Cathleen Lengyel > Scribbles > Artist Help > Basics > Framing Your Work

Framing Your Work

Today I want to talk about something artists eventually need to do, frame their artwork. As a new artist you may not have given much thought to getting your work framed.   Then one day you create a piece that you love and decide to frame it.  What do you do?  Professional framing may not be an option for a new artist as the expense can be quite extensive.   It’s tempting to run to the store and pick out a nice frame.  However, you need to be careful, there’s more to framing your work than the look of the frame.   There is nothing wrong with choosing an inexpensive frame.  I have found several very inexpensive frame options at a local store.  The frames look beautiful and only cost $5!  The frames are 14 x 17 inches and easily hold an 8 x 10 piece of artwork that is matted.  I was thrilled to find them.  I had been searching for inexpensive frames so that I could get my pastel work behind glass to protect them.
Framed colored pencil piece.
The important thing about framing your work is to be sure when you mat it, you are using ph neutral or archival mats.  If you’re going to frame your artwork I feel quality mats and backing boards are where you need to invest your money.  After all, your artwork should never touch the frame or glass, only the mat and backing board. Here is a helpful video about how to mat your artwork:     ..

Personal vs Competitive / Professional Use

Framing your work in an inexpensive frame is fine when it’s for your own personal use.  When it comes to displaying your work publicly or entering a competition it’s a whole different ballgame! Most inexpensive frames have either a sawtooth hanger or possibly a metal loop hanger on the back.  While it’s fine for light weight artwork that you’re going to hang on your wall at home, it’s not fine for galleries, professional displays or competitions. You will discover quickly that you will be required to have wire and screw eyes (or D-rings) on the back of the frame for hanging.  Unfortunately the inexpensive frames are generally made of plastic (or similar substance) which makes using screw eyes and D-rings impossible!    What can you do?  You can still frame your work yourself, although it will be a bit more expense. Your best best is to find wooden frames.  You can find some relatively inexpensive wooden frame which you can attach the proper hanging hardware.  
Be sure to check the guidelines/requirements for the competition or place you plan to display.  Some may specifically require screw eyes as opposed to d-rings.
Here is a very helpful article about framing your own work:  Picture Framing Tips: What’s the Right Hardware for Your Frame? .. .. Framing your work for display may involve a bit more cost, but in the end it will the protection it provides is worth it! Until next time, Keep Creating!
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