Any print can be framed, but it’s not always easy as frames are generally made to uniform sizes. When you have a print that doesn’t conform to the norm, and you really want it framed to put on display, you’ll likely be dismayed when you find out the price of custom framing. Whilst taking it to an experienced framer will get you professional results, it’s not always the case that you can justify the cost of a made-to-measure frame.
Fortunately, there are effective DIY routes you can take to frame non-standard sized prints without breaking the bank.
A DIY Process to Frame Non-Standard Sized Prints
- Start with a frame that’s proportionally larger than your print
When you can’t get a frame to fit a print, always go up in size, because the excess space can be filled with an acid-free mount board. It’s cheaper to get a piece of artist quality mount board cut to size than it is to get a custom cut frame pieced together.
The frame should be proportionally larger, as in, equal space around where the picture will be in the frame. Generally, two to three inches of mount board gives a uniform look to oversized picture frames.
- Measure the sizes for a picture mount
When ordering a picture mount, you need to know two sizes. The size of the opening where the print will be, and the overall size of the frame the mount board’s being used with.
When ordering your mount, whatever measurement you have, add roughly 8 mm to it because the print needs to sit behind the mount and not fall through it. Adding an 8 mm allowance gives you 4 mm overlap top and bottom, stopping the print falling through the opening.
- Use acid-free hinging tape to attach the print to the mount
The simplest way to hinge your print to a mount board is with a T-Hinge applied to the top reverse side of the print.
On a clean surface, turn the print, print-side down and apply small strips of acid-free artists tape horizontally along the top of the print. Place each strip a couple of centimetres in from the edge with roughly one to two centimetres of tape attached to the print, the rest hanging loose.
After the vertical rows are applied, stick another two small pieces of the same acid-free artists tape, this time horizontally beginning at the lowest point where the tape is attached. The shape you’re creating is a T, hence the name T-Hinge.
Once you have two T-Hinges in place, turn the print around and carefully lower the picture mount onto the print so that it’s in the right position before you connect the tape to the mount.
Only apply a gentle pressure to begin with until you’re comfortable the print is in the correct position. When you’re sure, then press down to firmly connect the mount and print together.
Once the mount is hinged, you’ll be able to lift it up, and with a gentle push with your finger, the print will swing. That’s the effect you’re going for with a T-hinge because once it’s in the frame, the tape will hold it in place, preventing it from sliding down the frame requiring repositioning later.
- Tidy the edges and frame
Once you have the mount and print attached, carefully trim away excess tape. Once the edges have the tape removed, go ahead and place both into your frame and attach the backboard.
Between the oversized picture frame and the acid-free tape with T-Hinges to connect them together, your framed print will be able to breathe in the frame and be safe from buckling, which often happens with prints framed with no mounts to protect it from environmental hazards.