Top 8 Picture Framing Problems — Solved

Trying to pick the perfect framing project can be a bit overwhelming; you want it to look good of course, but you also want it to last. The biggest problems are knowing where to start and what to do if your project needs an emergency fix. No matter if you’re doing custom or DIY frames, this article will help you solve Thornhill’s top eight problems for many sorts of framed artwork and photographs.


None of us knows what to do with our custom artwork. These picture framing ideas outline some of the common problems people have and how to solve them:


  • The frames are always crooked


Fixing a crooked picture frame is simple! Just make sure to use two nails, in two different corners of the frame. Wall bumpers are the solution to keeping your artwork where it belongs. They keep the frame from sliding around once you’ve nailed it on the wall, so there’s no need to hammer it all the way in.


  • The print slides around inside the frame


If you’ve never been taught otherwise, you may have simply sandwiched your print between the backing board and mat board and then placed it in the frame, believing that closing the frame would keep everything in place. However, that is often not enough to ensure that the print stays put.


Mounting a print to the backing board is what keeps everything together. There are many mounting options that range from the basic to the advanced.


  • The glass feels a little loose inside the frame


You may find that your picture has shifted a little in the frame, as the rabbet is too loose and the glass doesn’t stay put as well when the picture is moved.To properly frame a print, you’ll need backing board, the print, and mat board (if used). If the rabbet is too big for your print, picture frame spacers – thin pieces of plastic used to keep your prints from touching the glass – can be used to keep your print in place.


  • The Mat board has smudges


To avoid smudges and dirt on your work, wear cotton gloves while working. Wash your hands before handling mat boards and other materials. Use pencil erasers or erasers meant for use on blackboards; household erasers can damage the matte board. These picture framing ideas come from other users who share the same problem.


  • The frame is leaning away from the wall


The cure: Make sure your hardware is secure, then hang with a wire if possible. You can also use a nail or screw with an anchor if necessary, but remember to use the appropriate size nail or screw for the weight of your frame.


Here is another picture framing idea. Some frames have hardware that rotates when you turn the screw. Turning the screw clockwise will push it against the wall; counterclockwise loosens it.


  • Choosing the right size frame


If you’re buying a custom frame, you can just match the size of the frame to the size of your artwork. This is easy for canvas paintings but not so easy for photographs or other paper artworks. For those pieces, you need to determine how much matting you want around your photo before you decide on a frame size.


  1. I see dust inside the frame


The inside of a frame is often overlooked. Most framers do a great job of preparing the back of a frame for hanging, but with all that wood glue and paper dust floating around, it’s easy for particles to get trapped on the front of the glass or in the sealed space between the mat and the glass. Fortunately, it’s easy to solve this problem. First, take an air compressor or can of compressed air and blow out any dust that might be trapped between your mat and your glass (you don’t want to put a razor blade anywhere near your expensive art). Then take a piece of glass cleaner and some paper towels and clean both sides of your glass thoroughly. You’ll be surprised at what gets trapped there!


  • What is the right way to hang a picture frame?


The right way to hang a picture frame isn’t always obvious. Some frames have metal or plastic loops on the back where you can hook the wire or plastic cord that holds the frame to the mounting hardware. Others just have little pegs that fit into keyhole-shaped slots in the frame — this is common with light, inexpensive frames.


Some frames are hung with sawtooth hangers, which are metal triangles attached to screws at the top and bottom center. The screw points pierce through holes in the mounting hardware, so you need to be careful not to over-tighten these screws. When you tighten them too much, they’ll deform the screw holes, making it hard to remove them later without damaging your artwork. Follow your framing idea, and write down the results for next time.


Other types of frames may use D-rings and screws or clip-on hangers that wrap around the sides of your artwork’s mounting backing.


Picture framing is a specialized skill, just like any other craft. If it’s not done properly, the results can be disastrous. It’s important to know the warning signs of a bad frame job so that you can avoid them on your next project. We hope these picture framing ideas will help solve a lot of these problems for you.

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