While we’ve covered everything you need to know about picture frames before you place an order, what about once you receive your frame and now have to add your art to it? Adding art to frames might seem like a daunting task, but it’s actually quite simple!
Here we’re going to share all about how to add art to frames, as well as all the necessary tools and components you’ll need. We’ll cover the basics of framing common items (photos, posters, etc.) and give a few tips for more unique projects.
Important note: If you upload a digital file to us for printing and framing, your frame will arrive ready to hang and you will not need to worry about how to add the art to the frame — it will already be done for you! But, for art you already have in-hand, the following information will be helpful so you can easily add it to the frame you receive.
It’s always a good idea to start with the basics, and that’s understanding the various components you’ll be working with before adding art to frames.
The frame itself is what showcases your work. While shape and color of your frame style shouldn’t make much of a difference from an assembly standpoint, the material it’s made from (as well as its construction) will — for example, wood frames and metal frames are made a little differently, thus each have different assembly requirements.
No, we didn’t misspell the name of everyone’s favorite woodland critter; a rabbet is the channel on the internal portion of the frame that everything (your art, backing, and cover) fits into. Call it your artwork’s own little burrow. 😉
The thicker a frame’s rabbet, the more space it can accommodate.
Shadow box frames usually have massive rabbets, as they allow for 3D objects and other thicker art. Frames for thinner pieces, however, have smaller rabbets.
It’s important to remember, however, that this depth must also include your backing, cover, and any matting.
This is why our Metal frames have room for artwork up to 1/4″ thick. This includes cover, backing, and matting, so if your frame has a single mat the artwork shouldn’t exceed 3/16″ thick and if it is double-matted the artwork shouldn’t exceed 1/8″ thick. (The spring clips that hold your art into the frame will adjust perfectly as long as your art doesn’t exceed this thickness.)
Our Wood frames have room for artwork up to 1/8″ thick if they have no mats or one mat, and up to 1/16″ if they have two mats.
The following items are what keep your art snug in its frame:
For a more in-depth look, check out our complete frame hardware guide.
Our backing is an acid-free foamcore. It is 3/16″ thick and is included with all our frames; it preserves your art, and it is also lightweight. It goes behind your artwork and cover when you slide everything into the frame.
Our covers are made of acrylic, and are available in either a clear or non-glare finish. This is industry standard with online custom framing sites, as glass is heavier, more expensive to ship, and can shatter easily.
Our acrylic is 1/16″ thick, and it blocks some amount of UV light.
Matboards are optional, but they add a decorative aesthetic to framed art. They can accent or complement a certain color in your artwork that you want more noticeable. Getting artwork into frames that have matboards involves some extra steps, but it’s still easy!
Our matboards are 1/16″ thick, and you can choose either single or double matting.
(P.S. For more in-depth resources on choosing and ordering matboards, check out our matting specific posts in the Learning Center.)
In order to get your art into a frame, there are a few key items that are necessary to have on hand before you get started.
This might seem a bit obvious, but you’ll need your art in order to, well, add it to a frame. We’ll cover different types of art in more detail in a bit, but for now, this is just an explicit reminder. 🙂
While we know a frame will be necessary for adding art to it, the key here is a properly sized frame. Custom framing often offers things standard “off the shelf” frames do not so be sure that whichever frame you choose, it’s the proper size for what look you’re trying to achieve.
For most projects, you’ll need a frame cut to fit the exact “Width” and “Height” of your art. Here at Frame It Easy, we make this, well, easy by just having you enter your “Art Size” in our frame designer. (We take care of the rest of the math!)
In addition to the necessary hardware for holding your art in the frame, you’ll also need a few things to hang your frame on the wall. Among these items are the following:
All of these items come included with your frame from Frame It Easy.
While we provide all the necessary hardware to get your frame up on the wall, Framer’s Tape is one additional component you might want to consider purchasing from our frame accessories page.
Framer’s Tape is an adhesive specifically designed for mounting prints for framing, and a single roll will usually last you a long time.
Why not just use regular tape? Well, Framer’s Tape is acid-free, meaning it won’t degrade your art over time. It is stronger and thinner than linen or paper tapes, and it won’t harm your mats or artwork. The archival-grade, moisture-proof, non-porous film backing is long-lasting and can be easily and cleanly removed from most surfaces by applying minimal heat.
Typically you’ll want to use Framer’s Tape if you need to either adhere your art to a piece of matboard, or if you want to float mount your piece. (Tutorials provided below!)
Next are your basic steps — the procedure of putting your art in the frame. While there might be added things you have to do with certain types of art, the following are pretty much a given no matter what you want to frame.
