Picture Frames and Picture Framing Standards

Our custom picture frames and picture framing manufacturing conforms to our own Store Picture Framing Standards tabulated below. Please note that none are, or should be construed, as being archival, conservation or museum framing.  For all help with orders, please visit our Store Help and FAQS page, or use our Contact page.

Store Picture Framing Standards

We supply and also manufacture picture frames, photo frames and other frames to the standards shown below. We do not offer archival, conservation or museum framing because the Customer requests for these highly specialised framing methods are extremely rare. This scarcity of Customer demand does not make it commercially viable for us to stock and store the expensive materials required for such specialist framing.

Framing Standard Art Type Suitability
and Protection
A3 Picture Frame
matted to A4
Cost Materials Fitting Up
DYO Framing Suitable for inexpensive, commercial or disposable art. Little protection is offered with these frames. The art will fade with time under the glass. The backing is often acidic, which may "burn" the art in time.
A3 black wood picture framematted with A4 opening
$12.49 MDF frame, imported, commercial, window mats, DYO mounting, 1.2mm glass, MDF Backing, Flexitabs, Hangers. DYO, or by the Customer
Standard
Framing
Suitable for inexpensive, commercial or disposable art.  Slightly more protection is offered with these frames. The art will still fade with time under the glass. The backing can be acid-free foamboard, instead of acidic MDF, if requested.
A3 black wood picture frame matted with A4 opening
$69.66

Real wood frame,
production window mats, art hinged or wet-mounted, 1.6mm clear float glass, 3mm MDF backing, stapled  cord.

Custom Frame,
all work done by the
Picture Framer
Acid-Free
Framing
Suitable for more valued art, sentimental, personal, or simply better quality art. Better protection is offered with these frames. Mounting is by reversible hinging.  The art will hardly fade at all because protected by 98% Ultra-Violet Protection Glass. The windows mats and backing are clean and acid-free.
A3 black wood picture framematted with A4 opening
$97.14 Real wood frame,
acid-free window mats, hinging with acid-free tape, 2mm Tru Vue Ultra-Violet glass, acid-free foamboard backing,
D-Rings, cord,  felt bump-ons.
Custom Frame,
all work done by the
Picture Framer
Abridged Picture Framing Industry Standards 

In Australia there are voluntary, or optional, picture framing standards and codes of practice but no statutory, or legally binding picture framing standards for picture framers. The nearest that we can find to codified standards are those published by the Picture Framers Guild of Australia. An abridged version is shown below, and a fuller version at the bottom of this page. The abridged version shows the art safety and costs disparities between the lowest and the highest standard. The column titled  ”Take Up Rate” is not part of the the Guild Standards. This is our own store data estimating the percentage of Customers’ adoption, or take up rate, of each standard.

Framing Standard Art Type Suitability
and Protection
A3 Picture Frame
matted to A4
Cost Materials Fitting Up Take Up Rate
Category 1 Minimum This category provides a minimum framing standard for products aimed at the low cost or temporary display market. Suited to items of no commercial or sentimental value such as posters and open edition prints, or ready made frames into which a customer may place their own items.
A3 black wood picture framematted with A4 opening
$12.49 MDF frame, imported, commercial, window mats, DYO mounting, 1.2mm glass, MDF Backing, Flexitabs, Hangers. DYO, or by the Customer 85%
Category 2
Decorator
This category provides a superior product to Category 1. Whilst cost is still a consideration, more emphasis is placed on improving the appearance of the finished product. This category is suited to items of no commercial or sentimental value such as posters, open edition prints and photographs.
A3 black wood picture framematted with A4 opening
$69.66 Wood frame,
production window mats, art is either
hinged or wet-mounted,
1.6mm clear float glass
3mm MDF backing,
stapled hanging cord. 
Custom Frame,
all work done by the
Picture Framer
15%
Category 5
Museum
This category provides a level of protection against environmental pollutants and the effects of the degradation of framing products for a period of about 35 years in normal conditions. It is suited to museum-quality works and artwork requiring preservation. This includes artwork of high monitory value and artwork of actual or potential historical value. At this level all processes relating to the art must be fully reversible and all materials must be benign. Ideally a Guild framer or conservator should examine frames every five years. It is the responsibility of the framer to recognize when artwork may require special treatment from specialists such as art conservators and to recommend to the customer appropriately
A3 black wood picture framematted with A4 opening
$284.56 All Museum rated materials,
with Ultra Violet Glass,
Stainless Steel Wire, Bumpons.
Custom Frame,
all work done by the
Picture Framer
>.01%

