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Old 05-21-2020, 11:46 PM
Yodalicious is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,407

I would like to learn how to frame art

Mods, if this is better in IMHO or MPSIMS, please move it.

I have several prints I would like matted and framed, but would like to do it myself. I assume I'll save some money once I have the right tools, and become decent at it. Yes, I know sometimes letting pros do the work is worth the money, but the pros can also be really expensive.

Can anyone recommend a good learning source, or should I just use Youtube?

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Old 05-22-2020, 12:20 AM
jharvey963 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,724
You'll need to get a good quality mat cutter, a large format paper cutter, a glass cutter (if framing with glass) or Plexiglas cutter (if framing with plastic), a large, sturdy work table, possibly a dry mount press. You'll also need a place to store left-over matte board, glass / Plexiglas, frame material, etc.

You'll also need to practice cutting mattes. The beveled edges of the matte need to be cut precisely at the corners of the opening. You can't over-cut them or under-cut them or they'll look awful.

You'll also need to be very good with math. You'd be surprised how much math is involved in framing.

Or you can buy everything precut to your exact size from a place like Then all you need to do is assemble everything.

If you only have 2 or 3 prints, buying all of the tools you'll need will not be worth it. If you're framing your own show of 20 - 30 (or more) pieces, maybe it would be worth it.

Good luck,
Old 05-22-2020, 12:54 AM
PastTense is offline
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 8,446
You can also go to thrift shops, etc. looking for frames--replacing whatever art there is now in them with your art.
Old 05-22-2020, 01:34 AM
Gatopescado is offline
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Location: on your last raw nerve
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Go find Beckdawrek. She's all things artsy-fartsy.
Old 05-22-2020, 02:43 AM
GMANCANADA is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 581
I'd suggest check you local school board or community college for night school / continuing education courses.

I did a picture framing course a few years ago through my local community college. We brought in our own artwork / photos and did everything you're asking about. We learned the "technical" side of the equipment, (the mat cutters, the big flat heater for dry mounting etc), plus the "artistic" side (proportion & colours of mats and frames etc), but mostly we got access their equipment.

It was essentially a way for them to help pay for the cost of the equipment which was sitting around un-used at night anyway.
Old 05-22-2020, 08:34 AM
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digs is online now
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Location: West of Wauwatosa
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Originally Posted by jharvey963 View Post
You'll also need to practice cutting mattes. The beveled edges of the matte need to be cut precisely at the corners of the opening. You can't over-cut them or under-cut them or they'll look awful.
I can do the rest of the frame, but I always go to a professional for matting.

One high end framer told me that even after twenty years of experience, they still throw away at least two mattes for every one where the corners finally look good enough.
Old 05-22-2020, 08:44 AM
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Chronos is offline
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First, plant the art's fingerprints on the murder weapon. Then, bribe some low-lifes to say that they witnesses the art in various compromising contexts leading up to the crime. If you can, forge some grainy surveillance footage of the art entering the scene, and...

Oh, wait. Nevermind.
Old 05-22-2020, 09:15 AM
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jharvey963 covered most of what I would write (I used to do framing as part of my business). I would add that having a frame joiner/nailer is a very handy thing to have. You'll also need a quality mitre saw; being just a little bit off on the cut will be very noticeable.
Old 05-22-2020, 09:24 AM
markn+ is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
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I do a lot of framing, but I don't make the frames myself. I have a Simplex Plus mat cutter, a ton of mat board which is pretty cheap, foam board for backing, a point driver and a bunch of points, hanging hardware (D rings and wire). But I just buy pre-built frames, so I don't need the miter saw or glass cutter part of it. I can always find a frame that's close enough to the size I need. I also built a large table with the mat cutter built into it since I didn't have a table big enough and got tired of working on the floor. The actual process of framing is pretty straightforward once you learn how.

Last edited by markn+; 05-22-2020 at 09:25 AM.
Old 05-22-2020, 09:53 AM
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beowulff is online now
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 17,440
Get a Logan, and use one edge per cut (two if you are thrifty).
Their mat cutters are easy to use, don’t use expensive blades, and have all the right guides to avoid over and under cutting.
Old 05-22-2020, 12:33 PM
garygnu is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 11,674
I was a professional picture framer for about 15 years. AMA

Not to discourage you, but you're simply not going to save money by doing it entirely by yourself. Unless you're OK with it looking terrible and/or damaging the artwork. Even inexpensive tools will vastly out-cost buying professionally cut mats, even more so after you factor in the blades, wasted mat boards (from inevitable mistakes), and injured fingers. Frames are easier to come by, you can order pre-cut or pre-assembled custom moulding or just find ready-made frames and cut the mat to fit. Backing board and glass are mostly a matter of space. The rest of the tools are very esoteric. A point gun makes finishing a whole lot easier, but it's possible (if ugly and potentially damaging) with ordinary tools.


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