How to Frame Your New Original Oil Painting!

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So, you just bought a beautiful new oil painting and it needs framing.  Here are some tips and suggestions for getting it done in a cost-conscious fashion. 

First, your painting is mostly likely painted on canvas.  That canvas can either be stretched on a wooden frame, mounted on wood or gator board, or unstretched.  If the painting is unstretched and it arrived rolled in a tube, you will need to take it to someone how knows how to stretch it for you, and this will most likely have to be your local custom frame shop. 

If the painting is mounted on wood or already stretched, then the next  step is to determine whether the painting is on a standard size canvas.  The most common standard sizes are as follows (all measurements are given in inches):

  • 5 x 7
  • 6 x 8
  • 8 x 10
  • 11 x 14
  • 12 x 16
  • 14 x 18
  • 16 x 20
  • 20 x 24
  • 22 x 28
  • 30 x 40
If your painting is not one of these sizes, you will probably need to pay a visit to your local custom frame shop unless you know how to make frames yourself.

If you purchased a painting on a standard size canvas, then framing will be a relatively simple task for you to do yourself.  The first thing you will need to do is find somewhere to shop for frames.  There are several hobby and craft store chains that sell frames in a wide variety of prices.  Some of these frames may come with glass and backing board, but you will not need them to frame an oil painting. 

Oil paintings need to breath, so should never be framed under glass.  And are usually also not backed by more than a paper dust cover.

If you purchase a frame that came with glass read this paragraph, otherwise, skip to the next.  The glass and backer board are usually held in place with little bits of metal called glazers points.  These can be removed with a needle nose plier and a little elbow grease.  You can discard the glass, backer board and glazers points.  Also, if it came with a sawtoothed hanger, I would also suggest discarding that too.  They are notoriously unstable for hanging paintings.

Now, you have a frame that is just a frame.  No glass, no backerboard and no hardware to hold the painting in place or hanging hardware to hang it on the wall.  Also, the painting may be deeper than the frame, or vice versa.   In either case, you will need two offset clips (also known as mirror hangers), two strap hangers (also known as d-ring hangers), four #8 screws and a length of picture hanging wire one and one-half times the horizontal measurement of the frame.  You will also need a nail or hook to put in the wall on which the painting will ultimately hang.

You are now ready to put the canvas in the back of the frame using the offset clips.  Place one on each side of the frame (either top & bottom, or left and right) and screw them in place using the #8 screws.

Now, meausre 1/3rd down the vertical length of the frame and place a strap hanger on each side using two of the #8 screws.  Don't tighten the screw all the down on the strap hangers so that they rotate freely. 

Slip one end of the hanging wire in one strap hanger and wrap the end around securily 5 or 6 times.   Finally, without wrapping the wire, but holding it security, insert it into the other strap hanger.  Make sure there is a little slack in the wire to allow for ease of placing it on the hanging hook before wrapping the end of the wire around itself on this side 5 or 6 times.  And your painting should be ready to hang on the wall!

There are several very reputable framers on eBay that sell standard size frames and hardware, offer stretching and mounting services and also offer custom framing services. 

If you have any suggestions for how I can make this guide better, please do not hesitate to contact me through my ME page.

Enjoy shopping, framing and hanging your original art purchases.

Coming Soon!  My Guide on how to frame works on paper!

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