All about framing
Framing is the most effective way to preserve and showcase an exceptional art piece or any object that is close to your heart. Here’s what you need to know about custom framing, from selecting the perfect frame to how it’s made.
For 40 years, we have been framing :
Worthy of the most prestigious museums
We were among the first commercial framers to use museum quality framing, far more protective than the ready-made frame materials available in the big box stores.
Why opt for a custom made frame?
For aesthetics and preservation
With a custom made frame, you can choose the frame that you like: you can choose the style (contemporary, country, classic, modern, rustic, industrial, etc.), the width and thickness, the colour, and the material (wood or aluminum) from which it is made.
Custom framing also means benefiting from valuable advice! Depending on your preferences and budget, the artists at Atelier Daniel will suggest styles that lend themselves particularly well to the work you wish to have framed and highlight what you like most in that work.
Our experienced team of framing professionals can also recommend products that will preserve your work for as long as possible, depending on various factors, such as the medium used to produce the artwork, the presence of paper, the environment in which the artwork will be displayed, etc.
For works of non-standard dimensions
It could also be that the work to be framed does not have standard dimensions. In that case, custom framing is required
What are the dimensions of the so-called standard fabrics?
- 50 x 70 cm
- 50 x 40 cm
- 50 x 50 cm
- Format A1: 59.4 x 84.1 cm
- Format A2: 42 x 59.4 cm
- A3 size: 29.7 x 42 cm
The influence of dimensions on price
The cost of framing depends, among other things, on the dimensions of the frame. Framers use the united inch measurement to calculate the price of your frame.
Half perimeter = the height + width of the perimeter of the groove (opening size) of the frame.
For example, a 16″ x 20″ frame has a united inch size of 36.
Most sheet materials for matting are 32″ x 40″ (81.28 cm x 101.6 cm). Anything larger is considered oversized. The cost is higher for oversized material and the choice of matting colours is more limited. Finally, these larger materials are more difficult to handle and store, which increases labor costs.
How is custom framing designed?
Several elements go into a custom-made frame, whether it is intended to hold a work of art on canvas (such as a painting), a work of art on paper (such as a photograph, watercolour, or drawing) even collectibles. These elements are notably :
Framers have to carry out various steps before arriving at the final product, including :
Find out more about the components of a customized frame and the steps involved in its realization.
The matboard is a cardboard frame, with a window cut into it, placed over a work that needs to be protected by glass, such as works on paper and photographs. If you look at the front structure, the matboard is between the work and the frame.
Depending on the type of work to be framed, it may be necessary to add a mat.
Its practical role
Matting prevents the work from touching the glass. This air space is important because it prevents moisture from potentially condensing, which could lead to mould forming. For some mediums such as charcoal, chalk, or pastel, the distance between the glass and the work should be at least ⅛” (30 mm) to prevent static electricity from causing particles of the medium to stick to the glass. The use of multiple mats and spacers allows the distance between the medium and the glass to be increased as required.
In paintings on canvas that do not need to be protected by glass we use a liner instead of a mat.
Its aesthetic role
The mat serves as visual background. In general, the more significant the mat, the better. The mat should not dominate the artwork.
- + Large mats allow the focus to be on the work.
- – Thin mats distract the eye more than they enhance the work.
The choice of colours
The top mat should be a neutral colour, preferably not as dark or vibrant as the work’s predominant colours. Otherwise, the mat may distract the eye.
Other mats added under the top can add a touch of colour while helping the frame blend in with your decor.
The forms offered
Our professional framers use a sophisticated computerized device to cut the mats with precision. Rectangular openings are made with beveled edges showing the thickness of the mat. The beveled edges can also be reversed to give a different look.
Oval or round openings as well as other irregular shapes, with beveled edges, can be used instead of square or rectangular ones to create different effects. These are particularly suitable for portraits and allow subjects in the same photo to be isolated if desired.
A mat can also come covered with fabrics of different colours and textures, lines, grooves, as well as marbling. However, care should be taken to ensure that your original matting matches the moulding and the artwork.
Types of mats
The mat made of wood pulp paper is the standard material. It is treated with calcium carbonate to delay acid burn as much as possible. Although inexpensive, this material is not recommended for long-term preservation.
