The Frame Guide

 Many of you have been asking how to frame and mat the prints you buy without spending a fortune?  Taking an art print to a frame shop can be very pricey, even with those so called 60% off coupons. Buying a ready made frame (or using one you already have) is a much more affordable route to take. Remember, buying art is nourishing for the soul and will help you to surround yourself in beauty. But, you can do it in a budget friendly manner by buying art prints and framing them yourself. 

Here are some tips that might help.

When choosing a frame:

  • Simple is better in most cases and looks more modern and clean.
  • Black, white or silver frames are classic and work well with most any art, but go with what you love and what fits your aesthetics.
  • Buy a frame bigger than the image on the print.
  • If you are doing a grouping of framed art, the frames don't need to match. It will give you a more eclectic and artsy feel and look.
  • You can use the mat that is included with the frame, but if the mat doesn't fit the image, you may need a custom mat.

Why buy a custom mat? By getting a custom mat, you can make sure that it fits almost exactly to the image, especially if it is not a standard size.  It will look more professional and you'll look like a serious connoisseur of fun and amazing art! Here's how...

  • Go to any frame shop and ask for a custom mat. JoAnn's, Michaels and Aaron Brothers are affordable places to try. You'll need to take the print and know the size of the frame that you will be using.
  • Ask for archival or acid free if you want long lasting quality.
  • It is standard to cut the opening size (window) of the mat to cover 1/4" of the image on all four edges.  You can request the mat opening overlap the edge by 1/8" instead to allow for more of the print to be visible. 
  • You can either have the mat cut to the size you need and be on your merry way to frame the print yourself, or they can mount it for you on backing board. This will cost a little extra but it could save you a little extra work.  
  • If you are matting the print yourself, use only archival and acid free materials. Acid free tape (scrapbook/photo tape) is especially important, as regular tape can damage the print.
  • Stick with a white mat (in some cases cream or black) to keep the focus on the art itself. Colored mats sometimes compete too much and take away from the art itself. 

What size should I get for a Creative Kismet art print? I try to make my prints in standard sizes that can be easily framed. This isn't always possible. Sometimes cropping an image to make it a standard size, takes too much away from the original image. In this case, a custom mat might be needed.

The table below uses standard frame and mat sizes.

Print size Image size* Standard Frame size Standard Mat size Mat opening*
5x7 card 4 5/8 x 6 1/2 8x10 8x10 4.5x6.5
8x8 5x5 8x8, 10x10, 12x12 8x8, 10x10, 12x12 4.5x4.5
8.5x11 7x10 8x10, 11x14 11x14 6.5x9.5
8.5x11 8x10 11x14 11x14 7.5x9.5
8.5x11 8x8 10x10, 11x14, 12x12 10x10, 11x14, 12x12 7.5x7.5
11x14 10x13 16x20 16x20 9.5x
11x16 10x15 12x18, 13x19, 14x18 12x18, 13x19, 14x18 9.5x14.5 

*sizes may vary 

Good places to find frames and mats:

  • Michael's - Has a decent selection of square frames. Their 8x8 and 12x12 inch frames fit my square prints perfectly. They offer framing services, a nice selection of pre-cut mats and offer frequent discounts and coupons through their newsletter and phone app.
  • Aaron Brothers -Has a good selection of frames, mats and offers framing services. Check out their Gallery, Sydney and Napa Home style frames. They do not carry a very good selection of square frames, but they offer frequent discounts and coupons through their newsletter.  
  • West Elm - Has a nice selection of Gallery frames in many different sizes and finishes and are very good quality.  They offer frequent discounts through their newsletter.
  • Other places to check include Ebay (search picture frames with mats), Target and  Amazon.  Also check out Art to Frame, or any other online service that offers custom frames and mats.