Custom framing is an option for any Portfolio image. Learn about standard framing materials and my suggestions for helping you decide how to frame your print, drawing, or painting.

Archival framing
Framing can be done from a less expensive to very expensive method for the piece intended. The most expensive way to frame paper-based artwork (prints, watercolors, giclee images, drawings) is “archival” framing. For this method, the paper image is touched on both sides by archival materials — usually matboard that is both acid-free and lignin-free. To be 100% archival, the image is then never touched by anything other than that archival matboard or mounting board. Frames and glass, either clear or non-glare, can then be chosen to fit the feeling or mood of the image. The matboard chosen for archival framing is usually in color spectrums of white to light grays, antique whites to cream, and light tans to black. The myriad of colors one sees on common, less expensvie matted artwork is usually not 100% archival.

Non-conservation framing
Non-conservation framing is a much less expensive method which gives the same outside frame selections, but many more matboard color choices.

Mat and frame combinations
The actual frame that surrounds the mat and art piece can be chosen from many different frame materials. My personal recommendation includes a fairly wide mat (usually 3″ to 4″ wide on each side of the print), followed by a thin frame. I use metal section frames that come in many different finish colors including gold, silver, pewter, and stainless, plus black and white…and almost every color of the rainbow.

Thin, flat maple wood frames are another neutral option that can attractively accompany almost any art piece. Remember, the idea is to let the art image be the focal point — not the frame and/or mat.

In all options considered it’s good to remember that we are framing for the best artwork presentation, not to match the carpet pattern, wall color, or sofa fabric. In most cases, the framed art piece is going to last far longer than the couch, carpet, or paint colors of a specific room.

Glass and shipping
It is expensive to ship ready-to-hang artwork from the printmaker’s studio. Glass must be specially handled to prevent breakage when shipping, and some shippers will not guarantee a no-breakage policy. It is far preferable to be able to pick up or deliver a finished piece than rely upon safe shipping to get your finished piece home.

How do I decide what materials to use with my art?
It is very hard to communicate the myriad choices and ideas available for matting and framing, which is why it’s ideal to discuss a specific project in person. What one person registers as a particular color is subjective. Only when framing samples are in front of us does it become easy to choose likes and discuss possibilities based on actual color swatches.

For the customer, it is typically challenging to visualize what the final framed piece will look like. As an artist, I am constantly framing my own art for shows and exhibits and therefore have an easy familiarity with what works together best to show off a particular artwork.

My typical mat-frame-glass formula often features the following:

  • A light or neutral mat (white, antique white, or soft gray).
  • A thin frame. If using a metal frame — gold, silver, pewter, stainless, white, or black color. If using a wood frame — light maple wood.
  • Clear, single-strength glass. I choose clear glass, despite some reflection from bright light, because there is no distortion of the image to the viewer. While there are various glass products available on the market that cut down on UV light reaching the art piece, they are very expensive.

For customers who live near Duluth, Minnesota and don’t require their artwork be shipped
I offer a typical mat-frame-glass formula of custom framing as described in the above bullet points. Almost every piece of artwork seen on this website has been framed and/or shown at a gallery exhibit—and I have a framing studio adjacent to my art studio. During a consultation, we’ll look at various samples and I’ll guide you through your decision. You can order your frames directly, incurring no hidden costs, using my supplier, www.pictureframes.com. Once in hand, I’ll mat and frame your art as we discussed and when finished, have it available for your pickup.

For customers who require their artwork be shipped
It is easy and inexpensive to ship an unframed print, drawing or painting. It is complex and expensive to ship a finished, framed, glassed, ready-to-hang piece of art. Therefore, for the best final presentation to the discerning art buyer, I recommend taking your purchased “raw” artwork to your local, high-quality framing vendor. If it’s helpful, I will recommend my thoughts on the best materials for a particular piece of art before you take the piece in for custom framing. Then while at your local shop, you can view the many color and material options available.