The floater frame evolved from the 1950's picture framing "stripping" style. This style was an attempt to embellish and visually seal, or finish, the appearance of unframed oil paintings on canvas. This involved the fixing of thin wood strips or plywood trims, about 3 to 5mm thick, to the four, external sides of a stretcher frame. However, while this style of picture framing .. also known as 'Baguette" improved the appearance of the oil painting's sides, it did not strengthen the stretcher frame construction and provide no support for any future wall hanging. The modern, standard float frame is basically an evolved baguette and has become popular since early 2000's. Its profile is in the L-shape with the back of the moulding being the base which supports the stretcher frame. A floater frame is nearly always cut 10 or 20 mm larger than the actual stretcher framer. Once the stretcher ... frame is placed inside the floater frame it will look as though it "floats" inside the floater because it is smaller. Floater frames come in varying styles, shapes, sizes and colours. They may be short-based, long-based, standard-floated or step-floated, to name just a few variations.
The diagram above shows the self-evident, structural and cosmetic advantage a floater frame has over a baguette. In the main, the floater frame is much stronger and more cosmetically appealing. It is fixed or attached to the back of a stretcher frame rather than its sides. There are also other float frame variations such as the back float frame, the stacked float frame and the stacked back float frame which however are uncommon and more specialized. While the floater frame is quite appealing it has a distinct disadvantage, it costs twice than the average frame and this is because any canvas or artwork to be float-frame will need not one but two frames, i.e., a stretcher frame and a floater frame. Just by way of exercise, we'd charge $92 to stretch-frame a 60x90cms oil on canvas. That's one frame. Then if a floater frame is needed, we'd probably charge another $148 or so. That's two frames, totaling $240 for a "different" look. Some customers will pay but most won't, at least that's what we find at the coalface, so to speak. They ask us why a floater frame is so "expensive" and we have to tell them that's because two frames need to be built, not just one, and the picture framing work is double. On the other hand, there are a few avant-garde picture framers who work, or rather, practise in niche markets. These specialists think outside the square and design new floater picture frame designs purposely to stay ahead of their competition with their new design ideas. They cater to a rather narrow, elite clientele who can and will pay what most customers can't or won't. That said, the floating frame's look and appeal is quite distinctive, and, when seen on a wall, it spells "class". For ordinary custom picture framing ( withour a floater frame ) you are welcome to use our free, Custom Picture Framing and Custom Frames Prices Estimator