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Wood frames are made from a variety of woods with different properties and come in a variety of finishes. They are traditionally cut on a miter and joined with a wood glue.

Gilded frames are made by laying a metal leaf on a smooth gessoed surface that is then toned with a variety of applications, often simulating age.

Gesso is an underlying coating that primes and smooths out imperfections in the wood, it can be painted or gilded.

Metal frames, mostly made of extruded aluminium, can carry more weight and allow thinner frames to be used on larger pieces. They come in a variety of painted and anodized colors, in both glossy and matte finishes. They are held together be plates at the corners and can easily be taken apart and reassembled.

Stretcher bars are for stretching paintings, canvas prints, or other fabric work.

Gallery wraps refer to canvas prints or paintings without exterior frames attached from behind the stretcher, where the paint or printing wraps around the sides of the stretcher

Strainers and cross-braces refer to internal structural elements that add support inside the frame. They are often used on thinner or larger wood frames and screw into the side of the frame from the back.

Framer's points are small flat metal points shot out of a gun that secure a picture in the frame from the back

Floater frames allow the edges of a stretched canvas to show. These frames are attached from behind the painting and typically leave a small space between the frame and canvas edge. Glazing can not be used with floater frames.

Liners are often lined with linen, canvas or silk and can be used to accent unglazed paintings or used as a spacer to glaze paintings

Fillets are small wood liners that are used on the inside opening of a mat to add an accent. They often match the color or finish of the frame and help unify the framing package.


Drymount Drymounting is a process that uses a heat activated adhesive and a heat/vacuum press to adhere posters, photos and other prints to a backing, usually foamcore, sometimes gatorboard. Some paintings and fabric can also be drymounted as an alternative to stretching or sew mounting.

Foamcore a light stiff board with a smooth paper surface on two sides of a foam sheet

Gatorboard similar to foam board except it is made with a veneer that is more stiff than paper, more sturdy and less susceptible to warping than foamcore, but just as light.

Wet mount is a mounting process using wet adhesive like PVA glue.

Spray mount refers to a mounting process using spray adhesive and a vacuum press, often used for mounting work that can not be heat mounted, like kids drawings in crayon or certain heat sensitive inks and papers.

Hinges are small swatches of linen tape, rice paper, or acrylic tape that hold the artwork to the backing board. Hinges are usually placed only at the top of the art in order to allow the artwork to move naturally inside the frame as it reacts to changes in temperature and moisture in the air.

Conservation Mounting is a way to mount artwork that does not damage it, is removable, and follows established guidelines .

Mats are boards made of paper, usually with a window cut out on a bevel that keeps works on paper from being pressed against the glass and provides space for the artwork to move behind while keeping it flat. A typical mat is 4-plys of paper or rag, sometimes with a colored paper on top. They are also available in 8-plys and 2-plys. A ply is a layer of paper.

Float mounting shows all the edges of the art work with the hinges hidden behind the work, which then floats on top of the mat instead of behind it. It requires a spacer for the glass and requires more delicate handling.

Sew mounts are used to attach fabric based work to a backing board by hand stitching it directly to the board.

Linen tape is a gummed linen that is used to hinge artwork to a backing board. Often made into a “T” hinge, the tape is activated by water and is reversible and acid free.

Book mat is when a mat is attached on one side to the backing board so that it opens like a book to allow access to the art work.


Glass is the most versital glazing, remains flat and resists scracthes, making it easy to clean. Large pieces are heavy and susceptable to shattering. The largest piece of glass available is 40” x 60”.

Acrylic or Plexiglass is a clear plactic sheeting that can be used like glass. It is much lighter and shatter proof, but scratches easily. Acrylic is easily available up to 4' x 8', but can be special ordered in larger sizes.

Ultraviolet light filters are available for both glass and acrylic. They filter out about 97% of ultraviolet light which helps to protect against fading. Conservation Clear glass has a UV filter.

  • Glare reducing coatings are also available
  • Nonglare or Reflection Control glass has an etched surface that helps to dissipate the glare. It can also reduce the clarity of the work on the other side, especially when spaced at a distance.
  • Conservation Reflection Control glass has a non-glare finish and a UV filter.
  • AR or Denglass are both trade names for glass has a coating that only reflects part of the spectrum, greatly reducing glare, but unlike non-glare glass, it preserves the clarity of the image. This glass can be identified by looking for reflections in only part of the color spectrum. It finger prints easily and is difficult to clean.
  • Museum Glass is UV glass that has an AR coating, which provided the best light protection with the most attractive least intrusive appearance.

Color shift in glass is cause by lead content and tend toward green. Water White glass is availalbe, which has a lower lead content and no color shift. This also comes with a UV filter and in an AR finish. Acrylic has no color shift, but UV acrylic has a slight yellow shift


Wire is typically used to hang pictures easily from a single wall hook or nail. The wire and attached hardware must be rated for the correct weight to hold the frame.

2 points mounting uses no wire and hangs the picture directly from the hardware on either side with two wall hooks. This is a more stable way to hang pictures as it prevents them from shifting on the wall.

Security mounts use two top brackets and a specially milled screw at the bottom of the frame that can be turn with a wrench from the front, locking the frame in place. This is the most stable mounting method and is often used in unmonitored public places.

Picture rails , usually lining the perimeter of the walls near the top edge, can be used to hang pictures without placing hooks in the wall, which may be difficult in some homes with old plaster walls.


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