How to Frame a Canvas Panel

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Professional faming is wonderful. These experts can help you find the perfect frame to make your new art look extraordinary in your home. But professional framing is expensive, and rather than keep your art hidden away until you can have it framed professionally, you can frame it yourself for a fraction of the cost. While I am no expert, I've learned a thing or two about framing that I would like to share with you.

 Simplon Plein Air frame from Dick Blick

Simplon Plein Air frame from Dick Blick

Over the weekend, I framed two of my daily paintings for a show at the Artists in Middleburg gallery. In this case, I used the Simplon Plein Air frame from Dick Blick. These inexpensive frames look great, and are easy to work with. When choosing a frame, one important thing to pay attention to is the size of the rabbet. This is the recess inside the frame where you would place your artwork and the backing. When you order your frame, be sure this space is large enough to accommodate your art and some kind of acid-free backing material. 

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You could secure the panel into the frame without a backing, but in this case, I felt that the art would be more secure with some protective backing material. For this framing project, I am using a wood panel, but you could also use either acid free foam core or archival mat board behind the panel. 

To secure the art into the frame, there are a number of things you can use. If the panel and backing are not flush with the back of the frame, you would use offset clips to secure the art into the frame. In this case, the frame and backing were flush, so I picked up some flat brackets from my local hardware shop. it is very important to check the length of the screw to be sure it doesn't come through the front of the frame. For this project, I used #6, 1/2" flat head phillips screws. Secure the bracket to the frame side only, so that the panel can be easily removed by just turning the bracket out of the way, like a photo frame. 

I use D-rings and framing wire to hang all of my work. Frames with wire are much easier to hang than frames with sawtooth hangers. The D-ring should be secured about 1/3 of the way down the frame. It is very important to make sure both D-rings are the same distance from the top of the frame, because otherwise, it will be very difficult to get your painting level when you put it up on the wall. If you are only framing one painting, you can purchase the D-rings together with the wire from your local craft store. If you are like me, and do a lot of framing, you can buy a pack of 100 D-rings and a spool of plastic coated framing wire. Be sure to check the weight recommendations of the framing wire to make sure it is strong enough to hold the weight of your art.

The last step is to attatch the framing wire to the D-rings. This is better shown than explained, so here is a video of the method I use. 

I hope this helps take some of the mystery out of framing so that when a professional framer is out of the budget, you can do it yourself. 

Happy Framing!