Frequently Asked Questions

“Why does picture framing in some instances, cost more than the art?”

The cost of your art in no way relates to the cost of the materials and labor involved in framing the art. Many posters are 24×36 and cost about $20.00 to $30.00. Because of the large size the poster will require more framing materials than a smaller piece. This, along with the cost of labor to prepare the materials and assemble them into a finished frame, will dictate the cost involved. Thus, the cost to frame this large inexpensive poster may exceed the cost to frame a smaller more expensive work of art. There are also a variety of mouldings, matboards and glass that have a wide range of price points. We will be happy to give you an estimate and work with you to achieve the look that you desire and stay within your budget constraints.

“How are your frames priced & how does the price compare?”

We use a computerized, point-of-sale system to price our framing jobs. This allows us to give you an exact price that covers all of the components you have selected. By using a computer system, we can focus our efforts on the design of the piece rather than the intricacies of manual pricing. We can also make changes to a design with the computer recalculating the price rather than having to start the process all over again. When we give you a price, it includes all the materials and labor required to complete the job.
Periodic market analysis shows that our prices are competitive; virtually the same or less than other professional frame shops offering equivalent products and services. At times, other frame shops may quote a job at a significantly lower price. We find that when this occurs, the frame shop is generally using inferior quality products. This would include paper mats, cardboard backing, plastic frames or “cheap” overseas knockoffs. At times, these shops are shipping your artwork to offsite production warehouses where the quality and experience of their staff are questionable. You must also ask yourself if this framer will be around should you encounter problems in the future. At ART of FRAMING, all work is done on the premises by trained staff. And we back up our quality with our Design and Craftsmanship Guarantee.

“What is mounting?”

Mounting is the method used to hold your piece of art in place within the frame. In general there are three categories of mounting. The first method is permanent mounting. This method is not reversible and should be used only on artwork of little value such as open edition prints and posters. It should be noted that permanently mounting a piece of art will jeopardize the value of the artwork, either current or future. The second method is semi-permanent. In this method, the artwork can be removed at a later date through the use of heat. While it is not a recommended method of mounting expensive artwork, it can be used on moderately priced open, original and limited edition prints. The primary purpose of permanent and semi-permanent mounting in is to flatten the artwork, removing small wrinkles and creases. The final type of mounting is hinging. In this method, the artwork is attached to either a backing board or mat using small pieces of tape or other hinging material. The hinges should be made from either an acid-free self adhesive, water-activated tape or Japanese paper using wheat or rice starch adhesive. By using a hinging method, the artwork will be less likely to “cockle,” or ripple, with changes in the humidity.

“What does it mean by “floating” art?”

When you “float” your artwork, you are attaching it to either a mat board or a fabric board using a special conservation hinging method. All the edges are revealed and no art is covered up. You will then need a spacer.

“What is a spacer?”

A spacer is usually a piece of wood, plexi glass, mat or fabric board that separates the artwork or object from the glass. This is important because providing ventilation will protect the art from condensation and moisture build up in the frame, which can cause the art to stick to the glass.

“Who builds the frames?”

Our professional design consultants do all of the frame construction for you. In most cases, all of the component parts are created on site, in our facility. From the cutting and joining of the frame, cutting of mats and glazing materials, mounting of the artwork and fitting the artwork in to the frame, our design consultants insure that your job is done right. Our facility contains all of the state of the art machinery required to properly frame your artwork. While the majority of the work we do is framing entire projects, we are happy to supply you with component parts only, such as mats or a piece of glass. We can also create and fit component parts into your existing frame.

“Should I get a wood or metal frame?”

The type of artwork to be framed, the room where it will hang and your own personal preferences will determine the answer to this question. There are, though, some basic differences between wood and metal frames. Within the framing industry, wood is the preferred frame material. There is a much wider selection of colors and styles from which to choose. Wood frames also afford more protection for your artwork. Their sturdy construction and the ability of the framer to properly close the back of the frame prevent environmental and insect damage from occurring. Metal frames have a modern, sleek type of styling. Available in many colors and styles, they, for the most part, afford a minimalist type of framing. New trends in metal mouldings, such as the Nielsen Elements® line, blend modern technology with a design flair not seen in metal mouldings for many years. Whether you choose wood or metal, what is ultimately important is that the frame meets your design requirements.

“What is a mat?”

