Friday, August 26, 2016

Choose the Perfect Frame for a Canvas Painting

You finally found the painting you’d been searching for and are eager to hang it up. The question is, with so many available, what type of frame should you choose?

Although you may think a canvas painting means you need to go with wood, you can use a metal frame instead. What’s more: Framing your canvas in a metal frame doesn’t have to be a difficult process! Of course, there are a few simple things to check for to be sure it will fit properly.


Choose the right metal frame for canvas


The sheer variety in metal frames means you have many choices, and as great as that is, it also means you have to consider a few factors.

  • Stretcher bar thickness 
  • Stretched canvas thickness 
  • Frame rabbet depth 
It's important to remember the role of rabbets in this process. When using a metal frame, the stretcher bar must be thinner than the rabbet so the canvas will fit inside the frame channel smoothly. To do this, simply refer to the measurement on the frame listed as “R.” This is the maximum thickness your frame will hold.

Frame your work


So long as your rabbet depths are measured and fitted, this process is the same as framing anything in metal.
  1. Start with a clean workspace. Prepare your frame by wiping it with a soft cloth, then lay it facedown and prepare the corners with backing plates, leaving one side open. This is where you’ll insert the canvas. Secure with a screwdriver.

  2. Slide the canvas in and place the last edge of the frame. Secure the corners with a screwdriver.

  3. If you would like to attach a hanging wire, measure one-quarter of the way down from the top of the frame on both sides and attach the hardware. For step-by-step instructions, follow our handy tutorial!
Keep in mind how you want your framed piece to look when you hang it. When you use a metal frame, the canvas can't push out of the back like some wooden frames  if you measure the canvas correctly and choose a frame with an appropriate rabbet, your metal frame will fit like a glove. With so many frame styles to choose from, your options are endless!

Have you framed a canvas piece in metal? We want to see it! Post a photo of your work with the hashtag #FramingHappiness!


Laura Jajko
Laura 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.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Attach a Hanging Wire in 6 Steps

Hanging your artwork is the final act of framing. Your framed art can complete your room or help you build your aesthetic around it. Learn how to add a hanging wire to your frame to put the finishing touch on your beautiful piece!

It may sound tricky, but adding hanging wire to your metal frame is a piece of cake! We’ll take you through the process step by step to prove it. Start by gathering your materials!


You will need

  • 1 metal frame
  • Metal frame hanger hardware
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Wire snips
  • Ruler (optional)

Six steps to hanging success


1. Use your screwdriver to make sure the screw is backed all the way out of the hanging hardware. If it isn't, the hardware won't go into the channel easily. Angle the hanger down and insert the metal frame hanger hardware into the channel on the back of the metal frame. Snap the hardware down into place. There should be one hanger on each side of the frame, giving you the option to display your work horizontally or vertically.


2. Once they are in their respective channels, slide the frame hanging hardware pieces up and down until they are even. They should be about one-fourth of the way down from the top.


3. When the hangers are even, use a flathead screwdriver to tighten the hardware into place on both sides.

4. String the wire through the hardware on the left side, twist it around itself to keep it in place, then string it across the frame and through the hardware on the right.


5. Pull up on the wire — toward the top of the frame — to make sure it won’t stick up above the frame.

6. Use wire snips to cut the wire to  your desired length, being sure to leave enough extra to twist it onto itself again on the other side. Twist the wire around itself, keeping in mind that you can untwist and re-twist until you've got the length just right.



Now you can hang your frame!

Whether your frame is metal or wood, attaching a hanging wire is a simple way to add versatility to your artwork.

Have you attached your own hanging wire? We want to see it! Share a photo of your success and tag us using #framinghappiness!

MikeSo, who’s Mike? He is the man behind the mission of getting your picture frames produced and out the door quickly, correctly, and with custom frame-shop quality. Once your order is placed, it is in the hands of Mike and the many people he has trained over his 35-plus years with the company. A natural teacher, Mike loves to tinker and experiment. Of course he has a nice office, but we rarely find him there! Working in the plant to improve our processes is his passion. Outside of American Frame, Mike is an outdoorsman, avid fisherman, devoted family man, and Ohio State Buckeyes fan. Follow him on Twitter @AskMike400.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

10 Steps to Float Your Artwork

As framing experts probably know, acrylic spacers are designed to be used in place of a mat board. A mat board is often used to separate the artwork from touching the acrylic, either for protection or for aesthetics. Sometimes, the traditional “glazing to mat board to artwork” stack doesn’t align with the desired look.

A great alternative to the traditional method can be created using acrylic spacers. The space provided — sans mat board — offers a minimalist look that highlights the artwork. Follow along to learn how to create this look using a metal frame and acrylic spacers!

Before we get started, make sure to pick out the spacers you want to incorporate into your frame. We offer three varieties of acrylic spacers: one-fourth-inch black, one-fourth-inch clear, and one-eighth-inch clear. We suggest using black spacers for dark or black frames.


