Picture Frames, Picture Framing and Picture Framers' Blog

Welcome to our weblog about picture framers, picture frames and picture framing. It is published and maintained with the goal to share information, knowledge, tips, ideas and opinions about this industry. All posts are grouped in the sections listed below. For help with orders, please visit our Store Help and FAQS page, or use our Contact page.

The Great and Enduring Picture Framing Controversy: Landscape or Portrait Orientation?

Ever since the first picture frame was , probably around 2.500 years ago the image's artist and owner must have wrestled portrait-and-landscape-orientations-in-picture-framing with this compositional conundrum,  should it be framed portrait or landscape? Which would look better?  And of course, we are not referring to art photography where ‘portrait’ main mean  portraiture by photography and ‘landscape” may mean nature or outdoor photography. In picture framing, portrait means when someone frames and hangs the picture vertically, or longways, whereas landscape means when someone one frames  and hangs a picture horizontally, or sideways. To put it in another way, the portrait format means that an image is taller and that it is wide and landscape means that it is wider than it is tall.  Naturally, before and image is picture framed, one has to create and capture it, and in many case this is done via photography.  But wait, before even the very first photographers, there were painters, master painters who painted canvases, such as ... 

 
Stretcher Frames Versus Strainer Frames, What’s The Difference?

Stretcher frames and strainer frames are often used by artists, painters and embroiders.  These frames are the wooden framework which hold and support the canvases artists paint or create.  Embroiders sometimes also use these frames for their embroideries since these  can provide the durable tensions needed for sewing and pinning.  That said,  the greatest difference in Strainer Frames versus Stretcher Frames is the cost.  You can buy online a 50x75 cms (20”x30”)  stretched, primed,  ready-to-paint canvas, stapled to a strainer frame for as little as $11.49  The same size, equivalent, stretched, primed, ready-to-paint, canvas stapled to a stretcher frame, priced online,  averages around $146.  You say, wow!   Why the enormous price disparity?  They both look much the same, right?  Well, not quite, there’s more that meets the eye, especially with these type of frames. So what’s different ... 

 
How should I pack and send photo frames or picture frames?

This may seem a fairly simple task, but it’s actually a little complicated to do it right. A first consideration is the size of the picture, photo frame or picture frame to be shipped. It will be fairly obvious that a small, 4”x6” photo frame will be a lot easier to pack and ship than, for instance, an A1 framed poster.  Another way of putting it is that,  the bigger the picture frame, the more work you’ll have to do. A second one may well be,  who will ship or courier the parcel for you. You will need to keep in mind that many Couriers will not accept parcels containing picture frames, photo frames or clip frames with glass. For instance, Pack and Send excludes these as Prohibited Goods. Couriers Please also deems such parcels as having “unacceptable contents.“   Australia Post appears to be just as challenging ...  

 
Our five most popular shadow box frames questions

What are Shadow Box frames?  These frames are essentially the same as normal picture frames but with several different features.  Firstly the moulding, or frame, is much deeper at its side. For instance a normal moulding could be 4cms wide x 2cms high. With shadow box mouldings the proportions are reversed so that it would be 2cms wide x 4cms high, thus giving frames that ‘boxy’ look. As the frame is deeper, and since a window mat, glass and backing are quite thin, perhaps making up .5 cm of the 4cms the remaining 3.5cms can be used to place and hold objects. What these objects could be is only limited by one’s imagination, but basically you can put any small 3-D object with a height or thickness around 85% of the height of the moulding, as a very rough rule of thumb. Secondly there are usually removable spacers between the glass and the back ...

 
When at the framer’s, who should open up and remove prints and poster from mailing tubes?

At first glance this seems a trivial and unimportant question.  You go to your picture framer’s shop, or store, with your freshly-arrived, eBay or Amazon poster rolled up in a tube, you get it opened or unpacked, show it to the framer, and get it framed, what’s the problem?  The problem is, what happens when the framer opens up the tube, removes your print or poster, and then presents you with damaged art?  This necessarily begs the question, was the print or poster already packed in that state, or did the damage occur while it was being unpacked or removed?  This is a situation that occurred to us a few times over the years and once more, just recently. As  a result our Staff no longer affords Customers the courtesy of opening tubes, parcels but instead request that they do so themselves ...

 
What's the best way of lifting, carrying and handling picture frames?

