Framing artwork is just as important as choosing the perfect ring for a diamond. The right frame enhances the artwork, works with it in both texture and color, and, ultimately, completes it.
In this guide, we'll review the most common frame types and pros and cons of each. For canvas paintings, we will cover Gallery Wrap and Museum Wrap, Floating and Modern wood frame. For works on paper, we will show examples of Wood and Metal Glass frames.
Spilling over the edge
Gallery Wrap is common used way to frame large canvas paintings:
"Gallery wrap is a method of stretching an artist's canvas so that the canvas wraps around the sides of the stretcher bar or strainer bars and is secured to the back of the wooden frame.", according to Wikipedia.
Essentially, the painting continues on all sides of the frame so that we can see it from any angle.
This frame requires extra margins painted by the artist, stretching the canvas carefully by hand over thick (1.25'') custom-made wooden stretcher bars and stapling them on the back.
In this example, Lobsang Durney likes to gallery wrap his work to provide a more cinematic, "spilling over the edge" experience. Splash Motong also prefers gallery wrap with either painted or fabric edges.
Outer color complements artwork
Museum wrap is a variation of the gallery wrap. Like the gallery wrap, the canvas is wrapped around the edges and secured to the wooden frame's back.
One key difference is that in the museum wrap, all edges are painted in one color. Albena Vatcheva's work is a great example. Notice how the black contours in her paintings are complemented by the black color of the frame edges. The thin outer edge of the picture brings it all together.
Both gallery and museum wrap paintings are typically lighter and have a lower profile than other frames. A single-color tape or fabric can be used for museum wrap as well.
Float like a butterfly
Floating Wood Frame
Floating frames consist of two major parts.
Just like in the museum/gallery wrap, the canvas is stretched over wooden stretcher bars. The only difference here is that the edges don't have to be well painted.
Then, a custom-made outer wooden frame is built. The outer frame's inner dimension is about inch larger than the stretched canvas's outer dimension. This gap between the canvas and the frame creates the illusion of the painting "floating" within the frame.
The thin dark shadow around the canvas creates just enough visual space so that the eye can appreciate the artwork better.
Floating frames are relatively new and quite popular. Preferred by many galleries, floating frames are contemporary and classy. Latest Tavalina's work are great examples.
Simplicity and Texture
Modern Flat Wood Frame
The modern wood frame is similar to the floating frame, with the same two parts: canvas stretched on stretcher bars, and an outer wooden frame.
The first key difference is the lack of a gap between the canvas and the outer frame.
Secondly, while the floating frame is often painted with a solid color (black, white, gold, etc.), the modern flat wood frame highlights the wood texture. Hardwood such as poplar, maple, or oak wood waxed or stained with visible grain
This frame adheres to the simplicity principle and ensures that it takes little attention away from the artwork. The stain color is carefully selected to complement the painting and its texture.
Most paintings by George Abramidze have the modern flat wood frame, with the wood grain complementing their painterly and textured artworks.
Minimalist and Modern
Metal and Glass Frame
This frame consists of 5 major parts.
First, a slim black metal frame is made out of precision-cut anodized aluminum. The painting is then held in place between archival-quality acid-free foam board and 4-ply black paper mat. The second white paper mat provides a nice contrast and creates a frame-within-frame focus (black, white, black, painting). Finally, everything is covered by non-reflective, anti-glare acrylic glass, which is lighter and less fragile than glass.
Simple, minimalist, and modern this frame is very versatile and fits in any interior. It works best for watercolor or acrylic works on paper. Black and white contrast pulls together bright acrylic colors as in this work by Chuchin.
Watercolors love them
Wood and Glass Frame
This frame has the same 5 components as the Metal and Glass frame with a few differences.
The outer frame is made out of wood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard or engineered wood).
Paper mats are often light in color or a different shade of white. The color is carefully selected to be just a little bit lighter than the lightest color in the painting or just a bit darker than the darkest.
Painting can use a single mat or double mat. In case of a double mat, one mat is selected to be dark and the other light.
These frames are often used for watercolor paintings, sensitive to humidity and bright Sun (thus, the UV filter plexiglass). A slightly offset mat color often works well with the watercolors shadows as in this painting by Inna Petrashkevich.
Made by infusing dyes directly into aluminum, HD Metal Prints are a modern way to display your art. HD Metal prints have a beautiful vibrancy and luminosity. They are lightweight, durable, easy to clean and can be displayed without framing or placing behind glass.
Recessed back-frames, don't add at outer border to the artwork, and the "frame" is attached to the back of the work, and thus hidden from the sight.
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