A Complete DIY Guide On How To Frame A Print

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Framing art prints, paintings, and pictures instantly breathes new life into a room. It allows you to personalize a wall and design a creative theme to improve the ambiance of any space.

In this comprehensive guide, we go over the process of mounting and framing a print step-by-step. We also provide some money-saving tips and fun ideas on how you can creatively display art pieces after you frame them. Read on to learn everything you need to know for this DIY project!

Why You Should Frame Your Prints

Framing is a lovely way to display art prints that are meaningful to you. A wall or a small space dedicated to your art prints not only enhances your living space but helps you preserve the art. When you keep your favorite poster or painting in storage, there’s a risk of dust accumulating on them or moisture damaging the print. Having them framed and displayed is safer since you can clean photos regularly to maintain their condition.

framing

How To Choose The Perfect Frame

Choosing the perfect frame might seem challenging, but there are some simple guidelines you can use to help you pick the best one. Here are some tips on what to consider before settling on a frame!

  • Think about the print. Each art print is unique, so the frame you choose should complement its colors, style, and texture.
  • Thin frames work best for small types of artwork, while thick frames suit large pieces of artwork. In addition, the frame width and length will depend on whether you want to add mats around the center of the prints or not.
  • Think about the space or wall where you’ll be placing the framed artwork. The style of the room, surrounding furniture, and existing art on the wall should be cohesive. Consider starting with a theme to guide your vision for the finished wall.
  • You can get a frame in wood, metal, ceramic, plastic, or crystal, so experiment with different types of material. For example, if you’re going for a minimalistic style, a white wood frame would help a black-and-white photo blend in nicely with a white wall.
how to frame a print

What You'll Need: Materials To Frame Your Print

Before you start your DIY project, it’s important to have everything you need first. Create a checklist of the right supplies to get things rolling. This includes:

  • Custom or store-bought frame 
  • Mat board
  • Frame glazing (glass or acrylic) 
  • Picture wire
  • Two D-ring hangers
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • X-acto knife or box cutter
  • Adhesive (mounting tape, double-sided tape, or picture corners)
  • Staple gun
  • Microfiber cloth & glass cleaner
  • Lint brush
  • Mat (optional)

If you’ll be using mounting adhesive tape, you’ll also need a rubber roller to get rid of any air bubbles as you mount your art print onto the mat board.

Why You Should Use Acid-Free Materials

The acid that is naturally present in framing and mounting equipment causes prints to develop yellowing over time. Why? Because non-acid-free materials contain lignin – a naturally occurring chemical from plant-based products. Lignin secretes acid gradually, leaving you with a faded or yellowed image. So if you want to make sure your art print lasts, it’s crucial to use an acid-free board, mat, frame, and adhesive.

DIY Steps: How To Frame A Print

Once you have all your materials ready, it’s time to get to work! Follow these steps to mount and frame your art print like a pro.

Step 1: Measure The Width & Length Of The Print

Prints come in many different sizes, so a standard size frame won’t cut it for every print. Take your tape measure or ruler to measure its length and width. The dimensions should fit the board and frame perfectly. However, if you plan on including matting, leave about two to four inches of allowance for the frame width and length.

measure your frame

Step 2: Mount The Print Onto The Mat Board

If you’re using photo corners, place your art print on the board and attach these to its corners. For double-sided tape, stick this onto the board and place the print over it.

If you’re using mounting adhesive tape, it would be helpful to have an extra set of hands. First, stick the adhesive tape onto the mat board. Next, gently peel a corner of the adhesive to expose the sticky side – you can use a ruler to tear off about one inch of the tape more easily. Then, carefully align the print to the exposed sticky part of the board. Firmly press down to stick it in place, and then begin to peel off around 2 inches of the tape at a time while using your rubber roller to release any trapped air bubbles.

Once the print is mounted, check the edge of each side for overhang. Trim the parts that may be sticking out with your knife or cutter.