The ”Take Up Rate” column tabled above shows that most Customers choose to buy Ready-Made Picture Frames, some choose the more expensive Custom Picture Frames and hardly any choose the most expensive Category, that of Museum framing. We can therefore deduct that there is a huge difference between those who chose the least safe, but cheapest option, versus the safest, but most expensive option.

And since the Picture Framing Standards are all about the picture framing safety of people's art, could these this be compared to the safety standards of people travelling in cars? While at first glance this might seem an oxymoronic proposition, we believe that it is sound.

According to various industry sources and the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the safest, new car in 2019 was deemed to be the Audi S3, This sedan, depending on the model and its variants, appears to have an Australia median, retail price of $68,825.

All things being equal then, if one were to seek and choose safety above all else, he or she would seriously consider buying the Audi S3, after all, isn’t human life priceless?. Alack, while the Audi is an extremely safe, beautiful and valued marque, not everyone wants to pay $60k for a product built basically to conveyance people hither and tither.

This is particularly so when, in 2019 the average Australian Mr or Ms Jones earned a median income $48,360. Come the think of it, $68,825 is enough for a 10% deposit on a house. Ergo, the buyers wanting to spend that much money on a car could be few and far between. So what would buyers be most likely to buy?

Easy, most people want to buy a cheaper car because their money is hard to come by and they what to spend as little of it as possible. And while safety is indeed a very valuable feature, price is more, much more, important. Ergo, the Mitsubishi Mirage ES at around $12,250, while not as safe as the Audi S3, does exactly the same job at around 20% of the price.  And this is why  a whole lot more  Customers buy the Mirage ES than the Audi S3.

The nub of the question, then, is how much are Customers willing to pay for their own, or their art's safety?

When it comes to picture framing, much the same rationale and criteria may be used. With the world’s safest car in mind, the picture framing industry can also offer Customers very safe picture framing methods.

In Australia these methods are best esposed by the Guild Standards mentioned earlier. These are generally accepted as the best the industry, to date, can offer Customers. Reading and interpreting the standards is perhaps not of the uninitiated, however for those who are interested, these are shown ( errors and omissions excepted ) at the bottom of this page.

Suffice to say that the best standard , Category 5 Museum Framing, is as safe as you can get, your Audi S3 of picture framing, if you will.  Alas, the same conundrum surfaces here, as it did with the cars, ie: most people want the best but end up buying the cheapest.  Just check the ”Take Up Rate” column shown in the Abridged Picture Framing Standars shown above.

Expanded Picture Framing Standards
  Category 1 Minimum Category 2 Decorator Category 3
Quality
Category 4
Conservation
Category 5
Museum
Description This category provides a minimum framing standard for products aimed at the low cost or temporary display market. This category is suited to items of no commercial or sentimental value such as posters and open edition prints, or ready made frames into which a customer may place their own items. This category provides a superior product to Category 1. Whilst cost is still a consideration, more emphasis is placed on improving the appearance of the finished product. This category is suited to items of no commercial or sentimental value such as posters, open edition prints and photographs. This category provides a level of protection against environmental pollutants and the effects of the degradation of framing products for a period of about 5 years in normal conditions. The category is suited to items of low to moderate commercial and/or sentimental value such as posters, open edition prints, photographs and some artwork This category provides a level of protection against environmental pollutants and the effects of the degradation of framing products for a period of about 20 years in normal conditions. The category is suited to items such as collectable works of art, limited edition prints, and items of historic and/or sentimental value. At this level all processes relating to the art must be fully reversible and all materials must be benign. Ideally a Guild framer or conservator should examine frames every five years. It is the responsibility of the framer to recognize when artwork may require special treatment from specialists such as art conservators and make appropriate recommendations to the customer. This category provides a level of protection against environmental pollutants and the effects of the degradation of framing products for a period of about 35 years in normal conditions. The category is suited to museum-quality works and artwork requiring preservation. This includes artwork of high monitory value and artwork of actual or potential historical value. At this level all processes relating to the art must be fully reversible and all materials must be benign. Ideally a Guild framer or conservator should examine frames every five years. It is the responsibility of the framer to recognize when artwork may require special treatment from specialists such as art conservators and to recommend to the customer appropriately.
Frame, Slips & Fillets The frame must be free from obvious defects. Frame corners must by accurately cut glued and joined tightly to prevent movement. The frame when finished must be square and sit flat without significant twist. The frame must be free from obvious defects. Frame corners must by accurately cut, glued and joined tightly to prevent movement.  The frame when finished must be square and sit flat without twist.  Corners should be puttied or finished, to hide gaps or raw moulding showing, due to misalignment or profile differences.

