Secret Professional Framing Tricks Anyone Can Do

While framing pictures can be relatively easy, you’d be surprised how using the right techniques can make a big difference. The techniques break down into three categories: Selecting the right mat, choosing the right frame, and arranging your photo in the frame.


The right framing choice can elevate your artwork. Make sure to choose the color of mat and frame that will make your photo stand out. Mat board comes in many colors, textures and sizes.


Measure your item and get a piece of mat board that’s at least 1 inch wider and longer than the item you’re framing. That gives you half an inch on each side for spacing between the edge of the mat board and your item’s edges, which is standard for most framing jobs. You can then cut off any excess mat board with an X-Acto knife.


Framing pictures doesn’t have to be complicated. Professional framers have a few tricks up their sleeves that can make a huge difference in your finished project. If you’re working on framing a print, poster, photo or another item, here are some time-tested framing tips that will make your frame look better and last longer.



Simple: The frame should enhance the image, not overpower it. Avoid ornate frames with elaborate carvings or gilding.


Landscape: When framing a landscape, pick a frame that’s wider than it is tall. A square frame will also work, but if you use one, place the horizon line in the middle of the image. The same rule applies to a portrait; make sure the frame is taller than it is wide.


Composition: To add impact to your artwork, “float” it within the mat board; this means that there’s at least two inches of exposed mat board all around the image. If you prefer more of a border effect, make sure you have at least one inch of expanse between the edge of your artwork and the edge of your mat board.


Contrast: To create a polished, professional look, choose two mat colors that compliment each other and make some pictures with the neutral color, and the rest with the contrasting color. For example, if you have 6 pictures, frame 3 with a dark blue mat and the remaining 3 with a light blue mat and alternate them in succession. You would be surprised how good this looks on the wall.


Groupings: Multiple pieces of art never look better than when they’re in a group. Use identical frames to create a cohesive look and feel, or mix it up for a more eclectic look. You may really like the “gallery” look of having a group of pictures the same size in the same area. The visual impact it makes is much more than a single photo.



Use acid-free materials. Acid-free mat board (the paper around the picture) and backing ensure that your artwork won’t discolor over time. It’s especially important for photos, since acid can eat away at them and destroy them completely over time.


Make your images related: If you’re hanging multiple pieces together on a wall, make sure they have some kind of visual relationship with each other. They don’t have to match exactly, but there should be some connection between them — color palette, subject matter, or perhaps style and medium.


Framing pictures gives you a chance to highlight your best shots and to spice up an empty wall. These days, picture framing is easier than ever thanks to the many frame shops that offer services on location and online. Now you can get professional quality framing done with only a few clicks of your mouse by shopping for the perfect frame for your pictures, posters or photographs in the comfort of home!

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