FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Discover how to select the best frame for your work, find solutions to common issues with framed items, and get links to useful websites and resources.
Why do pictures need framing?
For two main reasons: to protect the work and allow it to be handled safely, and to help relate the work to the setting in which it is displayed – such as your home.
I want to hang a heavy picture or mirror.
There are many ways to hang a heavy piece of work, all of which will involve drilling and plugging the wall. We stock a number of different fittings, but there’s no one answer – please get in touch with us for further advice.
when should i use acrylic instead of glass?
Acrylic (clear plastic) tends to be used instead of glass for safety reasons – for example, in a child’s bedroom, in a school, or when the work is likely to be moved often. It does come with its disadvantages: it isn’t as rigid as glass and it scratches easily. However, you can use a special acrylic named ‘Artshield’, which can be expensive, but is very difficult to scratch.
Should oil paintings be framed behind glass?
This isn’t usual. But if hung in a smoky environment, if the paint is very thin, or if the artist has not varnished the work, then glass will protect your painting far better than its varnish. Just be sure to have a spacer to prevent the glass from touching the surface of the painting.
I want to post a framed picture.
Preserving your picture is often very difficult in the post. But if you have no other option, be sure to remove any glass and replace it with a board to protect the surface of the picture. Then cut a piece of hardboard larger than the frame – the corners of the hardboard will get bashed, rather than the frame itself – and wrap it all up in bubblewrap or corrugated card. Put it in the post, and keep your fingers crossed!
My picture has slipped in the mount.
Either your picture has been knocked and the hinges attaching the work to the mount have torn (they are designed to tear rather than the picture), or more likely, whoever has attached the picture to the mount has used ordinary self-adhesive tape. This dries out, and so the picture drops.
To fix this, your picture can be reattached with acid-free gum strips.
I want to hang a picture in the bathroom.
Simply putting a slice of cork on the bottom two corners allows air to circulate around the back of the picture. However, if you have a very humid bathroom, the glass protecting your work may need to be fixed in using silicon sealer. This prevents condensation leaking around and soaking the picture or mount.
I'm looking for a particular picture.
You’ll need to know at least the name of the artist and/or the title – try using search engines such as Google; this should turn up a publisher. Your local gallery may have an account with them. If not, you may need to order direct.
If you have seen the picture in a museum, they should know if a print is available.
What can I do to stop my picture fading?
The short answer is ‘keep it in the dark’ – but this rather ruins the point of having the picture in the first place! To work around this, we stock conservation glass. Though this does cost more, it cuts out UV light, a primary cause of faded pictures.
Some prints are more susceptible to fading than others. Reds tend to fade first, giving your picture a blue cast. It’s impossible to reverse the process once this has happened, so do consider protecting your work with our conservation glass.
Why has my picture cockled?
This is often due to a relatively damp environment – the paper absorbs the moisture and expands. It hits the rebate of the frame, can’t go any further, and so cockles.
Cockling also occurs if the paper is thin or poor quality – this is a problem to do with the item to be framed, not the framing itself.
So how can you fix this? If your item is on thin paper, then it can be stuck down onto a board. However, this is irreversible, so we recommend it’s only done with pictures that are replaceable. If the work has some value, it’s best to consult a restorer.
If the work is in a mount and cockled, this is often due to the way the picture has been taped to the mount.
SELECTING A FRAME
We have more than 130 mouldings and over 50 different mount colours – and that’s only what’s in stock right now.
When considering framing, our first thought is ‘should the work be mounted?’ If it’s an oil work, probably not; if it’s a watercolour, almost certainly. And remember that your mount will make the finished article much bigger (narrow mounts often appear too thin), so if there is only a small space on the wall – will your finished article look right?
We’ll do our best to make your frame and mount compliment your work (after all, you’ll likely be seeing it a lot!). For example, if the work is a delicate watercolour, the chances are that you’ll want to reflect this by using paler mount colours and a more delicate moulding. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule – we’ll be happy to help you select the perfect style for your work.
We take care to ensure that the frame and mount is durable enough to hold your work. Whilst we’re in favour of the framers’ version of Occam’s Razor (i.e. the simplest combination of frame and mount is probably the best!), we can help you achieve excellent results using a number of different mount colours, shapes, and multiple openings. To discuss what’s best for your work, get in touch via our contact page or drop by our shop.
Below are some further resources you might find useful, from local institutions to independent artists.