Updated: Nov 26
Choosing the right frame for your art is hugely important for both enhancing the artwork's aesthetic and for making sure the artwork is suitably protected. We cover a few of the things you should consider when framing art.
With almost an endless supply of framing possibilities, picking the right frame style can be a daunting process. A few things you can consider to make the process easier is the style, material and composition of the artwork itself and how the frame can help to elevate it. If the artwork is black and white you may wish to choose a black or white frame so as not to distract from the artwork itself. If the artwork has a accent colour you can try using the same colour for the frame to compliment it and help pull that colour out to the eye. For delicate or intricate works you may wish to choose a slim frame to compliment the aesthetic. For more ornate, vivid or loud works you can try a more dominant frame to maximise the impact of the artwork in the room. These are a few ideas that should help give you a brief understanding of what to think about when framing but if you find yourself still struggling you can talk to either the artist or your local framer about what the best solution may be.
Preservation is a key component of framing your artwork and essential to keeping it in good condition. The first factor to identify in this case is the artwork's media. For art on paper and fine art prints you should always frame the artwork behind glass to help protect the work from the elements. There are a vast array of glass types to consider including museum glass, UV and non-reflective glass, non-reflective glass, standard glass and finally acrylic (there are also some UV resistant acrylics). The most important thing to consider is the UV resistance of the glass. Museum glass has about 99% UV resistance, non-reflective has about 70% resistance and non-reflective and standard glass are non-resistant. The price range is quite wide so its important to weight up the value of the work (emotionally and economically) to help you make the best decision. Using a mat or a mount can also be important to separate more fragile artworks from the glass itself and allow for breathing room to avoid condensation in difficult environments.
The location you are hanging plays a big part in how your artwork should be framed. Ideally artworks should not be hung in direct sunlight. If your room has large windows, is south facing or you have strong UV lights you should consider getting UV resistant glass for your artworks to best protect them. Try to avoid hanging artwork on a damp or exterior wall to avoid issues with condensation. If you have no option though, a solution can be to ask your framer to put plastic pads on the back of the frame to allow breathing room between the wall surface and the frame itself. Oil paintings and artworks sealed in varnish (including some acrylics) should not be framed behind glass as the varnish is already acting as a protective layer. Instead you can choose a frame or opt not to frame it at all. Be mindful of your room environment though. Paintings on wooden boards and canvas can suffer from mildew so try to separate them from the wall using plastic pads or spacers if you are worried about it.
You should have a basic idea of what to think about when framing now. If you are still worried you can contact the artist or you can always talk to us and we'd be more than happy to point you in the right direction. Framers are hugely knowledgeable and always happy to help so don't be afraid to ask for their opinion. Framing shops also have a big range of samples including all the glass types so you can get a better idea of what you want. For a list of framing shops we recommend in Hong Kong you can read this post from our blog.