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7 Tips for framing paintings

The framing tips below will help you present your artwork in a way that collectors and galleries will appreciate.

Tip 1: Use Floater Frames when framing encaustic paintings

I often frame encaustic paintings in floater frames. Gallery depth panels don’t need to be framed but regular depth panels, to my mind, look better framed. Floater frames allow you to mount the artwork without glass and without touching the surface of the artwork. A floater frame leaves space between the outside of the artwork and the inside of the frame. The depth of a floater frame creates a negative space between the piece of art and the side of the frame. Floater frames protect the edge of my encaustic paintings from potential damage and look very attractive. My encaustic accretion paintings, in particular, need the added protection that a frame provides.

Tip 2: Use Masking tape to protect the sides of your panel

I suggest using masking tape on the panel edges before you start to paint. When you are ready to frame the painting, remove the tape and finish the edges ready for framing. Paint, shellac or stain the edges or alternatively, finish the edges with encaustic medium, ironing the sides smooth.

Tip 3: Use shims to position artwork in a floater frame

framing tips for paintings in floater frames

I recommend using wooden shims to evenly position the painting in the floater frame. Wedging the shims tightly between the panel edge and the floater frame will hold the painting in place. Be careful not to damage the edges of your painting or the frame finish with the shims.

Now turn the frame over and attach the painting to the frame. The shims will hold the panel tightly in place. You’re welcome. 😉

Tip 4: Use bumpers

Double check which way is the top of your painting, then put two bumpers on the bottom corners of the back of the frame. Bumpers can be made from plastic, rubber, felt, or cork. Bumpers will protect the wall from any marks and will help the painting to hang straight.

Tip 5: Use D-rings

  • Measure down from the top of the frame, the important thing here is that both sides are the exact same distance from the top. 1/3 of the size of the artwork is a good rule of thumb. If all of your paintings are wired the same, it will be easier to hang an art show.
  • Push an awl into the edge of the frame to create a starter hole
  • Screw the D-rings in.
  • When buying D-rings look for packages that have an equal number of D-rings in the pack.

Tip 6: Measuring your artwork for framing

Before ordering a frame you need to know more than just the width and length of your panel. When I first ordered floater frames for my paintings, I either ordered frames that were too deep or not deep enough.

framing dimensions from canadaoncanvas.com

This diagram helped me understand the different parts of a frame.

  • Face width: The width of the front-facing lip of the frame.
  • Height: the outside depth of the frame from the wall to the face of the frame
  • Rabbet (pronounced “rabbit”): The rabbet is depth inside the frame. This space needs to be big enough to fit the artwork. When ordering frames order based on the rabbet dimension, not the height.

Tip 7: Use plastic coated picture wire

Plastic coated steel wire is the easiest to work with—it won’t cut your fingers or leave marks on the wall.

A mess of wire on the back of a frame isn’t professional. Watch this tutorial to learn how to neatly wire it with plastic coated wire.

Buy everything you need to frame your encaustic paintings

This picture frame wire kit from Amazon includes D-rings, screws, vinyl coated picture wire, rubber bumpers with installation and wire tying instructions

Ampersand floater frames come complete with coated wire hanging hardware.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have a tip to add, please leave a comment below. You may also want to read this post about framing encaustic paintings

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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7 thoughts on “7 Tips for framing paintings”

  1. Thank you for your blog. I work on wood panels. The requirement used to be that the panel needed to be 2 inches deep for gallery requirements. It looks like the floater frame doesn’t meet this requirement. I am starting on a series and want to make sure that what I use as a substrate meets gallery requirements. If you have any info about this please let me know.
    You might be able to clear this up for me rather than having to call different galleries to see what they say. Many in my area are not “business as usual right now”

    Thanks to you

  2. Thank you! This was very helpful. One question: I saw the Ampersand panels labeled “thin” and “bold” but they looked the same and I didn’t see the rabbet depth specified.

    1. Hi Lorraine, this link will answer your questions. The thin edge has a 1/4″ face and the bold has a 3/8″face. They sell two depths 7/8″ depth models also include risers for flat panels and 3/4” deep panel.

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