There’s something special about buying your first piece of wall art - the anticipation when you receive it and the transformation when hung can completely change the mood and feel of a room.
Artwork can do a lot to not only improve the interior of your home, but it can help to alter the mood and compliment other elements of the home such as furniture, home accessories, décor and interior design features.
One thing we get asked about most is how to choose the right frame for your new print artwork (or any artwork on paper). Framing can do amazing things in not only highlighting and showing off the aesthetics your new artwork, but it also provides protection that it needs against unwanted damage from sunlight and humidity.
Read on for our key tips from industry experts to take into consideration when framing your new print artwork, and how to choose the right framing elements to not only showcase your artwork the best, but also protect it for years to come.
Framing - Easy Frame Options
There are two main framing options at Giclée Studios – the first is for globally universal print size options (which are A4, A3, A2 and A1 sized prints), which we refer to as 'Easy Frame' options. The great thing about these sizes is that you are able to quickly and cheaply choose a readily available frame that is guaranteed to fit your standard sized print, no matter where you live as the sizing is globally recognised.
Many online retailers sell ready-made frames (retailers such as Country Road, Ikea, Kmart, Big W, Target, Spotlight etc) and can be acquired relatively quickly and cheaply – just keep in mind the price you pay for these will generally dictate the quality, so make sure you do some research when choosing where to buy your ready-made frame from.
When you purchase your Easy Frame sized print from Giclée Studios (print sizes A4 up to A1), this will arrive in a mailing tube and carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue.
We recommend ensuring your hands are clean and dry (as dirt and oil from your hands can mark and damage the paper), carefully removing the print from the tube but keeping it in its bubble and tissue. Lay the print flat on an even surface, under a slightly weighted object, such as a couple of books. This doesn’t need to be too heavy as you don’t want to damage or dent the paper, you just want the print to gently relax.
Leave it there to flatten out for 24 – 48 hours. When you’re ready to frame, again with clean and dry hands, simply remove the backing from your store-bought frame, carefully remove the bubble wrap and tissue paper and slip the print in through the back of the frame. Close up the back of the frame securely and your print should be framed up! Often store-bought frames might come with a white border overlay, it is up to personal preference and whether the print you’ve bought has a border or not if you want to keep this in the frame.
From there this can be hung up on the wall, or alternatively this can look equally as striking leant against a wall on a table, desk or mantle.
Framing – Custom Framing Options
The second framing option is to have your print custom framed, this is the best way to showcase your print and ensure the integrity and protection of your print over time. This is generally a more expensive option for framing and we do recommend you research framers in your area and get estimated costings to understand pricing prior to purchasing a custom sized print (these include any sizes outside of the A4 – A1 sizing in landscape or portrait orientations).
Some important factors to remember when going for a custom frame, when you receive your print, we strongly recommend not opening your mailing tube when you receive it so as not to damage or mark your print. This is to avoid natural oils on the skin deteriorating the archival cotton rag or unwanted creases while unrolling the print, so for these reasons we suggest leaving this to a professional framer to un-pack prior to framing. Your framer can show you the print at their workshop or studio which will also help when choosing frame colour options and styles.
Not all framing is equal! When obtaining quotes for framing it is important to understand you pay for what you are getting – this goes for materials as well as the quality of the workmanship as custom framing is usually done by hand. Below are some of the different components that will affect the price and quality of your newly framed Giclée Studios print.
Dry mounting is the process used to adhere prints or artwork to a rigid backing (substrate) before they can be framed, this helps keep your print flat and straight and stop your print from bending or buckling over time in heat or humidity. Choosing the right substrate to mount your new print on will influence how long your print will remain looking its best. The more rigid the substrate, the better your print will cope with any movement, temperature or humidity fluctuations.
Dibond (Aluminium Composite Panel)
The gold standard for dry mounting, Dibond® or commonly known as Aluminium Composite Panel (ACP) combines two 0.3 mm aluminium surface layers that sandwich a polyethylene core. This premium option is the choice of professional photographers and museums. Generally, the most expensive, however offers the most stability and durability over a long period of time.