A mat is a border, usually made from mat board, placed around the artwork. The purpose of the mat is, first, to provide a spacer or separation between the artwork and the frame or glass. If the glass comes into contact with the art, there could be a risk of damage to the artwork. This damage may come in the form of mold, or the artwork adhering to the under side of the glass. Second, the mat, particularly the color of the mat, draws the eye into the picture. By altering the colors in the mats, we can make the colors in the art stand out. And third, the mat hides the mechanics of the framed piece. For instance, the mat will cover the mounting method used such as a hinge or dry mount. The standard size of mats is 32 x 40, but some colors will come in an oversized 40 x 60. The standard thickness of a mat is 4 ply, which is about 2 mm. Mats are also made in a limited color range of six, eight and twelve ply thicknesses. These thicker mats create a dramatic presentation, drawing the eye directly to the art. Mats come in a variety of colors and textures which will allow your design consultant to select the mats that just right for your picture.

“What kind of mats should I use?”

For the highest protection for your artwork, you should only use mats that are preservation or museum grade. There are three basic types of mats used in picture framing. The first is a regular or paper mat. These mats, while being cost effective, contain a product called lignin. Over time lignin breaks down creating an acidic gas that can leave a burn mark on your artwork. The color will also fade over time, and the cream colored bevel will begin to darken. Some paper mats have a bleached white core, but the overall degradation of the mat will be the same. The second type of mat is an alpha cellulose mat. Cellulose is the chief material in all plant life. Alpha cellulose is the purest form of this material. These mats are buffered to maintain a neutral pH. They are considered to be preservation quality. They will not harm the artwork, nor will they fade over time. The third type of mat is a rag mat. Made from cotton linters, rag mats are naturally lignin free. They are made with a colored surface paper, which are preservation grade, or can be 100% rag mat, which is museum grade.

“What about fabric mats?”

The use of fabric mats can really add a distinct elegance to your framed art. Whether it is suede, linen, silk or various other fabrics, the colors and textures of fabric take your framing design to a new level. There is a wide range of fabric types and colors that come pre-covered onto alpha cellulose and rag mats. The majority of these mats, though, are not preservation grade. This is because the fabric does not meet standards for bleed resistance. Some fabric mats, like Bainbridge’s Alpha Linens®, are preservation quality and can be used on higher forms of artwork. If you cannot find a pre-covered fabric mat to suit your needs, we can hand wrapped any fabric over an existing mat. We have a large selection of fabric from which to choose. You may also bring in your own custom fabric for us to wrap.

“What are basic mat dimensions?”

While there are no set outside dimensions for custom mats, there are guidelines we can follow to determine the width or reveal of your mats. There are two basic approaches to creating mat widths. One is to make the mat equal on all four sides. This method brings balance and symmetry to the design. The second is to weight the bottom of the mat, making it larger than the top and sides. This method was used during Victorian times when pictures were hung very high on the wall and at a slight downward angle to the floor. By weighting the bottom, it gave the appearance that the mats were equal on all sides. Psychologically, the weighted bottom affords the viewer a sense of stability, insuring them that the piece is not likely to tip over. Both methods are acceptable and the preference is yours. There are some basic rules that can be used in deciding the width of mats. First, there should be no repetition of size. The reveals of the inner mats should be slightly different. This allows the viewer to see the entire inner mat colors, not just the more dominant color. Also, the top mat should be at least 3/4” to 1” wider than the visible width of the frame. This will set the frame apart from the rest of the piece and prevent it from encroaching on the artwork.

“How many mats should I use?”

Most artwork is a collection of many colors, and we use the colors in your art as a guide. We may begin by showing you a selection of three mats; a top mat and two inner mats. The colors of the inner mats are generally taken from the third or fourth most predominant colors within the art. This allows these background colors to show through and not become overwhelmed by the more predominant colors in the piece. By selecting mat colors in this fashion, we can allow the viewer to see the full scope of the artwork. The top mat is generally a color that harmonizes with the entire piece. It is preferred to have top mats that are lighter tones rather than darker ones. Lighter tones will tend to “open up” the piece while darker tones will tend to constrict the piece making it appear smaller. There are times when the use of three mats is not warranted. Some examples of this would be black and white photography and prints, and sepia tone and monotone artwork. In these cases, there are limited color choices for the inner mats and we would generally show you a top mat and single inner mat. In the end, the choice of the number of mats is yours to make

“What is artwork glazing?”

Glazing is a protective coating applied to clear glass used in framing that can be invisible to the human eye, but invaluable to your artwork. The choices in glazing are plentiful, consisting of top quality glass and acrylic glazing options by Tru Vue®. Your design consultant will help you choose the best glazing options for your artwork.

Tru Vue is a registered trademark of Tru Vue, Inc., McCook, IL, USA

“What types of glazing are available?”

