What is Picture Framing?

About FRMD

FRMD is based in Hackney Downs Studios, East London and we’re extremely passionate about what we do. We love to take your artwork and give it a new, contemporary frame look, from our curated choice of modern frames. We also like to keep things simple and convenient and we can also come to you and collect your artwork, and drop it  back in its new frame.

All of our frames are handmade by us, using conservation materials to ensure your artwork is protected and looking it’s best for its lifetime

We’ve found that people get overwhelmed by the many options available so we aim to simplify the process offering a curated, modern selection of frames and explaining what will work best with your artwork.

FRMD offer the option of colour-matching your new handmade frame to any colour or shade of your choice as well as offering natural wood finishes.

We also offer a variety of options with mounting and glazing, and can advise what will suit your piece best. Simply fill out our form – and, if you’re not sure about what frame, mounting and colour to choose at the time, you can upload a picture to us, and we’ll advise you what will work.

Why goes into the price of my picture frame?

Picture framing is labour intensive process with a goal to protect artwork for 20+ years. It’s an investment in protecting artwork for the foreseeable future.

Every piece in a frame is measured and made to fit to the exact dimensions a customer wants, unlike factory frames that customer need to mount themselves, usually with inferior quality materials

Low quality frames use materials that will damage your artwork over time, as well as causing damage which may not be reversible.  Also, the pictures tend not to be as well-protected, due to lower-quality glazing – and so they become more prone to damage from UV light.

Essentially, if you have a piece of artwork or an image that you wholeheartedly care about, you’re better placed by investing a little more in a far better quality picture frame.

Through using our service, for instance, you’ll have more choice in terms of colour, finish, glazing and mounting – and be able to give your most valuable pictures the picture framing expertise they deserve.

How long does it take to get a picture framed?

We aim to have frames back with customers within 12 working days, though we offer an expedited service if time is of the essence.

All we need to know from you is the size of the image, your choice of frame and mounting, and any colours you wish to add to the design. If you’re unsure, you can even send us a picture of your artwork, and we’ll give you advice on what we think will work.

Beyond that, we’ll contact you to confirm your options and organise for you to drop the artwork off or to be collected within our catchment area, and agree a date to return it to you.

If your order is over £200, we’ll deliver your frame, free of charge, anywhere in North or East London. We collect artwork and deliver finished frames on Wednesday evenings, between 7pm and 9:30pm, and also between 8am and 12pm every Sunday.

To speed up the process, however, you can drop your artwork off at our studio, no appointment necessary. Between agreeing on your picture frame and dropping it off, we’re pretty flexible.

Therefore, if you do need your frame completing quickly, we should be able to work something out for a small fee. In all circumstances, however, we aim to have your picture returned to you within 12 working days.

The total time for completion may differ; for instance, if we need to contact a paint manufacturer for a sample of a specific colour Please note that we also offer a discount for bulk orders – so, if your gallery or exhibition requires a number of frames creating at once, simply get in touch.

How do you clean picture frames?

Regardless of the age of the wood, if you treat each frame with the same TLC, you can ensure your picture frames keep looking incredible for years to come.

Even modern frames are prone to wear and tear over time, with dust and condensation the biggest threat to their integrity, along with scratching when frames are hung, moved and in transit.

First of all, regular dusting of picture frames and ensuring the glass is clean provide the best immediate protection – but the careful management of dust with a regular, thorough clean is also essential.

Start by cleaning your picture frame in a well-lit area, so that you can see that all corners and any subtle nooks and crannies are free from grime. This can also help you to see if there are any potentially damaging scratches, either on the glazing or the frame itself.

Then, make sure the frame is placed on a soft or cushioned surface – ensuring that, if a little too much pressure is briefly placed on the glazing or frame, it won’t break.

When it comes to the glazing, how you clean it will depend on what it is made of.

Glass can be cleaned with everyday glass cleaner and a soft, lint-free cloth. If the glazing is acrylic, then gentle, perfume-free soap and warm water will do the trick. Always spray the cloth with the solution, rather than the glass to avoid anything dripping below the glass. Always allow the glazing to dry, perhaps on a clean towel, before returning it to the frame.

