Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Using a Canvas Float Frame

Canvas float frames add unique visual interest to your art. They’re named for the illusion they create - that your art is “floating” within the frame, rather than touching it.

The effect is at your fingertips. Select one of our many float frame styles and colors, and then enter our design workflow. 

Include the dimensions of the “float” you’d like in your canvas size. If you order a frame for a 10 x 12 canvas with 1/8” float on each side, for example, include the dimensions of the desired float with your measurements and order a frame that’s 10 1/4 x 12 1/4.


This is easily accomplished by checking the box ‘add a float gap’ on the frame tab in the workflow:

Holes are pre-drilled into the frame to attach the canvas, so the maximum float is 1/4” for metal frames, 3/4” for American Hardwoods frames, and 1/2” for all other wood float frames.


You’re just a few steps away from finishing your look. For a wood frame, follow these steps:

1. Unpack and organize materials.

2. Place the frame on your work surface, face up.

3. Insert and center your canvas within the frame. If you ordered your frame with a float gap, it is helpful to center the work using cardboard or wood pieces as shims to keep the canvas aligned during the framing process.

4. Attach the artwork. Insert the provided screws into the stretched canvas via the pre-drilled holes on the frame.
5. Tighten it up. Make sure your art is square within the frame, readjust as needed, and tighten all screws firmly.

6. Add hangers, wire & bumpers. Position one hanger into the side of each frame as shown and ensure they are in line with each other. Tighten the screws. Loop wire between the hangers and twist at the ends to secure. Then, adhere wall protectors to the bottom corners of the frame where the frame touches the wall.

For a metal frame, follow these steps:
1. Select the frame bottom. Start by choosing the section of the frame that will serve as the “bottom” of your frame display. Place the frame face-down on your workspace. Then, position two angled plates (one with screws, one without) together into the hardware track at each end of the bottom section. Make sure the screw heads face outward. To fasten the plates, gently tighten the screws in the hardware track. Don’t fully tighten any screws until the frame is completed, as you won’t be able to adjust them if necessary.


2. Attach the sides. Choose one of the side sections and slide it onto one of the plates that you attached to the frame bottom. Align the mitered ends and tighten the screws just enough to hold the two frame sections together. Repeat this step with the other side section. The edges can be sharp, so you may want to wear gloves.



3. Add the top. Insert the corner plates into each end of the top of your frame as you did with the bottom. Complete the frame by attaching the top to the sides. Align the mitered ends and tighten all screws in the corner plates.



4. Insert your artwork. Lay the frame on a flat surface and insert your canvas. Now, it's time to attach your artwork to the frame and achieve the "float" effect. First, make sure the stretcher bars in your canvas are at least as thick as the screws we provided. If the bars are too thin, you'll need to purchase smaller screws. Insert the screws into the pre-drilled holes of the frame and into the wood of the stretched canvas. Again, don't tighten all the screws completely until you're finished.
5. Tighten everything. Adjust your artwork if necessary, making sure it’s centered in the frame. Tighten all the screws firmly for a secure fit.
6. Add finishing touches. Now it’s time to prepare your float frame for hanging. Position one hanger into the hardware track at each side of the frame. Tighten the screws. Loop wire between the hangers, twisting it at the ends. Adhere wall protectors to the bottom corners of the frame where the frame will contact the wall.

Lastly, hang your float frame, and then stand back to admire your work.


If you have questions or need assistance along the way, contact us. We’re here to help.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Wisk Vs. Brush: What’s the Difference?

At American Frame, we carry two great products that help you ensure your art stack is free of debris before you frame and hang it. One is our static wisk. The other is our dusting brush. They’re both great for cleaning your art or photography, but there are subtle differences to look for.

The static wisk is designed to dissipate static from acrylic, while also brushing away dust, lint, and other debris from the art or mat. The dusting brush, on the other hand, eliminates debris from the art or mat, but isn’t effective in removing static from acrylic.

So, if you’re concerned about static, choose the static wisk. If you just need to ensure that your art looks spotless while it's displayed, the less-expensive dusting brush is a great option.

Have more questions? Contact us.

Here’s a Tip: Keep Prints Off Your Art

You spend hours painting. You select just the right frame, mats, mounting board and glazing. You assemble the treatment and find the perfect spot to show it off in your home.

Then, you see the spot. That big fingerprint on the art, right in the middle of your otherwise-perfect display.

It’s every framer’s most annoying oversight. But luckily, Nikka Wolfenbarger from our print department has a handy tip to keep it from happening to you.

“When handling prints, try your best not to touch the surface,” Nikka said. “It can leave fingerprints or smudges that can’t be removed without taking the piece apart.”

Touching your art can also transfer oils from your hands, which could damage the piece.

If it’s too hard not to touch your art while you frame it, consider using cotton gloves. They’ll give you the freedom to adjust your prints as necessary without leaving prints.

Need more tips? Our How-To section is a great resource.


Wedding photos are meant to last a lifetime.

Whether you’re displaying moments from your own nuptials, or framing photos for a client or loved one, you want to know they’ll look just as gorgeous decades from now as they do today.

At American Frame, we reproduce wedding photos. Just upload the images and select the paper or other printable media. Our wide selection of paper means you’ll find the perfect surface for your wedding photos. Choose from four resin-coated photographic papers: Epson Premium Glossy, Epson Premium Luster, Canson Baryta Photographique 310, and Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl. Each has varying levels of shine. For more about choosing the right paper read this blog post.

Give photographs a professional finish with our canvas options or turn heads with photos printed on acrylic or aluminum surfaces.