The first and most important step! If you measure your art wrong, everything else in your project will be incorrect. So it’s important you measure correctly.
P.S. Keep in mind that we automatically apply a ¼″ overlap, to make sure your art does not “fall through” the frame.
After you measure your art, you’ll have a decision to make. As we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to find the right size frame, and such an item may be common or scarce depending on what your measurements turn out to be.
If your art is 8″ X 10″, and you aren’t looking to preserve or protect your art for very long, your average department or arts and crafts store should have a standard sized frame that can display your art. It might not be the best quality, but it will function.
If you want a specific frame color/style, or if your art is of a more unique size like 15 ¼″ X 39 ½″ for instance, you will most likely need to go the custom frame route.
These days buying custom frames online is a snap, and you can personalize everything from the size to the color to the matting choices.
To order picture frames from Frame It Easy, use our handy frame designer found on our homepage.
Once you have your frame in hand, you’ll need to take the frame apart in order to get your artwork into it. The process for this will vary depending on what framer you buy from, and we can only speak for our own process.
Our metal frames require slightly more disassembly than our wood ones, the latter of which only require you to bend back the flexipoint tabs and remove the backing and acrylic.
For our metal frames, you’ll need to unscrew the corner brackets and remove the bottom rail. You’ll get access to the backing and cover from there.
For Frame It Easy frames, you will receive illustrated paper instructions with every order, and we also have some instructional information (with videos!) on our Help page.
Adding your art is an exciting step! The simple idea is that all you need to do is sandwich it in between the cover and backing. (Just make sure you remove any protective film from both sides of the acrylic first, though!)
*Depending on the type of art you have, though — as well as if you have matting — there may be some different methods you want to utilize to add your art inside the frame. In the following sections (four and five) we detail some popular methods and tips for adding various kinds of art to frames.
Frame re-assembly is basically the disassembly step, but in reverse! If you have a wood frame from us, just pop the art, backing, and cover back into the frame itself. Bend down the flexipoint tabs, and then tie the hanging wire on the end that’s loose. (Refer to the video above or view our wood frame assembly video.)
With the metal frames, you’ll need to slide the art, backing, and cover back into the rails, and then re-screw the corner brackets into each corner that you loosened them on. Everything should be secure once you add the spring clips, and you should be good to place the eurohangers onto the frame rails to string your hanging wire through them. (Refer to the video above or view our metal frame assembly video.)
Now you’ve made it to the final part that’s most gratifying — displaying your completed frame! All you need to do is hang your frame up on the wall. (Instead, want to place your frame on a desk or table? Order an EaselMate from our accessories page!)
For most of our frames, just hammer the hook & nail into the wall, then hang your frame from the wire off the hook.
P.S. For larger wood frames you’ll get wall buddies, an extra piece of hanging hardware that will prevent bowing. Just place the wall mounts on the wall, and drape the wall buddies over them.
The following are some basic framing concepts for several different types of art.
This method covers many items we commonly frame — photos, posters, and art prints that do not have any matting.
In this case, you simply need to follow our standard assembly instructions (linked in Step 5 above) as your art will perfectly match up with the backing and cover of your frame.
Including a matboard means a little extra consideration when it comes to adding your art to frames.
The T-Hinge method is a way of mounting your art to the matboard to keep it centered and secured.
How To Add Art to Frames: T-Hinge Method
In most cases, we automatically add a 1/4″ overlap to our frames — whether it’s the lip of the frame itself or the edge of a matboard, this 1/4″ overlap is what keeps your art from “falling through” the frame or mat. There are instances, though, where you might not want the overlap, such as if you have very important details near the edge of your art and/or if you want to “float” your art in the center of the frame (such as in the case of art that has a decorative or deckled edge).
In this case, using the H-Mount Method will float your art in the frame, securing it from the back.
How To Add Art to Frames: H-Mount Method
We mentioned earlier that there might be subtle variations in how you frame your art depending on what you want to display. In the following sections, we’ll discuss some additional considerations.
We’ll break down some different types of art — what it might be made of, its shape, how thick it might be, special circumstances, etc. — all of which should influence how you approach your project.
The most common types of art to frame — simple photos, posters, and prints on paper — are typically the easiest to mount and/or assemble.
They will either be the perfect fit within a custom frame ordered to exact measurements or can be mounted to a matboard or backing using the T-Hinge or H-Mount methods outlined above.
Framing a puzzle isn’t too much different than normal art, but there are a few preliminary steps you’ll want to consider.