If the frame has a significant layer of dust and debris, blow as much away as possible and remove the rest with a duster. Then, if the wood features any hard-to-reach nooks, crannies or deep imperfections, a soft-bristled toothbrush can be used to get rid of the build-up. If dirt has hardened, a cotton bud could help you to remove it.

How can I hang pictures without damaging walls?

Our frames come with a different number of hanging fixtures depending on the size and weight of the finished frame.

Larger pieces with glass can get pretty heavy so we have to ensure that they will hang correctly and safely. For most sizes however, a screw (or two in some instances) in the wall fixed into a rawl plug will support your artwork.

One of the benefits of the lightweight materials we use in our picture framing process is that the frames will remain light enough to accommodate other hanging methods. For instance, there are numerous adhesive hooks and strips available that will securely hold a professionally-framed picture.

These products should tell you the maximum weight that they can hold – but, even if you need to apply several at a time, the wall won’t be damaged in the process.

Other ways you can display your framed artwork, without causing any minor damage to your walls, include displaying smaller pieces on bookshelves, mantelpieces and dressers. From a visual perspective, any artwork of A4 size or smaller shouldn’t overpower the aesthetic of a room, if displayed in this un-hung, slightly unorthodox manner.

How do I choose a frame for a poster?

Finally, it’s not just original art and one-off images that are worthy of our picture framing service. We also receive many requests to frame unique posters. First of all, measure the poster and decide whether it will require a mount.

Posters generally are designed edge-to-edge, so a mount is not always necessary, but it can add an extra element to the artwork nonetheless.

Posters also often feature distinct lines and large, bold typography, which suit neutral black or white frames wonderfully.

Where you plan on hanging your framed poster will influence what colour of frame you choose, but most posters will suit all of our standard options. If there is a particular colour within the artwork that you feel really stands out and would work well where you plan to hang the frame, then we’ll do whatever we can to find a colour match for you.

The art of picture framing

A starting point when framing is  to  identify the most prominent colour themes in the artwork. Black and white frames both work effectively for the majority of colours, because of their neutrality – but it’s important to look in the environment outside the picture frame to know if they will work (more on this shortly!).

Of the colour themes identified, consider if you would like any of them in particular to stand out or instead be toned down by the frame. For instance, a bold red colour theme will complement an equally striking frame – but the red could become rather overpowering to the eye.

Like neutral tones, a plain wooden frame can work wonders for toning down a bold colour theme, and this is one of the reasons why the solid oak frames we make are so popular.

The natural colour of the wood actually tones down the more vibrant, man-made colours in a photograph, or elaborate tones of a painting (a skyline or natural scene, for instance). Essentially, the frame works to either blend in with the artwork and go largely unnoticed, or becomes part of it – just like picture frames throughout history!

Another option you have for transforming the visual impact of your artwork is picture mounting (creating the border between the frame and image, that we mentioned above).

Mounting a picture can also add either complementary or contrasting colour to a piece of art and the frame, but adds an extra layer of protection to the artwork, too. Mounting an image keeps the artwork separate from the glass and frame, reducing friction between the two and also guarding further against condensation and dust.

Mounting artwork is a precise process, as the width of a mount (i.e., the distance from the inside edge of a frame to the outside edge of the artwork) can work against both the artwork and the picture frame.

Too thin, and the mount becomes a bothersome distraction from the artwork, drawing attention away from it; however, if the width is too thick, the impact of the image is lost amidst too much bare space. When it comes to mounting, we offer three options as part of our picture framing process.

There is the flat mount, also known as ‘edge-to-edge’. With this option, the artwork inside fills the entire frame, but a tiny spacer, of no deeper than 3mm, keeps the artwork well away from the glass. This option works most effectively with posters and images that already have a border around them.

The window mount is the most oft-seen method of mounting an image, whereby the artwork sits behind both the protective glass and border, and the mount effectively helps to accentuate the image.

This works extremely well for making photos and particularly small prints stand out, even when they sit inside larger frames. This is where the size of a mount can work both for or against the image – if you have any concerns about this, we’ll suggest the size that best suits your artwork.

