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Cheap and Cheerful Print Framing pt 1

Readymade frames…

…can be just like people’s clothing items. There are expensive ones and cheap ones, but you can’t always tell the difference from the price tag. It doesn’t have to be expensive to look great: park your prejudice at the door and prowl some bargain stores. If you’re lucky enough to have IKEA then fantastic! But one distinct disadvantage of life in NZ is the absence of aforementioned store, in which case Kmart and The Warehouse can be your friends. Look for a wooden frame or be prepared to paint a plastic one with acrylic paint. A light rub with find sandpaper to "key" the surface and 2 coats of paint should do it. I’m a fan of white or black as a way to tie in all my many different pieces of wall art and it’s a classic look.

Choosing your frame size isn’t always straightforward. There’s often a frame size stated and then a photo/print size. The frame size should be the dimensions within the outer frame without any cardboard mat around, and the photo/print size is the space inside the mat.

If you were to measure the width and height of the 30cm square gap here you would see it’s actually 29cm in real life, to allow for you to put the chosen image behind the hole and have a little at each edge to stop it falling through. You choose whether you want to lose just a little of the image at all edges or have the image the exact size of mat space and have the white border nipped in behind the cardboard edges.

Finally, when reassembling your frame with print inside, do clean the the glass first and ensure any pesky bits of dust or floating hairs don’t get trapped between glass and picture. On the scale of annoyance, it’s a definite 8.5.

Artist’s Canvas….

….is a novel solution for mounting prints although with no glass to protect your image it won’t last a lifetime!

1. Only use on cheaper prints, not limited edition

2. Hang out of direct sunlight to preserve the colour strength as long as possible

3. Choose canvas with greater depth for a much more expensive look.

Many art shops will have canvas sales a couple of times a year with 60% or even 70% off. This is when I stock up of course. The size of your canvas will need to be the same size as your print. With so many sizes on offer this is relatively easy. Or you could have a little white canvas acting as border and this can also look good.

Your print will have a border which you need to cut off with sharp craft knife or tear off using a ruler for a paper finish which moulds to the edges quite nicely.

It’s a preference thing really, but the cut edge is easier.

Lay the print face down on a large piece of paper. Remove any “helpful” toddlers or pets from the room.

Use undiluted white pva and a paint brush or very clean pastry brush to spread a thin coating of glue all over the back of the painting.

Lift by holding two top corners and line up the base of your gluey print with the base of the canvas. Very lightly let it fall onto the canvas and the pva has a slow enough drying time to allow you to adjust the placing. Start to press the two surfaces together from the middle outwards. If your hands are sweaty or greasy (sorry if that’s a bit personal there) just put a clean tea towel between your hands and print surface.

The glue should not come through the print but it may feel very slightly damp to the touch. On a large enough flat surface, lay a table cloth or similar to protect, then lay your print surface down on it. Apply books on the back and leave whilst glue dries.

This one of my prints is on our bedroom wall where it gets early morning sun only. This is not strong enough to fade the colours. I think it is only discernibly different from the original painting with a close up look. A bonus of being canvas is it hides a TV wall-mounting bracket we don't currently need.

Last words…

You can choose the size of your print but cannot alter the original ratio. e.g., the Boatsheds painting is 600mm x 450mm. Any print will have to be in ratio of 4:3 unless you are willing to crop the image.

The canvas technique is a bit scary, but the payoff is huge in comparison to the price of an original painting done by someone else. Such is life. Don’t all the best things require a little leap of faith?

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