Top 10 Tips for Custom Framing & Preserving Special Photographs

Written By Holly Clark

Posted 04/15/16

Updated 04/15/16

For the Home

It’s wedding season—the perfect time to consider custom framing your beautiful photographs so you can enjoy them for years to come. From glass recommendations to matting and moulding, we’ve got the Top 10 framing tips (thanks to Larson-Juhl framing experts) to help you preserve and present your special memories!

Top 10 Framing Tips

1. Choose the right mat
Many people today look at mats as an opportunity to add color to the frame design, but originally mats were neutral in color and used to provide visual relief between the art and its surroundings. Regardless of color, think big: More generous mat borders enable you to focus on the art much more easily. And make sure to use acid-free mat board.

2. Consider wider frame moulding
If a frame design doesn’t include a mat, the frame size may need to make up for it. A wider frame may still be smaller than the overall picture size would have been with a mat, but it helps art look more interesting and important.

3. Use conservation-grade glass or acrylic
Conservation-grade glazing protects art from most of damage caused by harmful UV light rays. By investing a bit more in protective glazing, you will maintain the integrity of your framed art and increase its longevity.

4. Double or triple mat layers all can be the same color
Many people just assume if there are multiple layers of matting used, each layer needs to be a different color. Actually, using the same color for all layers can simplify the design and keep attention focused on the art.

5. Use clear glass for bold images and non-glare glass for muted images
Clear finish (shiny) glass or acrylic helps to maintain sharp lines and shapes, bold colors and fine details. For soft, muted images, use non-glare glass or acrylic. Non-glare (also called Reflection Control) glass has a soft finish that diffuses details and colors. It looks great when the art itself seems intentionally soft in focus or muted in color.

6. Be creative
Many pieces of art look great when framed in a moulding style that’s unexpected. Some types of contemporary art look good in a traditional or rustic frame, and an ornate frame sometimes can add just the right finishing touch to a piece of folk art.

7. Pick the right contrast
Black and white provide the highest degree of contrast of any colors, so a black-and-white photo looks best with a high-contrast frame design. Images with softer colors and contrast look best in lower-contrast frame and mat combinations.

8. Consider bottom-weighting a mat
A bottom-weighted mat is one where the border below the art is wider than the borders on top and sides. Logical reasons to bottom-weight include when the lower half of the art is darker or contains larger shapes or patterns than the upper half. You may also choose it for a classic look or for valued art that you do not want to cut down.

9. Group images
When placing more than one picture in a frame, a multiple opening mat provides the means to bring them together. It is common to use a wider border around the outer edges than the amount of space used between images. When working with more than a few pieces, it can add interest to use different mat opening shapes.

10. Add depth and variety
Special details like extra-deep, 8-ply mat boards and narrow, ornamental frames called fillets that work inside the primary frame add layers, making certain designs more dynamic and memorable.

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