Finally, there is the float mount, which visually does exactly what it suggests. This creates a small shadow effect all around the outside of the image, as the artwork is effectively ‘floating’ on top of the mount.

When you have an image that needs to be seen right to its outside edges, this form of mount works incredibly well. As with our other mounting options, the artwork is kept away from the glass with small protective spacers.

Finally, there is the back of the frame and the glazing itself. For the backing, we use only fluted, conservation-grade backing board, which is not only water-resistant but also extremely lightweight when compared to other materials.

The size of the frame will influence the number of hanging options, as larger frames will require more support to ensure they maintain their structure.

When it comes to glazing, we have a range of options to suit various needs. From museum-grade glass to the most effective in domestic UV protection, we’ll have an option that protects the pictures you adore.

How do you frame a picture?

You won’t be too surprised to know that we recommend contacting FRMD in the first instance! However, if you fancy having a go at it yourself, the information above will be useful.

You need to measure the artwork first, and then choose a frame style that suits both the image and the room where it will be displayed. Establish whether you want the image to fill the frame or rest within the inside frame of a mount.

Once you’ve decided, you’ll have all the information you need to choose an appropriately sized frame for the image, and can proceed to choosing a suitable colour for both the frame and the mount.

The picture should be mounted on a robust backboard that will fit within the picture frame, using a glue or tape that won’t damage the artwork (avoid masking tape altogether – and, if the picture is valuable or has high sentimental value, give us a call instead!).

If you’ve opted for a mounted picture, place the mount over the now secure image and make sure everything is perfectly aligned (you don’t want a skewiff image inside an otherwise orderly frame!).

Ensure that the glass is clean before inserting the image, mount and backboard into the frame (see below for how to clean your glazing properly), and you’re good to go – happy picture-hanging!

How do I frame a large picture?

A large picture can really bring a room together. Large artworks give a room that gallery feel – and, even when hung on a wall that faces the rest of the room, can become prominent centrepieces all on their own.

Wider frames, with strong, prominent mounted borders give large artworks all the space they need to brighten up a room – but larger pictures can also look great with edge-to-edge mounts.

Posters in particular aren’t designed with borders and mounts in mind and will look incredible within the boundaries of even the most subtle frames. With digital photography now able to produce high-quality images, even at enormous sizes, your photo collection is no longer limited to bedside table frames, either.

However, the key, even with larger pictures, is still to ensure the artwork is presented as ideally as possible.

During our own picture framing process, we establish which colours are likely to bring out the best in any given piece of artwork, and whether it will look its best when framed within a mount or reaching from one edge of the frame to the other. Larger artwork does give you more flexibility in this regard – but, if you have any doubts, get in touch. As large pictures can actually overpower a room, it’s essential to get the balance right throughout.

How to make a picture frame

If you’re unsure with the terminology, mouldings are essentially the four pieces of material that combine to make a frame. You can either order one length of material, that will be cut into four parts, or four individually-cut lengths (usually comprised of two longer and two shorter sections, unless you’re aiming to make a square frame).

You may be required to cut the material at a 45-degree angle in order to create the four corners of the frame, although some suppliers will do this for you.

However, before all of this, you will have to establish the right size for your frame, again considering whether the artwork will be mounted or not, and what width any border will be.

This can actually be more problematic than putting the actual frame together, as you need to consider three lots of measurements at once; the size of the artwork, the width of a border and the size of the subsequent frame.

Anyway, most mouldings, once cut, can be secured using strong, household glue, while strong cardboard will suffice as a backboard to your image. It would be recommended to get something a little stronger, and certainly more resistant to condensation, but cardboard will do the job. Cut it to fit the frame.

A couple of staples around the join of the mouldings will further secure the frame, and several more the cardboard, and the final step is to add the picture.

A DIY picture frame might not look as stylish as one you buy or order, but it will certainly do the job nonetheless. If you order picture hangers separately, these can usually be secured with small nails and a hammer – just be careful not to go right through the wooden frame, as you’ll have to go straight back to square one!