Most importantly, you’ll need to either glue or place tape behind your puzzle, so it doesn’t fall apart when you go to add it to the frame.
For any adhesive, always be sure to use acid-free options.
Once the puzzle is mounted or bound together, the process should be the same as framing other photos, prints, or posters.
Just be sure to be mindful of your puzzle’s thickness to make sure you get a properly fitting frame!
If looking to frame items other than paper photos and prints, the material, composition, shape, and thickness all need to be taken into consideration. Common “frameable” items in this category include:
Fabric and other textiles can come with a few different challenges, as they don’t usually take a strict shape. Because of this, how you measure for framing will depend on how you want your piece displayed.
Do you want the sleeves of a shirt out or folded? Do you want only the logo of the shirt displayed, which would require more folding and a thicker overall piece, or have the whole thing laid out? All of these will influence what frame options are available and the materials you use.
To frame a textile, use these steps & tips:
As mentioned, our metal frames are designed for art up to 1/4″ thick, and our wood frames can accommodate art up to 1/8″ thick. (That’s with both the backing and cover included!)
If your piece of art exceeds 1/4″ in thickness but is still less than 1/2″ thick, you would likely need to omit either the cover and/or backing. (Details on this below!)
If your art is thicker than 1/2″, though, then you’ll likely need to source a canvas or shadow box frame.
We primarily sell art for square and rectangular pieces, as that is the shape of our frames, but there is the occasional need or desire to frame a circular/oval or oddly-shaped piece of art.
While the frame itself would still always be rectangular, with a little extra engineering, a non-rectangular piece of art can still have a great display.
If your piece is circular or ovular, you do have the option of ordering separate matting with a circle/oval shape opening. More info can be found in our guide to ordering separate matting.
Otherwise, you’ll simply want to lay your piece out as you want it displayed, and measure square/rectangular measurements around it as your “Art Size.” Then you’ll want to H-Mount your piece to keep it secured in the frame.
Let’s say your art has a white margin — maybe two inches — and you’d rather not have that visible in the frame. There’s a way to hide the border and not need any framer’s tape to only display the actual print portion of your art.
All it takes is ordering a bit of matting to cover the border.
Because the frame will be cut around the actual dimensions of your print’s paper, it will hold everything in place; no need to tape it! In addition, the matboard will cover up the margin that you don’t want showing.
While a cover and backing are standard to protect both sides of your art, there are a few special instances where you might want to omit either (or both) of the components:
To order a frame through the frame designer with no cover, when on Step 4, tap the “H” key on your keyboard to bring up a “No Cover” option. (Just note we only recommend this if you truly do not need a cover — in most cases, you will absolutely want one to protect your art!)
To order a frame with no cover and no backing:
If your art is a little less thick than the rabbet of a metal frame, you can use spring clips to take up extra space. There are a few things to consider for this, however. You need to make sure that your artwork is rigid in order to effectively use the spring clips. With a flimsy piece of art, there will be no firm counterweight to them, and they will likely fall out.
Second, the feet of spring clips can scratch the back of your art. With foamcore backing on regular frames, that isn’t the biggest deal, as it’s there to protect your art, after all. In a frame without foamcore, though, you run the risk of having the spring clips scratch the back of your art itself. To prevent this, all you’d need is a business card or piece of paper to put in between the spring clips and the back of your art as you slide them into the frame. This should prevent the feet of the spring clips from touching your art, and it should keep your art protected.
To order a frame with no backing:
If your art is already mounted to a piece of foamcore or an otherwise thicker/sturdier material, you may not need the foamcore backing. To order a frame with no backing:
Adding art to frames might seem complicated, but as long as you know the look you’re trying to achieve, there’s usually a simple solution.
Below, you’ll find a table that outlines all the basics you’ll need to add various kinds of art to frames. If you have any questions, of course, please feel free to reach out.
|Art Style||What You’ll Need||Recommended Assembly/Mounting Method|
|Photos, Posters, and Prints – No Matting||Frame, Hanging Hardware||Perfect Fit|
|Photos, Posters, and Prints – With Matting||Frame, Matting, Framer’s Tape, Hanging Hardware||T-Hinge|
|Art with Detailed Edges / Non-Rectangular Shape||Frame, Colored Backing, Framer’s Tape, Hanging Hardware||H-Mount|
|Puzzles||Frame, Puzzle Adhesive, Hanging Hardware||Perfect Fit|
|Clothing, Crafts, Textiles||Frame, Colored Backing, Pins or Framer’s Tape, Hanging Hardware||Pins or H-Mount|