Tip: If you’re mounting a particularly significant artwork, spray three coats of desert varnish on the photo and let it dry before sticking it onto the board. Desert varnish protects artwork from UV rays and acts as a protective layer.

Step 3: Prepare & Center The Mat Over The Mounted Print (Optional)

While some people skip this step, matting can add a sophisticated look to an art piece. We recommend using a pre-cut mat that is 1 to 1.5 inches all around (a pre-cut mat comes in standard size dimensions). We advise buying mats that aren’t too thin so that they don’t bend around the edges when placed over a print. Once you have the mat ready, put double-sided tape on the frame backing and center the mat over the picture or print.

Alternatively, you can use your x-acto knife to make a mat yourself – just make sure to measure the dimensions evenly with a ruler.

Step 4: Lay The Glazing On The Frame

Thoroughly clean the glazing with a glass cleaner and microfiber towel to remove any dust. Check the edges for smudges, and avoid touching the glass with your fingers. We recommend using gloves to make this process easier. After, gently dust your mounted print with a lint brush and place it onto the frame.

Step 5: Attach Staples, Hooks, & Picture Wire

Staple the back of the frame to secure the picture. Next, attach two D-ring hangers on the sides of your frame about six inches below the upper part of your frame. Insert the picture wire into the holes of your rings and tie a knot on each side. The wire should have some slack so that you can easily hang it later on.

staple your frame

Step 6: Put Your Framed Art Pieces On Display

And just like that, you’ve successfully framed your print, and you can finally hang it! Express your creativity and display your frames in an attention-grabbing spot like a personal gallery wall. You could also hang them over your desk or repurpose a bookshelf into a frame gallery.

More Creative Ideas & Tips To Frame Your Print

To help you create the best display for your prints, we put together a few tips and ideas that may come in handy for your DIY frame project!

Create A Mock Frame Layout

Can’t figure out the best layout for your frames? Cut out some scratch paper with the same frame length and width for each piece, then tape them onto the wall to help you envision the final layout.

Paint Old Frames

Here’s a quick money-saving hack: paint old frames to make them look good as new! Remove the old paint with fine sandpaper, and use a spray can or paintbrush to add a new beautiful rich color.

paint your frame

Add A Border To The Print Before Mounting

Nobody wants fingerprint marks on their prints. Add a 2-inch white border to every art print, so that you can freely touch the edge of these when you mount it.

Mix Different Frame Sizes

While some people prefer to use the exact size frame for all their prints, mixing frame sizes can make a wall look more playful and inviting.

Choose A Unique Mat Color

Typically, an off-white mat is the standard color used for any print. But while the classic look is timeless, a bold color can embellish an art piece to make it stand out. For example, you can pair a black frame with a turquoise mat to add a pop of color to a black-and-white print.

Use Glazing With UV Protection

Make your prints last a lifetime by using glass or acrylic glazing with UV protection. Light can damage the colors of an art print over time, so a UV frame glass is your best bet in preventing this from happening.

Try A Floating Frame

A floating frame is a chic style for modern prints – it gives off a 3D look since the art print doesn’t touch the edges of the frame. You’ll still need picture wire, rings, and a board to create this, but you won’t need any glazing.

Visit Your Local Distributor

There’s no need to break the bank to get your hands on the best frames! Instead of visiting your local framer or bookstore, find out who the local frame distributor in your area is. When you buy directly from the distributor, you get the best price for the same quality – ideal for people on a budget who plan on buying a lot of frames.

Start Framing Your Prints Today

After learning about the ins and outs of framing, there’s no reason to leave your walls plain and boring anymore. Start hanging your favorite pieces of art up, and experience how vibrant the room will feel after! 

And if you’re looking to add the nostalgic warmth of old photos, have them restored at Image Restoration Center. Displaying restored photos is one of the easiest ways to personalize your home and remind you of your most treasured memories every day.

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