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"Do I Need to Frame My Art?" A Simple Method of Dividing Types of Art into 2 categories.

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Fun or Function?

“Ah, um, thanks for the art," a customer said, it was a compliment, yet a prayer, all at the same time. I sensed she didn't know if she should frame the art or not.

Too embarrassed to speak up, I knew just how she felt. You see, that's me whenever I try to tackle a tech issue. Even loading an app can send me down a black hole.

When I'm out of my element, I offer a hesitant smile, or worse, I give a blank stare.

So if you're unsure about if your art needs a frame, let's make it easy by beaking down your art into

2 simple categories: Paper or canvas

1. Canvas Category:

  • Oil

  • Acrylic

  • Mixed Media - various glues and sealers used in the creation can make the art stable and not require a frame.

Canvas art DOES NOT require a frame

However the function of the frame is to prevent the canvas from warping.

The unfinished wood of the back of the canvas can absorb moisture.

Cross-bracing (shown below) will help to strengthen the canvas and may prevent warping.

Depth of canvas choices by Dick Blick
Sideview of canvas illustrates narrow to deep.

The deeper the depth of your canvas (shown above), the stronger and more stable it becomes, therefore helping to prevent your art from warping.

The larger the art the greater the chance of warping as the surface area is larger.

In high humid geographical areas, stretched canvas is more likely to warp. Also in high humid rooms such as bathrooms and hot tubes.

2. Paper categories includes:

  • Watercolor

  • Acrylics

  • Etchings

  • Mixed Media

  • Photographs

  • Pastels

  • Pen and Ink

  • Prints - all types of limited editions and Giclee.

  • Posters

  • Kids art created on drawing paper

Art created on paper ... NEEDS to be framed.

By framing works of art on paper you're preserving the paper, and many times, the media the art was created.

Glazing - Also called glass or plastic (Plexi-glass). It's function is to protect the art.

Sunlight is paper's worst enemy. UV glass is recommended to preserve the colors from fading and paper from yellowing.

The glass also shields the art from airborne dust, grease, household cleaning chemicals, and fingerprints.

Matting - It's function is to get the glass away from the art, and help prevent moisture build up.

How much matting you choose is a personal preference.

Several considerations:

- The width of the frame should not be the exact same size as the mat as this symmetry will bore your eye, rather than enhance your art.

- The width of the mat affects to the overall size of the art. For example, an exceptionally wide mat can make a small painting appear more substantial.

- Consider what room you want to display your art as the wider the mat and frame, the larger the finished size of your art.

- Custom mats can be cut to allow your painting to fit the shape of an existing frame.

Frame - The style of the frame is also a personal choice.

Several factors may influence your decision.

- The style of your home décor such as contemporary clean lines, or perhaps more traditional and elegant.

- The frame styles of other paintings displayed in the same room.

- How much room there is on the wall the art is to be hung, or the size of the object you are centering the art such as a mantel or couch.

- The color of the wall the art is being placed on.

Note: The most popular framing style for my art is a classic black (below) or silver frame (above).

Personally, I LOVE frames.

I like that "look-at-me" enhancement it gives the art.

Remember, it's your art, and the frame is your way to personalize it.

Old or new, thick or thin, weathered or refined ... these frames all work.


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