A Guide to Buying Frames for your Art Prints
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve kept plenty of beautiful prints rolled up awaiting a frame or simply the ‘right place’ (hello fellow renters). If I’ve learnt anything about the art I’ve purchased and how to make your space feel more homey, please don’t keep your art hidden away — let’s get it out and enjoy it!
There are endless framing options out there that will work for your new fine art print, and it feels so good to get that art up on your wall! Here are some of my top tips to get you selecting a frame you love for your fine art print.
Tip 1: Choosing a size
Always make sure to understand the size of your print, and know that depending on where a frame shop is located in the world it may have different shapes and sizes available. I have chosen the A series paper sizing for my fine art prints, which is a familiar paper format to most, and makes finding a frame you love fairly easy!
All of my photographic prints include a white border for self-framing and will fit in ready-made frames sized the same as your selected print size. You may prefer to explore the options available to you with custom framing, where you could go for a custom size frame that sits flush to the edge! (Please see below for more details on professional custom framing recommendations)
There is also the option to source a frame that is a ‘size up’ to give you a larger mounted border around your print — for example, if you purchase an A2 print this would fit an A2 frame or an A1 frame with a mounted border. By sizing up your frame, you enlarge the surface area and the impact of your print once on your wall. Options, hey!
To break it down for you, here are the print sizes currently available in the print shop and your most common ready-made frame size options:
210mm x 297mm, including 15mm white border.
This print best fits an A4 ready-made frame.
297mm x 420mm, including 25mm white border.
This print best fits an A3 ready-made frame.
420mm x 594mm, including 35mm white border.
This print best fits an A2 ready-made frame.
594mm x 841mm, including 50mm white border.
This print best fits an A1 ready-made frame.
Tip 2: Measure your space
If you're having trouble deciding on a size (don't worry, me too!), I recommend measuring the space you intend to hang or lean your new print, so you can get an idea of how it will feel and how much impact you want to have!
You can do this either with a trusty tape measure, or, if you’re a very visual person like me, find some existing pieces of A4 paper you have (like a standard letter or invoice), as this gives you the starting point of how the different print sizes scale up.
The best way to visualise the sizing of prints larger than A4 is this:
A3 = two A4 side-by-side
A2 = two A3, or four A4
A1 = two A2, or four A3, or eight A4 (it’s a biggy!)
I suggest sticking your loose pieces of A4 paper to the wall to gauge the different sizes. Measuring out the size of the print will help you determine what will be the best fit for your space.
If you are someone who tends to relocate a bit, like me, it may feel counter-intuitive to purchase a print for a specific space. If this is you, what I recommend, and what I’ve done in the past, is to choose a size based on the photograph itself — sometimes you fall in love with a piece of art that you know you will have with you no matter where you go — and your love for that piece alone can determine how immersive you'd like its presence to be.
Tip 3: Decide on colour
• Consider the type of print and its colours/tones
• Think of the style of your space and what you like
As a good starting point, consider the type of photograph you are framing and what colours and tones feature in the piece. It’s also a good idea to consider what style of frame might suit the rest of your decor, too — if you prefer light and bright, or something moodier.
I find that timber frames in a natural finish, or white or black finishes tend to be the go-to as they lend themselves to almost any setting and don’t tend to date like anything more ornate. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and what you like!
Tip 4: Professional framing & print longevity
Once you've considered the best size and colour for your space, I recommend visiting your local professional framing shop to look at your options in person and hand your print to your framer in the original packaging. Professional framing will always last longer and your framer will ensure the print is secure to prevent any movement or air/dust inside the frame.
Your local frame shop may also have ready-made frames available that will suit your style and the size of your print, or you may opt for a custom archival framing option. A professional framer can also trim your print to sit flush to your frame if you prefer this style, or you might consider something unique like a floated mount feature, or added extras like non-reflective/UV protected glass if your space is particularly sunny!
Your professional framer will fit your print to your new frame correctly to ensure the safety and longevity of your framed print — and if cared for properly, your photographic fine art print should last you a lifetime.
Custom framing suggestions in Melbourne:
If you are having trouble finding a preferred framer in your location, please get in touch and I will see how I can help!
Tip 5: Where to buy ready-made frames
Major cities around the world have great small business framing shops to support and often have ready-made frames available so you can DIY at home and have your print on your wall as soon as!
I recommend seeking out a local framing shop to you that offers ready-made frames in A-series to fit your new print, and the easiest way to do this is using Google Maps — simply enter ‘frame shop’ or ‘framing store’ straight into Google Maps and it should return results and their locations near to you. If you are having trouble finding a preferred framer in your location, please get in touch and I will see how I can help!
Below are some local frame shops in Melbourne, Australia, which I can recommend — many of which will ship their frames Australia-wide or you can purchase in-store.
Where I recommend buying ready-made frames in Australia:
Wooden hanging frames (no glass):
If you like the idea of hanging your print in its simplest form, you may like to try a framing option that clips the artwork top and bottom, sans glass or perspex. These clever designs are perfect if you like to switch up your printed artworks or tend to relocate frequently. Please keep in mind, and depending on the space, your print may collect some dust over time if using this option and without proper protection will be susceptible to marks.
Both of these wonderful Australian small businesses also have a great list of stockists and are often found at designer markets in major cities throughout the year.
I hope these tips and recommendations help you in finding the right frame for your print and your space. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact me directly via the Contact page.