it in the rustic brown color to give it that real outdoors-y, fall feel. This is a real wood frame with a 3/4″ recess and a 7/16″ usable depth. This is a good frame for any DIY type of project and perfectly shows off homemade art and photos.
If you’re looking for something a little more whimsical and bright, I would suggest our Colori Large picture frame in orange. This frame is made from an eco-friendly wood composite and finished with a colorful wrap. It has a flat 2″ profile and a 1/2″ usable depth. This frame is great if you’re doing this project with kids and want to maybe hang the piece in their room or in a classroom. It also comes in yellow and red, if you’re doing multiple frames and want to represent all the fall colors.
Now that we’ve framed leaves, it’s time to put leaves on the frame itself. After treating your leaves you can choose a bunch of different ones that you like to affix to the outside of our Decorate-It wood picture frame. The Decorate-It frame is made specifically for crafting and comes in 3 flat profiles; a 1 1/2″, a 2″ and a 3″ width. For this kind of project I recommend the 2″ width to give you more room to play with.
You can use spray fixative for this again but because it’s wood I would actually suggest using a very thin layer of wood glue to hold the leaves really tight. Arrange them in any pattern you like around the edges of the frame and after you’ve glued them in place I suggest spraying them with the gloss finish, and a layer of spray adhesive, just for good measure and to make them look good. After everything dries you now have a nice autumn picture frame that you can maybe put halloween photos or Thanksgiving photos in.
Autumn is maybe the prettiest season of the year and you’ll be glad you have something in your home that reminds you of it all year long.
Giving gifts is hard. Whether it might be for a friend or loved one that you want to give something personal to. Or maybe it’s for a school or work event and you want to give the recipient something will keep and remember. It can be tricky choosing something. A really perfect choice, for nearly any situation is custom engraved picture frames from Frame USA.
A picture frame is a gift that you can tailor to whomever you’re giving it to on many levels. First off, you have the photo or art that you’ll put into it. Maybe it’s a brother or sister and you’ve found a picture from when you were kids. It was thought lost but you turned it up. Now you can get a nice photo frame to put it in and give it to your loved one. Already this is a nice, thoughtful present, but you can take it a step further by making it a true custom picture frame. You can have it laser engraved. We are able to engrave text and logos by burning away a line of the finish or top layer of the wood on a wood picture frame to show the wood beneath. It’s a very tight, classy look. You could engrave your picture frame to say, “Me and my big bro” on the top frame rail and “Myrtle Beach, 1993″ on the bottom of the frame. Or both lines on the same frame rail. Or a line on every frame rail. There are a lot of options for how to make your custom frame and many standard fonts to choose from. This idea works well for wedding anniversaries, baby showers, anything where a date is involved that you can engrave on your frame or to commemorate an event. For friends and family, an ideal wood picture frame to engrave is our Engrave-It frame. As the name suggests, it is made specifically to be laser engraved. It has a wide profile and a rich honey finish. Text and logos show up great when the wood shows through.
Engraved frames are particularly well suited to awards ceremonies for schools and corporate events. Again, for work anniversaries or retirment, a beautiful wood picture frame like our American Hardwoods or Coffee Bean series. These are both wide, flat frames with a slightly beveled edge and rich, dark colors that really contrast well when the finish is burned away to reveal the wood of the frame. These are great for graduation photos with the grad’s high school or college name engraved and maybe their years of attendance. Or maybe your PTA wants to present something to a particularly inspirational teacher, this is a gift where they’re name and room number–or a message of thanks, can be engraved. For corporate giveaways at tradeshows, simple logos can also be engraved as well. it is a sharp look and has the feel of a substantial promotional product but is also very affordable.
There’s no right or wrong way to create your engraved picture frames. There are so many options for text and graphics. You can get creative with it and give someone something really memorable. Engraved picture frames are made to impress.