How to Frame an Oil Painting

   Oil paintings on canvas lend a museum formality to a home art collection. Framing an oil painting gives it protection from damage, as well as a way to be admired. If you want to showcase oil on canvas, you need to use special framing techniques, so that the painting can breathe in the open air.

   Grab a tape measure. Measure the height and width of your oil painting. Decide if it is a standard size. If it is 5 by 7 inches (12.7 to 17.7 cm), 6 by 8 inches (15.2 to 20.3 cm), 8 by 10 inches (20.3 to 25.4 cm), 11 by 14 inches (27.9 to 35.6 cm), 16 x 20 inches (40.6 to 50.8 cm), 20 by 24 inches (50.8 to 61 cm), 22 by 28 inches (55.9 to 71.1 cm) or 30 by 40 inches (76.2 to 101.6 cm) then you should be able to find a frame yourself. If it is a different size and you can’t find the size in a craft store, then you will need to have a custom frame made. 

   If you have a non-standard size, it will cost considerably more to have it custom framed. You may want to consider hanging the canvas without a frame on your wall. Shop around at local craft stores, frame shops and online. Choose a frame that fits the style of your oil painting. The following are common types of frames. Molded plastic frames are plastic. They come in black, colors and faux antique finishes. They must have a wooden back so that you can install mounting hardware. Wooden frames come in many different sizes and shapes. They can be antique or very modern. They can also have beveling. The more complicated the frame, the more it can be either distracting or flattering to the painting. Metal frames. Gold or silver frames can highlight a painting, but they are generally chosen to match a room’s décor or antique style.

   Unwrap the frame. Remove the glass and backing board. You will not need them to frame an oil painting, because this type of paint needs to breathe. Remove the glazier points with needle nosed pliers. You will need to be careful and strong to remove these small metal points that are used to keep the glass in place. Don’t frame an oil painting with the glazier points still in, or you can damage the painting and canvas. Remove the saw tooth hanger, if it is already installed. Since the canvas will extend past the frame, it will not hang the painting. You will need to install a wire hanger later. Turn the frame so that the front is laying on a flat, clean work surface. Place the oil painting face down in the opening. Pick it up to see if it is spaced right. 

   Make any adjustments to its placement now. Insert frame clips underneath the frame and over the wooden stretcher at the back of the canvas. Frame clips are sold at art supply stores and online. If the frame clips don’t fit around the wooden stretcher on the canvas, you will need to buy a pack of offset clips. These clips are used by professional framers. They must be screwed into the canvas and the wooden stretcher as well as the frame, so they require a more permanent change. Check that the painting is clipped firmly to the frame. Apply heavy-duty double stick tape around the back of the frame. Cut 4 strips of tape and place them just outside your canvas. Cut a piece of brown craft paper that is several inches bigger than the dimensions of your frame. It will need to cover the tape and the painting. Remove the backing on the double stick tape. Set the craft paper over the back of the canvas. Size it and press firmly to attach the dust cover. A dust cover creates a barrier between the air and wall and the canvas. 

   Buy a set of wire mounting hardware. Set 2 mounting rings on either side of the back of your frame. Place them 4 inches (10 cm) down from the top of the frame and 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the side edge. Use a ruler to be as accurate as possible. Screw them into the frame with a screwdriver. String the wire through the clips. When the wire is straight, wrap the additional wire around the clips and loop it around the wire. Flip the painting around immediately after hanging. Objects can adhere to the still-tacky surface of the paint. Pound a nail into the wall and hang your oil painting. 

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Tags: Frame , Painting , DIY

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