KAPA®mount (Aluminium Lined Foamed Core Board)
A very close second yet slightly more cost effective is KAPA®mount, an aluminium lined foam core board that has excellent warp resistance when compared to standard paper lined foam core. Used by professional artists and photographers and is considered as exhibition grade framing around the word, the aluminium lining will ensure your print stays flat for many years to come.
Foam Core Board
Foam core is the cheapest and the most common option suggested by cheap framers. We recommend avoiding foam core for any prints larger than 60cm x 80cm as prints larger than this are more likely to warp over time. Foam core is a great option for smaller prints.
Tru Vue® Glass
The best option when selecting glass for your frame, Tru Vue® manufactures a non-reflective glass that will allow your print to be seen from all angles in all light conditions without interference or glare. Used by premium framers and museums, we highly recommend investing in Tru Vue® glass when selecting glazing for your frame.
Standard glass is the cheapest option and will generally be 3mm thick. This is a suitable option for cheaper framing and in the right light conditions will allow your print to be seen perfectly from most angles.
Arylic offers a similar optic to standard glass, however it is actually the most expensive. The advantage of acrylic is that it is easily transported as it won’t break and damage your print. The disadvantage of acrylic is that it can show some slight signs of warping on certain angles when used for prints over 60cm x 80cm in size.
FRAME DESIGN (AND COLOUR)
Frame colour is always personal and depends on the surrounding space where your print will be hung. We’re happy to offer our thoughts on which frame colours would suit each print, but when looking at your space we recommend matching the frame with similar or neutral colours to the colours in your space.
There are 2 main types of moulding (main frame profile) - Custom or Stock Moulding. Premium framers generally make their own moulding that sets them apart, when doing this they have complete control of the quality, finish and colour of the frame. Most quality framers will hand paint and stain their timber to get the perfect finish to suit your needs.
Stock moulding profiles are often much cheaper and generally a very smooth or artificial timber look with cheaper look and feel to them. In some cases this is perfect for the look you are looking for, that’s fine but be aware that these types of frames may not last as well over time, especially if they are at a larger size.
SPACER VS. GLASS MOUNTED
We strongly, strongly recommend getting a frame that includes spacer. A spacer is a thin strip that sits between the glass of your frame and the dry mounted print, it gives the print some breathing room so it’s not pressed up against the glass and can help to protect it over time.
Cheap framing quotes will most likely not have a spacer included, this method is called Glass mounted. It’s much faster, easier and cheaper for framers to use this method and we recommend avoiding this where possible and insisting with your framer that they use spacers between the glass and print. If they can’t do it, we suggest finding another framer.
When asked what colour spacer you would like, this is our rule of thumb;
Prints with a White Border – We recommend choosing a white spacer.
Full Bleed Prints (that is prints that have no border, the print goes right to the edge of the paper) – We recommend matching the spacer colour to the colour of the frame.
And that is everything you need to know to get your new print framed and ready to hang in its new home!
Regardless of how you frame your art, always make sure you are using archival-quality materials; that means looking for acid-free backings, papers, and mats, which will keep the delicate paper from aging too quickly. Art on paper (whether a print, photograph, drawing etc), should always be hung out of direct sunlight (as this can break down the paper and bleach the ink pigments), and away from moisture (which can cause unwanted mildew or mold or even make the art stick to the frame or glass itself, causing irreparable damage).
If you need more advice or some recommendations for a local framer in your area, simply contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or through or contact form, we’re more than happy to help you find the right framer for you.
We're also pleased to be able to offer as a free service to you, custom interior wall mock-ups for all of our Giclée Studios prints, to help you to gain a visual of what different print designs and sizes could look like on your chosen wall.
We always love seeing our prints in their new homes, so please tag us on social media or email us a photo of your print once it’s framed. We would love to see it and share it with our followers!