The next step is choosing the frame, mats, and other accessories. We’ve compiled some of our favorite elegant wood and metal frames for wedding photos to make the selection process easy. If you order the frame the same time as the print, we can send the assembled treatment to you. Is the frame a gift? We offer gift wrapping services complete with a hand-written card for just $5.00 more. Want to choose your frame later? We’ll send the print alone, so you can frame at your leisure.

Don't want to design your own framing treatments? We also carry ready-made wedding day frame sets, complete with top and bottom mat boards, mounting boards, acrylic glazing, and hardware.

Trust American Frame’s framing experts to take away the worry of preserving your most precious moments.

Have questions?  Reach out here.

Creating a Gallery Wall

You don’t have to visit a museum to experience a gallery wall display. These design schemes featuring many framed photos or paintings, have been popular for years. And they’re a nice way to enhance just about any space while showcasing your favorite art.
Gallery walls serve as an easy solution for awkward areas, such as hallways, stairwells, high walls, and other spaces where just a piece or two would leave the wall feeling bare.
There are many ways to approach a gallery wall. Go for an eclectic look, mixing metal and wood frames with a variety of textures and colors. The opposite extreme: using all wood or all metal frames of just one color.
American Frame Showroom Manager, Lindsey Harrison, usually suggests frames that don’t compete with the art.
“I recommend simpler shaped frames, like the Basics or American Hardwoods collections, so the wall doesn’t get too busy,” she said. “The great thing about those collections is that the shape and dimensions are all similar, but you can use different colors if you want. For metal frames, I often recommend the Standard Plus Three for its simplicity, or the Tiffany because the recess adds some additional detail and interest without becoming too fussy.”
Whichever frames you choose, consider keeping one theme throughout, so the collection feels cohesive. When using a variety of frames, for example, display only watercolor portraits or black and white photographs. You can add a common thread by using the same color mats for all pieces. For a linear approach, the frames and mats can be identical with differing window openings to accommodate different shapes of art.
Love the freewheeling look of a framed art collection that's arranged with little rhyme or reason? That approach makes it easy to add to the grouping as you create or buy new pieces.
If you prefer a neat, orderly style, our Director of Special Projects, Mike Cromly, recommends designing the layout using the following process.
·         Gather all your framed pieces and trace their outline onto pieces of kraft paper.
·         Tape the paper to the wall, experimenting with the arrangement until it looks balanced or fits the look you're trying to achieve. That will save you the time and frustration of repairing misplaced nail holes.
·         Once you like the layout, start driving the nails, leaving the kraft paper in place. When all the nails have been positioned, remove the kraft paper and hang your art.
Have questions? We’re here to help.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

A Frame Makeover: My Michael Stipe Photo

In the movies, makeovers happen instantly, and usually in a montage set to a pop song.
Reframing art takes a bit more time than that, but the principle is the same: a little change can make a huge difference.
Take, for example, my recent reframing project. With minimal time and one of our newest frames, I turned a neglected photo into a statement piece.
As a big R.E.M fan, I was thrilled to see a photo of lead singer Michael Stipe come up at auction during a benefit for the Toledo Arts Commission my husband and I attended in 2000. Taken by fashion designer Todd Oldham, it was said to have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine. I bid on it and won. What could be better than a keepsake from a favorite band that benefitted a great local cause?

But the novelty eventually wore off. We hung the photo in our basement and basically forgot about it until now.

When I saw the photo again, I knew it needed some TLC. The original frame was boring, and the cardboard backing was warped. Luckily, I had the ideal solution. American Frame had just gotten new Twilight metal frames in bold colors. The red tones in the background of the photo were begging to be highlighted. And a Twilight frame in Tornado Red was the perfect tool to do it.

To complement the red tones, I chose an 8-ply Antique White Conservation Bainbridge mat board, with a 3.5” border. To protect the photo for the next 18 years and beyond, I selected acid-free foam core backing and our standard museum-quality plexi-glass.

And the best part? The reframing project was completed for about $65.


You’d never know it spent nearly two decades in a basement. 
That’s the beauty of reframing.

Need help with your next project? Give us a call.

Laura JajkoLaura Jajko is President of American Frame and a longtime contributor to "A Good Frame of Mind." Here, she delights in bonding with others over her love of art and framing. With more than 40 years of practical experience, she brings a unique perspective in a straightforward style that she hopes will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialogue in our online community. Connect with Laura directly here on the blog or follow her on Twitter @LauraJajko.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Celebrating 45 Years of American Frame


As an artist, you put hours of work into one goal: getting it right.
You aren’t completely satisfied until the brushstrokes on the canvas or the images from your camera match the vision of your mind’s eye.

At American Frame, we understand that commitment

From our beginnings in 1973, we’ve had one underlying belief: that precision production, great customer communication and operating at scale can significantly drive down the cost of framing. That allows you and artists everywhere to frame more for less.

In the early 1980s, we moved from a series of small locations to our current location in Maumee, Ohio. We then changed our name from ASF Sales (Aluminum Section Frame) to American Frame.


By1991, founder Ron Mickel’s daughters, Laura Jajko and Dana Dunbar, had joined the team full-time. Ron retired in 2017, but Laura and Dana remain second-generation leaders today, making American Frame a 100% woman-owned business. Read more about our history here.

And we kept evolving, adding print-and-frame in 2003, and then professional photography services, an easy proQuickShop™ for fast ordering, and an online design workflow so people of any skill level can create the perfect framing treatment for their art.

Long before companies everywhere were touting their environmental consciousness, we developed several green initiatives.

Then, in 2015, we took our desire to help artists even further, opening a showroom and meeting space with hands-on classes, artist lectures, gallery shows, on-site order fulfillment, and much more.

We keep listening to our customers and adapting to their needs. The result? Four-and-a-half decades of success and countless happy custom framers served. 

Thank you for being part of the American Frame community. Here’s to many more years of getting it right.


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