The frame must be free from obvious defects. Frame corners must by accurately cut, glued and joined tightly to prevent movement of the joint. The frame when finished must be square and sit flat without twist. Extra care must be taken to ensure that the moulding profiles are accurately matched and misalignment is kept to a minimum. Corners must be puttied or finished, where necessary, to hide gaps or raw moulding showing due to minor misalignment or profile differences.

The frame must be free from obvious defects. Frame corners must by accurately cut, glued and joined tightly to prevent movement. The frame when finished must be square and sit flat without twist. Extra care must be taken to ensure that the moulding profiles are accurately matched and misalignment is kept to a minimum. Corners must be puttied or finished, where necessary, to hide gaps or raw moulding showing due to minor misalignment or profile differences. The moulding shall have a rebate that is sufficiently deep to comfortably hold all of the framing components. A rebate build up should be used to achieve sufficient depth. If artwork is likely to touch the moulding, it needs to be sealed with strips of Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board or a conservation foil and paper tape. The frame must be free from obvious defects. Frame corners must by accurately cut, glued and joined tightly to prevent movement. The frame when finished must be square and sit flat without twist. Extra care must be taken to ensure that the moulding profiles are accurately matched and misalignment is kept to a minimum. Corners need to be puttied or finished, where necessary, to hide gaps or raw moulding showing due to minor misalignment or profile differences.
The moulding shall have a rebate that is sufficiently deep to comfortably hold all of the framing components. A rebate build up should be used to achieve sufficient depth. If artwork is likely to touch the moulding, it must be sealed with strips of Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board or a conservation foil and paper tape.
Window Mats It is acceptable for items to be permanently mounted down. If items are hinged appropriate hinging materials must be used. Masking or packaging tapes are not acceptable for hinging. Window mats must be free from obvious defects and all window corners must be cut cleanly. Standard mat board is acceptable. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the frame rebate. Window mats must be free from obvious defects and all window corners must be cut cleanly. Standard mat board, at least 4 ply thick, is acceptable. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the rebate. Window mats must be free from obvious defects and all window corners must be cut cleanly. Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board, at least 4 ply thick, is acceptable. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the rebate. The window mat should where possible, overlap the edge of the artwork sufficiently and allow the artwork to expand and contract behind the window. Any pencil marks on the reverse of the window mat must be removed to prevent their transfer to the artwork. With some photographs unbuffered mat board must be used. Where original window mats need to be retained (such as gilded or decorated mats), a barrier of no less than 4 ply, Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board must be fitted to the underside of the mat board in such a manner to prevent the original mat from touching the artwork. Window mats must be free from obvious defects and all window corners must be cut cleanly. Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board, at least 4 ply thick, is acceptable. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the rebate. The window mat should where possible, overlap the edge of the artwork sufficiently and allow the artwork to expand and contract behind the window. Any pencil marks on the reverse of the window mat must be removed to prevent their transfer to the artwork. With some photographs unbuffered mat board must be used. Where original window mats need to be retained (such as gilded or decorated mats), a barrier of no less than 4 ply, Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board must be fitted to the underside of the mat board in such a manner to prevent the original mat from touching the artwork.