Alpha cellulose paper
Alpha cellulose paper is a highly purified wood pulp paper (all the lignin has been removed to prevent it from degrading). A mat made from this paper is more expensive than a standard one. It can be used for preservation framing because if it is neutralized.
100% rag paper
100% rag paper contains no wood pulp and is usually made from cotton fibers. Although it has no acid, it is still neutralized before it is manufactured. It is the best material available on the preservation market.
While matboard is mainly used for framing works on paper and collectors’ items, the liner is a painted or fabric covered wooden frame into which an oil or acrylic painting is inserted. The finish is often white or another neutral colour. The edge of the liner is usually beveled and sometimes finished in gold, silver or even black or white, to provide a contrast between the painting and the frame.
Its role is, like matboard, both aesthetic and protective.
Atelier Daniel’s artists will recommend attractive combinations of liners and mouldings that suit your painting perfectly.
Mouldings: wood and aluminum
At Atelier Daniel, you will find a wide selection of both wood and aluminum mouldings.
- Manufactured and factory finished in lengths specifically for framing purposes.
- Huge variety of sizes, shapes, finished as well as colours.
- Prices range from $4 to $300 per foot ($13 to $975 per meter).
- The typical price for wood moulding is about $8 per foot ($26 per meter).
Methods of joining corners
We only use the glue and v-nail method for joining corners. This method requires special equipment and gives the most sturdy and long lasting results.
Other methods (not used by Atelier Daniel)
- Glue and lost head nails: a miter vice is required. We all used this before v-nailers became available.
- Glue and plastic dowel. The ends of the moldings must be prepared with a particular device (the final assembly of the frame can be done without tools). Reliable results.
- Extruded aluminum, anodized or painted.
- Available in various colours and finishes.
- Prices range from $2 to $30 per foot ($6.50 to $97.50 per meter).
- The typical price for aluminum moulding is about $6 per foot ($19.50 per meter).
The corners are assembled with metal pressure joint pieces.
Plastic moldings (not available at Atelier Daniel)
- They are usually made of polystyrene.
- They are moulded or extruded, usually with a more plain finish.
- Prices range from $1.50 to $15 per foot ($5 to $49 per meter).
- The typical price for plastic moulding is $5 per foot ($16.25 per meter).
The corners are joined with special strong glue. Sometimes nails are also used.
Due to their fragility and lack of appearance, Atelier Daniel does not offer plastic mouldings.
Glass (framing under glass)
Some works of art, such as photographs, drawings, pastels, watercolours and other works on paper, will be preserved longer if framed under glass. You need to choose the right type of glass. Here are some examples.
Clear picture framing glass is the cheapest and most commonly used material for picture framing. It is often referred to as “ordinary glass”, but it should not be confused with window glass, which is thicker and of lower quality.
Non glare glass
The acid treated surface of non glare glass diffracts light and will blur the image when viewed from the side. The greater the distance between the image and the glass, the more blurred the image will appear.
The price of this type of glass is approximately twice as high as that of clear glass.
UV cutting glass
In both clear or non glare versions, UV resistant glass is treated on the inside to filter out over 99% of the UV rays that can cause fading. UV rays are present in all light sources, but are particularly strongest sunlight and fluorescent light. This type of glass is recommended for all conservation projects.
The price of the u/v filter glass is about the same as that of the anti-reflective glass.
Anti reflective glass is available with or without an added UV filter. It has a 20% lead content in glass that manages to scatter reflected light, giving the work an unrivaled brilliance and at the same time making the colours more vivid. Under certain conditions, the glass appears to disappear completely.
This type of glass is relatively new in the field of framing. It is 4 to 10 times more expensive than ordinary glass.
Acrylic has the appearance of glass but is lighter and more flexible than glass and is unbreakable. It is available in several thicknesses with or without a UV filter.
However, it scratches easily, can create static electricity (which makes it incompatible with mediums such as charcoal or pastel).
It is more expensive than ordinary glass because it requires more work to manufacture.
When new, styrene has the same appearance as acrylic, but it tends to yellow and become brittle over time.
However, it is cheaper than acrylic.
Are you considering framing under glass?
