Presenting your best side – float framing

Someone once told me that a good frame can make a bad picture good and conversely a bad frame can ruin a good picture. They were right!

Have you ever seen a picture you like and thought ‘shame, I don’t like the frame’ and moved on? Or seen a poorly framed picture and thought that the artist obviously doesn’t value their own work, so why should you?

Framing is tricky. Framing is expensive. Framing is fiddly. But if you want to show your art off to its best, then you need to address it. When I am rich and famous, I will get all my work bespoke framed, but until then it is down to me.

As I paint in watercolour, the framing plays an important part in protection, but I feel the glass and mount puts a barrier between the viewer and the painting. I have therefore been experimenting with floating mounts – this is where there is no mat and you can see the edges of the painting. I am a sucker for a deckled edge so this should assuage my passion too. I have just done my first one and I am rather pleased with the result.

I was just going to draw a diagram and then found this one on, which is way better:


By doing this the picture seems to float in space – clever heh?


The issue is finding a spacer, because it is visible, using a frame which is deep enough to accommodate the spacer and you will need a tab gun, as the original tabs will be in the wrong place. You also have to be clean and accurate, as there is no place to hide with this framing.

I used an Ikea Ribba frame and strip wood as the spacer. The image was on foam board about an inch smaller than the picture to offer good support. I know there are all sorts of reflections going on here, but hopefully you can see the finished effect.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

What’s your favourite way of framing?


About lizintheshed

Watercolour artist and copywriter, living and working in the Thames Valley.
This entry was posted in Art, how to, Techniques, Watercolour and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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