Usually, not by lifting one by the frame as the man is doing in the photo. Unless the string, cord, wire or chain at the back is loose, frayed or damaged and unless the retaining hangers or fixings are missing or loose, picture frames and photo frames ought always be carried by whatever hanging devices they were fitted with. That's why they're there for. The danger with carrying picture frames by their frames .. especially larger frames, is that doing this might break the framing tape seal, "spring" open the backing, upset the picture frame assembly and pop out the backing board, or, heaven forbid, move the glass out of the frame. This isn't an exaggeration. We've actually seen this happen a few times over the years, causing varying degrees of customer ...

 
How do I clean the plastic glass or plexiglass of my Ready-Made picture frames?

Many of our Ready-Made frames are glazed not with clear glass but with what's known as 'plastic glass' or acrylic (clear plastic) sheeting. This is common in the picture framing industry when shipping to customers larger frames so as to minimize transit damage or breakages. The notes below should help customers wishing to know more on how to store, treat and clean this .. practical, lightweight glazing material. HEAT: Acrylic sheets tend to deform if heated up to 100C. and should be stored in ambient temperature not greater than 80C. SCRATCHING: Acrylic sheets have a relatively high surface hardness, however care should be taken to avoid surface scratches during handling. The sheets are factory-protected with masking film or paper and should not be removed until necessary. CLEANING: Acrylic sheets can be cleaned with a solution of mild soap or household...

 
Some of my picture frames look dirty, how should I clean a picture frame?

Most photo frames, poster frames, certificate frames and picture frames consist of a wooden frame and a pane of glass. The picture frame moulding (frame) is often finely finished with gold or silver foils or leaves being a few micron ( very thin) thick. Many household cleaners contain ammonia, solvents and abrasives and shouldn't be used to clean frames lest the finish .. or colour of the frame come off accidentally. Perhaps the best way to keep a picture frame clean is to gently dust it regularly to prevent the dust and dirt build up. If it really needs solid dirt removed, you can use a microfibre cloth with tepid water. The clear glass pane can be cleaned with a cloth moistened with glass cleaner or water. Do not spray directly on to the glass surface lest some liquid seep under the glass and stains or damages the artwork. Antique, gilded, gold-leaf picture frames however are in a ...

 
Help! How will I know what size photo frame or picture frame I should order?

First make sure you have your artwork (photo, print, canvas, document, etc) with you so that you can measure it. While this seems a little silly to suggest, it isn't. Many customers ring us up wanting picture framing quotes for prices. When we ask them what size their picture are many say that the don't know for sure. They say that they don't have the picture because .. they're just about to order it online or that they've just done so. It seem that customers either take it for granted or assume that the picture size they're getting online will be exactly as described or ordered. Unfortunately and, in about half the cases, the picture size the customer gets won't be the same size as ordered. Chances are then that when that 50x70cms poster that you've just ordered online comes, it mightn't be that size ...

 
I want a picture frame made up for my picture, do I have leave my print with you?

Generally, yes. We prefer you leave your picture, print, poster or photo (we call it artwork) with us. We need it to make a custom picture frame, put your artwork inside it, seal it, put the wire or cord and hand it do you. Some customers may be worried that their work is contracted out or framed elsewhere, but, with us at least, that's never been the case. All picture frames, photo frames or poster frames and all .. all picture framing is done by skilled, experienced custom picture framers in house. Other customers may be concerned about artwork loss or damage by flood, fire or accident, though in nearly 40 years of making picture frames, we've never had a claim. Still there have been a occasions where customers, for one reasons or another, have elected not to leave their artwork with us but have still wanted us to make picture frames. In these cases we simply measure ...

 
My friends are buying floater frames, what are these? Should I get one?

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 ...

 
Can I have my new prints and photos framed into some old picture frames I have?

Yes. This is of course conditional to the quality, soundness and suitability of the picture frame to be re-used. To begin with, the picture frame, or photo frames being considered for recycling should be sound, solid, free from borers or other insect infestation. Its corners should be unsprung, that is, closed tightly without gaps or rocking or rolling. If any of the .. picture frame corners do move whilst being handled than the frame is said to to be "sprung". If so, it will then have to be dismantled or disassembled and rejoined, if the structural integrity is there. If the corners are cracked or split then the picture frame might be unsalvageable. If the frame passes this test, the next step to consider is whether or not the colour, style and size will suit the intended artwork. If the frame is a black or deep brown and the intended artwork a delicate, dainty pale-coloured embroidery, then...