Attaching Artwork Window mats must be free from obvious defects and all window corners must be cut cleanly. It is acceptable for items to be permanently mounted down. If items are hinged appropriate hinging materials must be used. Masking or packaging tapes are not acceptable for hinging. The artwork should be hinged to the backing with T-hinges on the top back edge of the artwork and over-lapping sufficiently to adequately support the artwork. Preferably mulberry paper and starch paste or gummed paper tape should be used however other tapes are acceptable provided they have been developed specifically for art hinging. Mulberry paper and starch paste should be used for hinging artwork on tissue or similar paper. Masking tape or packaging tapes are not acceptable for hinging. In selecting a suitable hinging material the hinge must be weaker than the artwork to which it is attached. Artwork must be properly centred. The artwork should be hinged to the backing with T-hinges on the top back edge of the artwork and over-lapping sufficiently to adequately support the artwork. Preferably mulberry paper and starch paste or gummed paper tape should be used however other tapes are acceptable provided they have been developed specifically for art hinging. Mulberry paper and starch paste should be used for hinging artwork on tissue or similar paper. Masking tape or packaging tapes are not acceptable for hinging. In selecting a suitable hinging material the hinge must be weaker than the artwork to which it is attached. Artwork must be properly centred. The artwork must be hinged to the under mount with T-hinges on the top back edge of the artwork and over-lapping sufficiently to adequately support the artwork. Mulberry paper and starch paste, gummed paper tape or museum paper tape must be used. Japanese tissue paper and starch glue should be used for hinging artwork on tissue or similar paper. Masking tape or packaging tapes are not acceptable for hinging. In selecting a suitable hinging material the hinge must be weaker than the artwork to which it is attached. Artwork must be properly centred. Any corner pockets can be made from lignin free, pH neutral paper and attached using adhesive made from starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methylcellulose)
Permanent Mounting It is acceptable for items to be permanently mounted down It is acceptable for items to be permanently mounted down. At this level permanent mounting (wet or dry) is acceptable providing that customers understand that the process in generally irreversible. Permanent mounting directly to the backing board is acceptable. Regardless of the attaching method artwork must be properly centred Not Applicable. Not Applicable.
Under Mount Not Applicable Not Applicable. Not Applicable. The under mount is a barrier layer inserted between the back of the artwork and the backing board. The under mount must be made of at least 4 ply Conservation mat board or Cotton Museum mat board. With some photographs unbuffered mat board must to be used. The under mount must be the same size as the mat board and book-bound to it using conservation tape with a water-soluble adhesive. At this level the under mount may be deleted provided the backing board is made from Acid Free Foam Core Board. The under mount is a barrier layer inserted between the back of the artwork and the backing board. The under mount must be made of at least 4 ply Cotton Museum mat board. For photographs unbuffered Cotton Museum mat board needs to be used. The under mount must be the same size as the mat board and hinged to it using a museum-quality paper or fabric with either starch paste or SCMC (sodium carboxy methyl cellulose).
Glazing Float glass or acrylic sheet is acceptable. Minor defects are acceptable. The glazing must be sized to give sufficient clearance inside the frame rebate. It is acceptable for the framed item to come in contact with the glazing.

Float glass or acrylic sheet is acceptable. Minor defects are acceptable. The glazing must be sized to give sufficient clearance inside the frame rebate. A 2mm clearance is generally deemed acceptable. It is acceptable for the framed item to come in contact with the glazing, except in the case of photographs which must be spaced away from the glazing.

