How to Frame Art Prints

Do you have trouble framing art prints? Do you delay purchasing art prints because you aren't sure how to frame them? Do you have art still rolled up in the tubes because getting them framed feels expensive and overwhelming? Well, then this blog is for you! As an artist and an art collector myself, I have probably framed close to one hundread pieces over the years. I can tell can be....a pain in the ass! I've come across dozens of tedious issues in that time. But you know what? I have solved these issues! My tips below should take all the "yuck" work out of your framing experience, and should have your walls looking amazing with new art in no time! 



This is one of the biggest hurdles I think many people have when it comes to art. I have purchased art here in the States that is an uncommon size. I've also purchased art from overseas where it is standard over there but not over here. Both cases meant painfully expensive custom framing, or trimming/matting the art itself to fit into an off the rack frame. What do I mean by standard size? I mean the size frames you can find readily available at most craft, art, and home department stores. If you buy a print in a standard size, guaranteed you will be able to find at least a couple of options at your local store. Some of the most common standard sizes are: 

Other Standard Sizes will include:

If you are in an art supply store specifically, you may see expanded sizing, so that gives you even more options! Because I know the struggle is real, I ensure that EVERY art print I sell is a standard size, making frame options as wide and as budget friendly aspossible. My website currently offers prints at 11 by 14 and 16 by 20, with other sizes on request. I also sell prints at a 12 by 12, which is a standard vinyl record size (popular with those who frame albums) and thus readily available or 20 by 20 size, which most art supply stores will also carry. 


Many clients ask me what quality of frame they should purchase, and I realize this can be a head scratcher as well. I'll be honest, I'm usually very unimpressed with the quality of a lot of frames out there for the price. I just do the best I can. You don't want a super cheap flimsy plastic poster frame. I had one of those up in my studio once and it literally exploded on the wall, sending the artwork sliding down the wall and back behind a heavy piece of furniture. Just give your frame a once over, touch the corners, tap the glass/plastic (many frames are plastic now to alleviate the weight to hang on the wall) Does it feel sturdy? Is it in good shape? Then you are probably fine. If your artwork is being displayed in a high traffic area, more concern should go into the quality. But most of the time, it is just sitting on a wall undisturbed, so you don't have to go too crazy. 

If you are worried about protecting the piece of art itself, try to learn what it is made from. All my art prints are printed on acid free, fade resistant lustre paper. As long as you don't have them in the blasting unfiltered Florida sun, they should look great for generations and fading/warping/cracking should not occur. Thus, the frame doesn't really have to be that special.


A lot of people get tripped up framing artwork with the matting process. What is an art matt? It is that cardboard frame that goes around the print, leaving a border of about two inches all around the art. Full framed means the art goes all the way to the very edge of the paper or frame. See the difference here below: 



Matted Art Print: 11 by 14 image, 16 by 20 frame       Full Framed Art Print 16 by 20 frame

Some art prints already come with the border around them on the actual print. Some frames come with a cardboard matt or you can purchase one separately if you prefer this look. Me? I am a full framed gal. I just like more art. So from my shop, I sell all full framed prints. You can frame them right out of the tube in a frame the same size as the print, or, you can buy a frame a size up and add a matt. It is your choice. I don't mess with matts in my own collection, but it is valid if that is how you like your art. 


There are a MILLION frames out there in all sorts of colors and styles. There are metallics, wood grain, and every color of the rainbow. There are frames that go with decor styles like Boho, Coastal, Traditional, Baroque, etc. The frame style you chose is up to you. Honestly, this is the reason I don't frame my original paintings. Someone may love the art but not the frame, or love the frame but not the art. I leave it up to my cllients to choose a frame that suits them and their home. If you are unsure, my tips here would be, what style best mataches your space? What style and colors best match the art? Those are usually safe bets. Frames in neutral tones (black, white, brown, grey) can fit in anywhere. Or, if you live on the ironic side of things, choose something the exact opposite for some whimsy and a giggle. Nacho Problem looks equal parts regal and silly in a Barouqe style frame:


So now that you know what standard sizes you are looking for, know whether you will matt or not, and have a style idea in mind, where are the best places to find frames? If you want to be in and out and DONE with framing project, I would say Michaels or Joanne's is your best bet. These stores can be a little pricey at times, and play games with their discounts. But when you catch a sale (which is often) or have a coupon (which are always available on their websites/apps, you can get a deal or at least a reasonably priced frame. The majority of my own frames are from Michaels. I don't shop at Hobby Lobby for political reasons, but I do know that sometimes that is what is available. If you shop there or you strike out at the other places, you can also usually find what you are looking for. HomeGoods, and the At Home Store are other good places to check, but it may be hit or miss on your specific size as their goods change often. I am addicted to HomeGoods and am there often, so I have snagged some beautiful frames at good prices from time to time. Target may be on the higher end price wise, but their quality is great. For online sourcing, you can try They aren't the cheapest but they do offer you an amazing variety of style choices and sizes. I avoid Amazon because it is impossible to filter by size an style. It is maddening. You can eventually find hat you are looking for, but it will take you all afternoon and you will often times overpay.

If you are on a tight budget, or you are just a DIY-er at heart, another great place to source frames are your local trift stores, estate sales, and yard sales. Just be sure to grab your handy dandy tape measure, and measure the inside area of the frame to ensure you found the right size. There have been PLENTY of times I forgot my tape measure and thought "I'm a big shot artist, I should be able to recognize what size is what!", only to bring home my find and learn its an inch too big or too small. Bring the measuring tape! 

When I source frames this way, I'm mainly looking at style and size. Any frame you find can be spray painted any color you want, so remember this option! If you found the perfect frame for 3 bucks at Goodwill, but its pepto bismal pink, no worries! Give that bad boy a fresh coat of paint and boom, you just saved a ton of money! 

I once hit a church rummage sale with a friend who was getting married. She was looking for frames to display photos at the wedding, and I was looking for frames to put art prints in a local show. We hit the jackpot! We both brought home several beautiful frames each, all excellent quality for about 20 bucks per person. It was insane!

If you aren't on a budget, and sky is the limit, you could give custom framing a go. They offer the service at Michaels and most mom and pop art supply shops. You can choose from several hundred types of styles, colors, and matts. Personally, I have never had to do this, but you certainly can if you want to.

Also remember you can always change out or upgrade a frame at any time, so if you have to do something budget friendly, but find something better down the road, swap out the frame! Donate the old one, or better yet, buy a new piece of art to put in it!

There you have it! That is my complete guide to framing. Once you know the basics, its not nearly as overwhelming! I think a lot of people get stuck here, and it is easy to see why. But now you are armed with all you need to know to get that awesome art you bought up on the wall or add the art you've been thinking about to your cart now that you know how to frame it!