Updated: Jan 20
This has been a hot topic on my Facebook group, so because I have a background in this subject, I decided to type up the information for you! This "Framing 101" post will cover everything from stretching the canvas yourself to custom framing and every option in between. So let's get started!
The most popular option for most PBN enthusiasts is to stretch the canvas themselves or to buy a "framed" paint by number to begin with. I tend to lean towards stretching my painting after it is complete, because I don't like to prop my hand on my canvas when it's stretched, because it can actually make the canvas loose.
STRETCHING YOUR OWN CANVAS:
I recorded the video on stretching your own canvas, because it really can be a lifesaver & a money-saver!
I mentioned in that video that none of the paintings are not actually 16x20", because they are in metric sizes and not standard measurements. It makes things a little more difficult for us to find the perfect frame for our artwork in the US.
“FLOOR FRAMES” TO DIY:
Once you stretch your canvas, it will be a “standard size” 16x20” or a 12"x16", and you will be able to find a “floor frame” to put it in. A “floor frame” just means you can buy one off shelf. (You won’t need the glass, so you can take that out...along with the backing board.) You need to find a frame with enough depth, so your canvas doesn’t stick out the back and show from the sides. You’ll need to purchase something called “offsets”. These are special brackets that screw into the back to hold the canvas in the frame. Have the custom framer help you determine what size you’ll need.
DRY MOUNTED PIECES:
You can dry mount your piece like I’ve demonstrated in this video. Once it is dry mounted, you have a couple of framing options.
This will allow you to take the piece on the board to be custom framed. It doesn’t have to be stretched on a stretcher bar if you have dry mounted it. The "Personal Designer" (this is the fancy, schmancy term for the custom framer) at Michael’s will measure the board as it is, and can custom frame your piece. (See information about glazing & custom framing) below. If you want to frame it with a “floor frame”, cut your piece down to the standard 16x20” size. The Personal Designer at Michael’s is NOT ALLOWED BY LAW to cut your piece down for you, as it is a liability if something went wrong or got messed up. You will have to do it yourself before you take it in. A dry mounted piece can go right into the frame (without glass). It should fit fairly well, since the glass and any filling materials will be taken out. You can’t use a cheap poster frame, because they aren’t deep enough to hold the foam board and backing material. If you want to custom frame the piece with a mat, follow the explanation below for Custom Framing.
CUSTOM FRAMING & HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHEN YOU CUSTOM FRAME:
Since I was the Custom Framing Manager at Michael’s, this is personally my favorite option! When you custom frame, you have hundreds of frame moldings as an option.
My first money-saving tip is to wait until they have a “70% off custom framing” coupon! When you get to the custom framing counter, you are allowed to go behind the counter and look at the frame moldings on the wall. (Did you know that? Yes! It’s true! I always invited my customers behind the counter to touch, feel and look and the details and weight of a frame they liked!)
** INSIDER PRICING TIP: on the side of each frame you will see a colored label. Yellow labels are the most affordable options of the custom frames. Green are the middle priced frames, and blue labels are the highest price (but are sooo worth it)!
Michael’s actually has frames that are specifically made for canvases if you like that style. There are also frames that are deep enough for your canvas to set down in without sticking out the back.
GLAZING??! (Also known as "Glass" or "Acrylic")
Glass or Acrylic is called “Glazing” in the framing world. There is a lot of “controversy” about whether your acrylic painting needs glass or acrylic. Here is what I was taught: NEVER use glass or acrylic with oil paintings, but an acrylic painting can go either way. The main thing to remember is: ASK YOUR PERSONAL DESIGNER AT MICHAELS TO INCLUDE SPACERS IF YOU WANT GLAZING! The glazing should NEVER touch artwork of any kind! When you mat a piece of art, the mat gives you space between the glazing and the artwork, so it’s “built in” spacing. But if you glaze an acrylic painting without a mat, it has to have significant space between the glazing and the art, or it can stick to the glazing over time.
Here are some samples of my customers' artwork (with their permission) that I designed and framed. The puzzles I am showing are dry mounted first, in order to keep them together while they're hanging on a wall. These are framed much like an acrylic painting (PBN) or a diamond art painting would be done. I had to use 1/8" to 1/4" spacers in between the glass and the puzzle on the ones that did not have a mat., since they had been sealed with Mod Podge. In addition, you'll notice the first example of the cottage on the water is designed with the regular glass that isn't anti-reflective. You may save a little bit of money with that option,, but if you upgrade the glass to Masterpiece, you see nothing but the ART! It's a huge visual difference for a small difference in price.
If you choose to “glaze”, I recommend ONLY MASTERPIECE GLASS OR ACRYLIC! They cost a little more, but they both are ANTI-REFLECTIVE and include UV PROTECTION. Masterpiece Acrylic is the “high-end” option, as it is lightweight and has a lifetime warranty against breakage. It does cost more though! On a 16x20, the piece won’t be super heavy, so you can opt for either MP Glass or MP Acrylic. Remember, you have a 70% coupon.
The “70% off custom framing” coupon is only valid if you have a frame in the bundle. So when you make your purchase, as long as the “bundle” includes a frame, it will give you the discount. The price they give you will also include them assembling the piece for you! It can take up to two weeks to receive it, but I don’t mind that, because I know it will be worth it. During this time of year, it’s not very busy usually and production is caught up.
So here is the breakdown:
• DIY Canvas Stretching $5 (or less if you already have your own staple gun and staples)
• You can use a standard floor frame if you stretched your paint by number canvas on a 16x20” stretcher bar or a 12x15” stretcher bar.
• If your piece is dry mounted, you can trim it down yourself to a 16x20, and it will fit in a “floor frame”. If you want to mat it, leave the excess border on the piece and get it custom framed with a double or single mat.
• Use a 70% OFF coupon to save the most money when you custom frame at Michael’s. It will be cheaper without glazing...but you can decide what you like best. (Remember, is you decide to use a glazing, Masterpiece Glass and Masterpiece Acrylic with SPACERS are the best options for preservation quality!)
I hope this post answers at least most of your framing questions, and you now feel more prepared and knowledgable when you are ready to frame your artwork!