.
Float glass or acrylic sheet is acceptable. Minor defects are acceptable. The glazing must be sized to give sufficient clearance inside the frame rebate. A 2mm clearance is generally deemed acceptable. It is not acceptable for the framed item to come into contact with the glazing Float glass or acrylic sheet providing UV protection and free from obvious defects must be used. The UV protection must prevent at least 95% of all UV rays penetrating the glass. The glazing must be sized to give sufficient clearance inside the frame rebate. A 2mm clearance is generally deemed acceptable. It is not acceptable for the glazing to touch the artwork. Glass must be cleaned using either ammonia free glass cleaner or mixture of demineralized water and methylated spirit. Float glass or acrylic sheet providing UV protection and free from obvious defects must be used. The UV protection must prevent at least 95% of all UV rays penetrating the glass. The glazing must be sized to give sufficient clearance inside the frame rebate. A 2mm clearance is generally deemed acceptable. It is not acceptable for the glazing to touch the artwork. Glass must be cleaned using either ammonia free glass cleaner or a mixture of demineralized water and methylated spirit.
Backing Board MDF board, foam core board and cardboard are acceptable. MDF board, foam core board and cardboard are acceptable.. Backing boards may be made from regular or Acid Free Foam Core Board. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the frame. The use of MDF board is not acceptable Backing boards may be made from Acid Free Foam Core Board or Conservation grade matboard of at least 6 ply thickness. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the frame. The use of MDF board is not acceptable. Backing boards may be made from Acid Free Foam Core Board or Conservation grade matboard of at least 6 ply thickness. There must be clearance of 1 to 2mm inside the frame. The use of MDF board is not acceptable.
Fitting Up Dust and dirt should be removed prior to assembly. Flexible tabs, framing points or other mechanical device that allows for removal of the backing board may be fitted. Hanging fittings must be strong enough to support the weight of the frame. Dust and dirt must be removed prior to assembly and the glass cleaned to remove smears. Framed components may be held into the frame using flexible tabs or framing points. Sealing the back of the frame is not mandatory at this level, however, when a seal is provided masking or packaging tapes are unacceptable. Hanging fittings must be sufficiently strong to support the weight of the frame. Dust and dirt must be removed prior to assembly and the glass cleaned to remove smears. Framed components may be held into the frame using flexible tabs or framing points.  The back must be sealed with self-adhesive framing tape and burnished firmly to ensure a permanent seal. Masking tape and packaging tape are not acceptable. ‘Bump Ons’ must be supplied or fitted to the back of the frame where it is likely to come into contact with the wall.  A label giving the date and the name of the framer must be adhered to the back. Old labels must be refitted to the back where possible. Hanging fittings must be sufficiently strong to support the weight of the frame. The use of staples to secure cord to the frame is not acceptable. Where mat boards are not required the artwork must be held off the glass by using appropriate spacer material such as plastic or acrylic spacer, or mat board strips. When framing art with medium that is likely to shed, e.g. pastels, a 4 or 6 ply mat board spacer must be positioned between the mat and the artwork.

Dust and dirt must be removed prior to assembly and the glass cleaned and polished to remove marks. Framed components may be held into the frame using framing points. The back must be sealed with self-adhesive framing tape and burnished firmly to ensure a permanent seal. Masking tape and packaging tape are not acceptable. ‘Bump Ons’ must be supplied or fitted to the back of the frame where it is likely to come into contact with the wall. A label giving the date and the name of the framer must be adhered to the back. Old labels should be refitted to the back where possible. Hanging fittings must be sufficiently strong to support the weight of the frame. The use of staples to secure cord to the frame is not acceptable. Where mat boards are not required the artwork must be held off the glass by using appropriate spacer material such as plastic or acrylic spacer, or mat board strips. When framing art with medium that is likely to shed, e.g. pastels, a 4 or 6 ply mat board spacer must be positioned between the mat board and the artwork.

Dust and dirt must be removed prior to assembly and the glass cleaned and polished to remove marks. Framed components may be held into the frame using framing points. The back must be sealed with self-adhesive framing tape and burnished firmly to ensure a permanent seal. Masking tape and packaging tape are not acceptable. ‘Bump Ons’ must be supplied or fitted to the back of the frame where it is likely to come into contact with the wall. A label giving the date and the name of the framer must be adhered to the back. Old labels should be refitted to the back where possible. Hanging fittings must be sufficiently strong to support the weight of the frame. The use of staples to secure cord to the frame is not acceptable. Where mat boards are not required the artwork must be held off the glass by using appropriate spacer material such as plastic or acrylic spacer, or mat board strips. When framing art with medium that is likely to shed, e.g. pastels, a 4 or 6 ply mat board spacer must be positioned between the mat board and the artwork.