Our preferred supplier for glazing products is Tru Vue®. They are the industry leader when it comes to quality and technical advancements. They provide us with three basic types of glass and acrylic. The glass selections include Premium Clear which is regular, clear glass; Conservation Clear® with TruGuard® Protection, which blocks 98% of harmful Ultra Violet (UV) light rays, Reflection Control®, which is single sided etched non-glare glass; and Tru Vue AR Reflection-Free™, which is a new technology that virtually eliminates glare. Acrylic is available from Tru Vue under the trade names ACRYLITE® and Optium™. ACRYLITE ® comes in Premium Clear, regular, clear acrylic, Conservation Clear® ACRYLITE® with 98% UV protection, Reflection Control®, which minimizes reflection and Optium™ Acrylic which has the anti-reflection technology. Our stores display framed art using these various types of glazing, and we also have samples which we can use to show you how the various types of glazing will work with your art.

ACRYLITE® is a registered trademark of CYRO Industries, Rockaway, New Jersey, USA.
Tru Vue and Reflection Control are registered trademarks and Tru Vue AR Reflection-Free and Optium are trademarks of Tru Vue, Inc., McCook, IL, USA.

“Why is the back of the frame sealed?”

Sealing the back of the frame serves two functions. First, it provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance, concealing the attachment of the artwork into the frame. Second, it provides protection from insects and dust. Insects lay their eggs inside of frames, because the cellulose from the paper products provides a food source for their young. There are two acceptable methods of sealing the back of the frame. The most common method is using kraft paper. Available in both brown and black, this is a heavier weight paper that can withstand many years of use. It is attached to the frame using a double sided tape. Acid free materials are used in preservation and museum framing. The second method is taping, which is predominately used in Europe. This method uses a two inch wide tape to cover over the attachments, usually staples or framer’s points. While this method works well, it allows the viewer to see the backing board and can release after time. Metal frames, because of their channel construction, are not backed.

“What are the differences between printed art forms?”

There are many ways in which an image can be placed onto paper. The most common types are:

  • Poster – An inexpensive printed reproduction of a piece of artwork, generally containing some form of promotion in the margins (artist’s name, gallery or museum name, some type of event).
  • Print – A generic term used to describe an impression made on paper from a variety of sources such as a block, plate or film negative. It generally contains no promotional information.
  • Lithograph – A generic term used to designate a print made from a planographic process. This would include an original lithograph done on a stone or a commercial print made by a photo mechanical process.
  • Serigraph – A method of printing using a prepared stencil attached to silk or polyester fabric through which color (ink) is forced.
  • Etching –A printing process where an image is scratched into a plate through an acid resistant ground. The plate is dipped into acid, causing the scratched areas to be eaten away. The plate is then inked and pressed into the paper to transfer the image.
  • Engraving –A printing process where lines are cut into a plate using a tool. No acid is used in this process. The plate is then inked and pressed into the paper to transfer the image.
  • Collagraph – A work of art produced by the inking of any combination, or collage of materials. This forms a plate for printing.
  • Intaglio – A process which includes all-metal plate engraving and etching processes in which the printed areas are recessed. It would include etchings, engravings and mezzotints to name a few.
  • Monoprint – A one-of-a-kind print made by painting on a sheet or slab and transferring the wet painting to a sheet of paper. The process can be done by hand or by machine.

With the exception of posters and monoprints, any of the above forms of printing may be open editions, where there are an unlimited number of prints, or a limited edition, where the prints are limited to a certain quantity.

“What if I don’t like it when it is completed?”

We fix it. Our work is guaranteed. The last thing we want is for our customers to be unhappy about anything we have framed. Of course we ask you to help us make the right choices the first time. If someone else is going to have veto rights over your framing selection, bring them in so we can avoid an unnecessary redo. But if there is a quality problem or a design problem, we will work with you to make you happy.

With the exception of posters and monoprints, any of the above forms of printing may be open editions, where there are an unlimited number of prints, or a limited edition, where the prints are limited to a certain quantity.

“Is my old art worth reframing?”

This is probably a dangerous question to ask a picture framer, but the truth is the answer lies with you. As basic as it sounds, the main question to ask is: do you really like the picture? We can certainly update the framing for the picture that you framed in the “do-it-yourself” frame shop during college and transform your artwork into something that will look good in your house today. If you paid almost nothing for the picture, but you still love it, or even have some kind of nostalgic attachment to it, then it’s probably worth re-framing. Conversely, if a picture that you don’t like very much falls off the wall and breaks the glass, you might be better off to spend your money framing something that you love rather than putting that ho-hum piece back up on the wall. In any case, the opinion that matters most is yours. Saving good art from bad framing is one of the most valuable things a frame shop can do and we love to do it.rms of printing may be open editions, where there are an unlimited number of prints, or a limited edition, where the prints are limited to a certain quantity.

