Cheap Picture Frames

Is it worth putting your paintings into
cheap picture frames?

A comment came up on my FaceBook page the other day saying that the artist would love to get into pastel painting but the cost of framing the painting was just too expensive.

Now I can relate to that 100% as taking your paintings to a good framer is going to cost quite a bit and, unless you are a recognized artist, you really can't add the cost of the framing onto the cost of the painting and feel that you can justify asking such a high price….because that's what it would be.

So here are some tips that I use in order to make my art more affordable.

  • Search for cheap picture frames from garage sales, yard sales, recycle shops, thrift stores, op shops, 2nd hand stores and anywhere else you can find them….don't try the antique stores - too expensive.
  • Search on Craigs List, Ebay or your own country's internet trading site.

Check the state of the frame -

  1. Firmly set at the corners
  2. No mould
  3. Not warped or bowed or bent out of shape
  4. No weevil or borer or any other insect in any wood
  5. No rust if it is metal
  • Make sure the frame has glass in it - check that the glass has no scratches or marks.
  • It doesn't matter if it has a matt board, but if it does, make sure there's no water marks on it….this could result in mould and the backing board may be damaged.
  • It doesn't matter if the painting inside is a bit creased…this could mean simply that it has come away from the backing board, however, make sure it hasn't come away due to dampness.
  • Some of the above can be hard to do if you are buying online - so ask for a photo of both the back and the front.
  • Look for how the backing board has been put in place - some "staples" are re-usable (they're the best), but if you're serious it is worth investing in a stapler that is designed for framing - you can get DIY ones that are not expensive.
  • You really want to make sure that the overall frame is in good condition and that the backing board will come off easily.

wooden frame
This painting has no mat board and is hard up against the glass. A beautiful wooden frame

Now for the actual framing:

  • I choose and size the paper to fit the frame - not the other way round.
  • Even though it is great to have a mat board that will mean really learning the art of framing. It is not imperative that you have one at all. It is quite acceptable to have the painting hard up against the glass (in fact some artists do prefer this method). The key is to make sure your glass is perfectly clean.
  • Wash the glass thoroughly - I use just really hot water and a micro-fibre cloth.
  • Once it is completely dry I then spray it with an anti-static spray that I get from my optometrist (along with the cloth) - this is specially designed for glasses (spectacles) and is perfect for the inside glass for your pastel painting.
  • I wear a pair of cotton gloves while I am handling the dry glass.
  • If the painting has a mat board already and it fits the painting, then you can use it if you wish.
  • If you don't then you will need to pack between the back of the painting and the backing board so it is a tight fit, so use the mat board for this purpose.

 What to look for in a frame

  • Go for frames that are plain wood and not too wide.
  • You can paint wooden ones and I recommend that you do if they are already painted in some other color than white, black or neutral.
  • Keep to the plain color metal frames.

Your aim is to show off your painting - not the frame. A good framer will choose a frame that will enhance the painting, when you are buying cheap picture frames you don't always have the luxury of "enhancing" your painting.

On the back of the picture you can then put the name of the painting along with your artist name - I always add "This is an original pastel painting, please take care when re-framing".

The idea is to be able to protect and show your painting. If some-one want to purchase it, make sure they are aware of the delicacy of pastel and suggest that they get it framed by a reputable framer.

I hope these tips help.






Learn to paint with pastels