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Assembly of finished product
For wood frames: To assemble all the pieces of a frame together, we use glazier’s points, lost head nails, or staples partially driven into the inside wall of the moulding. For some types of frames, protruding fasteners will be required.
For aluminum frames: The individual parts are held together by the moulding itself. We use unique aluminum springs to keep the pieces firmly together.
Framing under glass must be provided with dust protection paper. Therefore, we completely cover the back of the frame with thick black paper. This enhances the appearance of the structure and seals the edge as well as protects the contents from dust and insects.
Paintings can also be protected against dust with protective paper. We make an opening in the paper to allow the canvas to breathe.
The corners of the bottom of the frame should be fitted with small silicone stoppers to:
- Keep a gap between the edge of the structure and the wall so that air can circulate;
- prevent the frame from moving along the wall;
- protect the surface of the wall.
Preservation framing: for high value works
Preservation framing is the only method recognized by preservation experts. It should be used for any original artwork, print, or object of great financial or sentimental value that you want to protect and keep.
This technique uses high-quality materials that do not fade over time, such as :
- 100% rag cardboard;
- UV-resistant glazing;
- Japanese paper for hinging;
- Rice-based starch or other reversible glues.
Do you have a piece of art or an object that is particularly dear to your heart? Use preservation framing, a technique that Atelier Daniel’s experienced framers master like no other.
The fundamental principle of preservation mounting
This type of mounting involves hanging the top by two attachment points to the 100% rag backing board.
A preservation mount should not result in any permanent changes to the artwork. The mounting should be fully reversible and carried out using non-destructive methods and materials.
All materials in contact with the work must be made of 100% rag or alpha-cellulose.
Other types of assemblies
Relief mounting is used for thicker than standard artwork. Since the adhesives do not contact the artwork, this method can be considered acceptable preservation quality mounting if 100% rag boards are used.
Hinged mounting requires canvas, paper, or special tape to attach the top (only) of the work to the backing board. This method is usually reversible and may cause minor damage to the job. The adhesives and materials used may be but are not always of preservation quality.
Wet mounting uses a water based adhesive to bond the work to a support panel. Considered permanent, this method can still be reversed by soaking the piece in water. The best results with this method are achieved when using a vacuum press.
This type of mounting is recommended for porous papers that are not valuable, such as posters and maps. It remains stable year after year. Please note: the background cardboard could become curved and otherwise distorted if a frame does not support it.
Dry mounting uses a heat-activated adhesive fabric and a vacuum or non-vacuum heating press. Dry mounting is considered permanent but can sometimes be reversed with heat or solvents.
This type of mounting is recommended for some photos and other works on non-porous papers that are not valuable. Over time, the dry mount fabric may deteriorate and lose its adhesion in places.
Spray mounting uses solvent-based aerosol adhesives. This type of mount is also considered permanent but can sometimes be reversed by using solvents. The best results are obtained with a vacuum press.
Tabs for photos
These can be purchased or custom-made to fit the work perfectly. This is an excellent mounting technique for photographs and other works on rigid paper. However, gravity laws work against this type of mounting, causing the work to sag and crease horizontally.
Matting board is often used to design background boards. This type of board can be made of standard paper, alpha-cellulose, or 100% rag, depending on the quality desired level. For larger pieces, reinforcements may be required to add rigidity.
There are also foam panels made of Styrofoam covered with either smooth white low-acid paper on both sides, acid-free paper, or 100% rag paper.
The 3X panels are thick cardboard (similar to the drawing board) with a smooth white surface of acidic wood pulp paper.
Picture Hanging equipment
- There are different types of hanging materials that can be attached to the work, including:
- Sawtooth hooks: these will work for very small frames but should not be used for frames larger than 5″ x 7″ (12 cm x 18 cm).
- Wire: This is perfect for frames that do not weigh more than 30 lbs (14 kg). Note that using wire to hang a frame weighing more than 30 lbs will stress the corners. The top and bottom of the structure will tend to bend; however if you hang with two hooks spaced 1/3 of the way apart, this problem will no longer exist.
- Stainless steel or coated wire: stronger than ordinary wire, it will not rust, corrode or mark walls;
- Hanging straps on either side of the frame: ideal for works weighing 30 lbs (14 kg) or more.
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