Framing Suggestions

Framing Suggestions for Prints whether DIY or by a professional:

The big concept is that a frame should hold, protect and present the artwork.  So my framing suggestions have that purpose.  The frame is not the center of attention, it’s meant to play a quiet, supportive role.

Frame color:  Keep the frame light, and without much color.  If 0 is white, and 10 is black, I’d suggest a frame that’s level 3 or lighter.  A washed white (so the wood shows through if it’s wood) or a natural wood color works best.

A darker or strong color frame will visually draw a line around the movement in the artwork and decrease its impact.

Frame size:  Frames are usually described by their interior dimensions, since that’s how the mats, foamcore backing and glass are measured and cut.  Here, I’ll use the outer dimensions, since the width of the frame profile has a visual effect.

For the smaller prints:  the full size of the framed piece should be between 3” and 3½”  larger than the printed image.  The printed image is 15”x 15” centered on a 17”x 17” sheet.  So the outer size of the frame would be 21-22”.

For the larger prints:  the full size of the framed piece should be between 4” and 4½” larger than the print.  The printed image is 30”x 30”, centered on a 32”x 32” sheet.  So the outer dimensions of the frame would be 38-39”.  


Acid-free, archival and museum-quality all mean about the same thing – namely, that the mat will be all cotton rag, neutral pH and will not deteriorate the print’s paper and inks over time.

Use 2 layers of mat board – one with a window, the second as backing.

The front mat needs a window cut that’s 1”smaller than the artwork sheet (1” larger than the printed image).  That means a 16” window for the smaller prints, a 31” window for the larger.  That will allow both the signature and title to show.

The print will be mounted onto a second mat the full size of the frame interior.  The window mat will be placed over the print, with the color image centered in the window.

Acid-free foam core backing: Best for the longevity of the papers.