Picture Framing Do’s & Don’ts

You finally found a photograph, painting, or drawing, which speaks to your soul, evoking special meaning in a style uniquely your own.  Before rushing out to buy whatever frame you can find, you might be able to refresh a one you already own, or you could personalize a readymade frame. 

Painted Frame

A room’s lighting & color scheme will have major effects upon your artwork.  Be sure to view the item in the room you wish to hang it.  The frame can be easily painted to match or contrast with existing décor.

Sponge Painted Frame

Sponge painting is easy and fun way to add color and texture.  Paint the base color first with a brush and then apply two or three additional colors with sponges.  Experiment with different colors and techniques on scrap paper first until you find the combination that works best. 

Decoupage or Scrapbooking Frame

Decorative scrapbooking papers, wallpaper and contact paper offer infinite possibilities.  Whether you decide to cover all or part of the frame, simply glue on your designs. 

Seashell Frame

Frame with Seashell Border

A plain picture frame gets a fashionable update with a seashell border.  Beads, glass marbles, pom poms, flower petals, and anything else you imagine can be applied for a unique finished art piece. 

Fabric Wrapped Frame

Fabric Wrapped Frame

Textile designers continually push the limits of color, geometry, and texture, ensuring you will find fabrics you absolutely love. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame

Carved Wood Frame Detail

For a museum-quality finish, apply gold or silver paint on the surface details.  The recesses will remain dark, while enhancing the three-dimensional carvings. 

Background & Border Colors

Mat Color Choices

Look for colors, patterns, and textures within the image, which can be coordinated with matboards, metallic trims, fabric wrapped edging for needlepoint, and decorative frames.  The same applies to plaque mounted artwork. 

Do’s & Don’ts:

Triple Matted & Framed -Options 1 & 2

Neutral vs Blue Mats

This neutral gray mat will work with any décor but choosing colors within the image, such as blue, creates a more dramatic piece of artwork. 

Triple Matted & Framed -Options 3 & 4

Dark Green vs Dark Red Mats

Green is also a great border color to harmonize with the artwork.  Although there is a small amount of red in the image, the red border pulls the viewer’s attention away from the image. 

Carved Wood Frame

Girl with Wood Frame

This field of wildflowers grows outward onto the floral, carved wood frame.

Metal Frame – Options 1 & 2

Warm vs Cool Colors

This frame is pretty, but the cool silver tone works in opposition to the warm pink flowers.  The cool grays in the owl photo harmonize with the frame. 

Ornate Metal Frame – Options 1 & 2

Silver Frames

The bold silver frame overpowers the delicate baby’s breath flowers.  The frame’s scroll designs resemble shells, while the strong geometry and saturated colors of the seashells hold your attention. 

Floral Frame – Option 1

Scrapbook Papered Frame

While orange provides the maximum contrast to blue, this floral frame is too “busy” for the multitude of leaves in the photo. 

Floral Frame – Option 2

Scrapbook Papered Frame

Here we see a perfect match between subject and frame.  The bluebird and delicate crabapple blooms harmonize with the blue hydrangea frame. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 1

Wood Frame

The rigid geometry of the border and heavy appearance of the frame competes with the delicate butterflies and flowers in this springtime photo. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 2

Wood Frame

The rounded, faux wood grain frame borders resemble tree trunks in the forest. 

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 3

Wood Frame

The warm wood tones coordinate beautifully with the soft orange and green in this nature scene.

Wood Dentil Edge Frame – Option 4

Wood Frame

There’s quite a bit of “masculine” energy in this photo, including the high-performance sports car, raptors in flight, and the rugged desert landscape, which are perfectly showcased in this tailored frame. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame vs. Color-Coordinated Frame

Wood Frame vs Pastel Frame

This ornate gilded wood frame freezes the motion of the ship upon the stormy sea, while the second frame extends the movement and accentuates the purple sky. 

Gilded Carved Wood Frame – Options 1 & 2

Wood Frame

The cheetah’s spots and the surrounding colors are echoed in the frame, as are the textures of the leaves and bricks in the second painting. 

As you can see, choosing the right frame to showcase your artwork is easy to achieve.  Let your artwork tell you what it wants by observing colors (warm or cool, pastel or bold, light or dark), patterns, textures, and themes.  The most important thing your artwork should do is make you happy!  

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

7 thoughts on “Picture Framing Do’s & Don’ts

  1. I really like this post. I enjoyed seeing the impact of the right frame for a picture. I will be more aware of how a frame impacts the display when choosing one for the next picture I want framed. I also have several frames as in your second picture (with the light.) I’ve been trying to think of a way to update them. Thanks for your post!

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  2. What beautiful frames with the matching pictures. the frames are often the decisive icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing, I wish you a beauful time, Marie

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