Framing 101

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It’s easy enough to frame a picture if you’ve used a standard size support and are satisfied with the selection in your local craft or art store. However, if you’re the persnickety type who wants your artwork to be completely unique, ready-made mats and frames just won’t do.

That’s when it’s time to learn the craft of mounting and framing your artwork. This ability requires skill, specialized tools and practice. It’s not too hard to learn the art of frame making and mat cutting, but it will cut down on your painting time. However, if you’re intent on creating distinctive mats and frames, or if you find that taking your work to a frame shop is just too costly, learning to finish your artwork is well worth the effort.


The Complete Photo Guide to Framing And Displaying Artwork: 500 Full-Color How-To Photos by Vivian Carli Kistler ISBN-10: 1589234227

Ms. Kistler provides easy-to-follow instructions that include all aspects of mounting and framing your artwork. From the easel to the gallery, this book includes full color photos of methods and materials for the proper and attractive completion of your work.

With illustrated examples and inspiring ideas, this book will show you how to choose your materials, design your mats, frames and provide techniques to prepare your artwork simply and beautifully for hanging.

Mat, Mount And Frame It Yourself by David Logan ISBN-10: 0823030385

Matting is part art, part craft and driven by each artist’s personal style. Mr. Logan starts with measurements and proportions, colors and textures, and works his way up to the necessary materials and equipment.

He then provides illustrated, easy-to-understand instructions that will have you making basic mats in no time and learning advanced skills with ease.

There are chapters about frames, glazing, installing and hanging your artwork. It also includes information on using these skills to start a cottage industry of your own.

Mat Cutter

Logan 301 Compact Mat Cutter ASIN: B0019IMX1Q

Logan is the premier name in home-use mat cutters. This versatile, entry-level cutter provides bevel and straight cuts for mats up to 32-inches. It’s portable, affordable and gives professional results with ease. The parallel mat guide can set borders from ¾-inches to 4 1/4-inches and has a built in handle to make it easy to transport. Features include a safety lock, instant release mat guide knobs, serrated guide rail and five extra blades.

The package also comes with a free DVD to provide instructions to use your new mat cutter.

Picture Frame Molding

House of Fara 95U Picture Frame Molding (Pack of 6) ASIN: B0038RG7OA

You can get pretty much anything online these days. Order hardwood molding to create your own custom picture frames.

These U.S.A. manufactured hardwood trims come in a package of six ¾-inch x 1 ½-inch x eight-foot lengths.

With 48 feet of decorative molding, you’ll be able to make a lot of frames for a small price.

Picture Frame Cutting Saw

Logan F100-2 Pro Framing Miter Saw ASIN: B0009ILFB6

If you’re not ready to move into the realm of power tools, this hand operated miter saw is a good investment. The F100-2 Pro cuts both soft and hard woods, and it cuts metal frames with ease.

The simple miter scale has a 36-inch left fence and an 18-inch right fence, so you have a wide range of size choices. Molding is held firmly with easy-to-operate quick release clamps, and the unit provides for repeat cuts with a production stop. This U.S.A. manufactured tool comes packaged with one 24 TPI blade.

Ruler/Straight Edge

Swanson 48-Inch Straight Edge (Yellow) ASIN: B0008IUWDE

You need a good, dependable straight edge ruler. Don’t be a cheap Charlie. Do yourself a favor and invest in a high-quality tool. You’ll have it for years and thank yourself time and time again.

This Swanson 48-Inch ruler is a bright, powder coated yellow, and it’s vividly colored so you won’t easily lose it. Get the 48-inch version of this high-grade aluminum alloy straight edge. You’ll be glad you did when you suddenly need to measure 42-inches accurately. The non-glare yellow is marked with black gradations and the ruler is 2-inches wide. The manufacturer offers a one-year limited warranty.

Miter Clamp

Bessey VAS23 Vario Angle Strap Clamp ASIN: B0000224B3

You can buy several individual clamps, or you can buy this all-in-one angle strap clamp. This device works great for all sorts of items that need firm clamping. Regardless of the angle, this strap clamp can provide tensile strength up to 1,100 pounds.

The strap and swiveling pressure plates maintain constant pressure on mitered corners of any angle, so you can produce four-side frames, octagon frames or round frames with just this one tool.

This set includes four angle plates, one clamp and has a capacity of 23 feet in circumference. Make every frame a perfect rectangle with the Bessey brand Vario Angle Strap Clamp.

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