“Why is my paper art rippling?”

The answer is — it depends. Most posters, photos and inexpensive prints should be permanently dry mounted and shouldn’t be rippling. However, if you are framing an original or collectible piece of artwork, the proper mounting technique will not necessarily prevent rippling. In order to keep the artwork in its original condition, the framer doesn’t permanently adhere the artwork to its backing board. In most cases, the artwork is hinged to its mat or backing board with an acid-free paper and reversible adhesive with minimal contact to the artwork.

What causes the problem? In a word: moisture. Paper absorbs and releases moisture at different rates throughout the year, especially in Minnesota, and sometimes the moisture will stretch the paper fibers enough to cause a noticeable ripple. In general, paper artwork will ripple more during the humid summer months and relax in the dry winter months.

So what can be done about the rippling of original artwork? Sadly, very little. If you want to preserve your artwork properly, you live with a little rippling. Sometimes move your artwork out of a hostile environment (away from a radiator, out of the bathroom, etc.,) can help. Something else you can try is adjusting the lighting or placement of a picture so the rippling becomes less obvious. As a last resort, paper artwork can be dry mounted to keep it flat, especially in cases where resale isn’t a concern. However, keep in mind that dry mounting is, for all practical purposes, permanent.

“Can you get me a poster I found on the internet?”

Yes, we can often order posters that you find on the Internet. We do not have access to absolutely everything that you can find online, but we do have access to thousands of images. The advantage to having us order your poster is that you don’t have to pay any postage or deal with any problems. In addition, you are always able to borrow images from our inventory to take home on approval before you buy them. Also, if you look at a printed image in our catalogs, the colors from our printed image are more similar to the poster colors than the image on your computer screen. If you want us to search for an image, get all the information that you can including the artist’s name, the title of the image, the size and the publisher and we will be able to tell you whether we can get that poster or not.

Internet art websites can be quite useful in finding the exact poster that you want. Because we have only a handful of the catalogs that are published, art websites such as,, and can be helpful as online catalogs to make sure that you are ordering the exact Monet waterlilies painting (of the many different Monet waterlilies paintings) that you want. They can also give you a good sense of whether an image that you saw on a calendar is also available in larger poster form or not. Remember, just because you see an image in a book or on a calendar doesn’t mean that it is available in poster form, even if it’s an image by a well-known artist.

The very nature of the Internet dictates that there is always going to be more available online than there is in any single shop. And there is something to the convenience of point and click shopping. We would be interested in hearing about your experiences with various art websites.

“How do I hang a picture?”

We have included with your picture a complimentary hanger(s) based on the weight and size of your piece
The first thing you need to consider is what you are trying to do with your overall decorating. Consider how your piece relates to the other elements in your home – the doors, windows, furniture, etc. Ask someone to hold it up against the wall to see what placement looks best. As a rule of thumb, eye-level is best (keeping in mind that eye-level isn’t the same for everyone). Try it higher or lower, centered or off-center.
Once you have determined where it will hang, make sure you have some good quality picture hooks for the wall. We get a lot of repair business due to bad hooks or nails. Use one hook for smaller pictures, two hooks for larger ones. If you’re using the good picture hooks that we have at Art of Framing, you don’t need to find a stud in the wall to hang your picture safely. If you live in a house with old plaster walls, it’s a good idea to pre-drill your holes to prevent crumbling.
Measure the picture to find the center and the correct height from the ceiling to hang it from. Use a pencil to make a small mark on the wall where the nail will be pounded into the wall. Make certain the picture wire is resting on the hook and not just on the nail when you hang up the picture. If you didn’t put the nail in at the correct height, it is sometimes possible to lengthen or shorten the wire on the back rather than pound another hole in the wall. The hangers on metal frames can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver.

Always feel free to call us with your framing questions.

If you are trying to hang on a surface that would require another type of hanger, let us know and we can try to answer your question and provide you with another hanger. If you are hanging a mirror or a heavy, oversized piece of art we have installed strap hangers instead of a wire. Use these hangers instead of a wire because the weight and size will cause the wire to snap. We also offer installation services and would be happy to hang it for you.

“How high on the wall should artwork be hung?”

The most appealing way to show framed artwork is to have the horizontal center line of the artwork at eye level of the viewer. If framed art is hung in a living room, dining room, or bedroom where most of the time people would be seated, position the art lower on the wall. In areas where people are most often standing, such as a hallway, artwork should be hung higher on the wall. If art is hung above eye level people will tend to ignore it. Art should be hung at a level so people do not have to strain to see it.

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