  1. Make sure your artwork is secure by hinging or dry mounting it. You can take your artwork right to the edge of the frame or you can create borders by floating your artwork on a larger board. In either case, spacers alone are not able to hold your artwork securely for long.


  2. Begin assembling the metal frame by attaching three of the sides together. Put aside for now.


  3. Carefully cut lengths using scissors or a box cutter to prepare the spacers for use in a metal frame. You will need to cut fours spacers total: two for the length and two for the width. They should measure just under one-eighth of an inch of the acrylic glazing’s measurements.


  4. Place the spacers onto the glazing before you adhere them to make sure they fit.



    NOTE: For a metal frame, the spacers will need to rest just under one-sixteenth of an inch off the edge of the glazing, creating a small, even lip. Naturally, the glazing will be loose and move slightly inside the frame. To prevent the spacers from being seen, they have to be strategically placed to ensure they stay hidden behind the rabbet when the glazing inevitably shifts.

  5. Peel back the protective cover of the glazing for the art side once you are confident the spacers are correctly placed and measured.


    Peel back the sticker on the acrylic spacers to reveal the sticky side that will be placed onto the glazing.


  6. Carefully place the spacers down in a clockwise pattern. Remember to go over the edge of the glazing a bit. Do not press down on them too hard in case changes need to be made before the frame is put together.


  7. When all four spacers are placed, slide the glazing into the partially built frame to test the placement and make sure it fits.


  8. Take the glazing out and remove the other side of protective paper. Clean both sides of the glazing and place it with your artwork into the frame. The spacers should be on the inside and pressed against the artwork side of the mounting board.


  9. Slide the entire art stack into the partially built metal frame. Close the frame by adding the fourth side of metal and check it. Inspect for debris and make sure the spacers are not visible. When you’re satisfied, tighten up the screws, clean the glazing, add wall protectors, and add a wire or sawtooth hanger.


  10. Enjoy your beautiful artwork! Well done!



Have you used a metal frame and acrylic spacers to create a unique, floating art frame? Share it with us on social media, using #framinghappiness, and tag us in your photo! Love your art. Frame it right.

Laura Jajko
Laura 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.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When it Comes to Wood Frames, Quality Trumps Quantity

Just as an artist takes time and care in choosing each canvas and blending every color, our framers assemble each wood frame to be unique and customized for your use. Our commitment to creating original, high-class, customized wood frames is matched by the way we assemble each order.

Today, we’re letting you in on the secret. Here are the standards we follow at American Frame to create the wood frames you rely on, ensuring we help you love your art and frame it right:

1.Quality materials



Just as artists select the finest paints to make their creations, the professionals at American Frame use high-quality raw materials sourced from approved suppliers. Mouldings are hand-picked, and only the finest sticks are pulled. Plus, over 70% of what we sell is from American manufacturers.

2.Consistent inspection



At American Frame, we are lucky to have meticulous hands-on crafters who scan for knots and imperfections. If one is found, it is cleanly cut from the frame with a precision saw and smoothed to perfection.

3.Variety


Retailers want to offer a variety of choices to their customers — and we are no exception. We offer a wide range of styles, colors, and textures in both frames and mats to fit the uniqueness of your project.

4.Handcrafting



Once our frames are cut, they are sent down specific paths to be assembled — by hand. After passing inspection for imperfections, the corners are glued and the frames are secured with “v-nails.” The wood frames are then given a professional frame-shop finish with putty and polish before they are wiped clean. At the same time, acrylic sheets, mounting boards, and mats are being prepared.

After all the pieces are constructed, they come together as a single, carefully packaged order that will be safely delivered to your door.


It all comes down to our meticulous process and the promises we stand behind: quality materials, consistent inspection, product variety, top-of-the-line tools, and hand assembly. These methods set American Frame apart from the rest. The next time you receive a wood frame order, you’ll know that each piece was as thoughtfully cared for as the art you decide to showcase in it.

Can you see the care we put into your order? We’d like to see it! Simply post a picture of the wood frames you ordered on social media with the hashtag #framinghappiness.

Laura Jajko
Laura 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.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Green Thumb DIY: Frame Your Succulents!

Summer is upon us! It’s time to get outside and get your hands dirty. Picture frames aren’t just for indoor spaces — there are many ways in which they can be incorporated into outdoor settings as well! We're happy to share a fun and simple DIY activity that even the kids can help with. Follow along as we show you how to make a DIY framed succulent planter.


For this project, you will need:

  • 2-by-1-inch cedar board (at least 4 feet in length)
  • Saw
  • Wire mesh fencing with ½-to-1-inch openings (one square foot or larger)
  • Wire snips
  • Hardboard or plywood (enough to cut to 11 ½-by-11 ½ inches)
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Assortment of small succulents native to your region (enough to fill your planter)
  • Outdoor wood glue
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch brad nails (enough for two to three nails on each side of the cedar board frame with extras for securing the hardboard or plywood to the planter frame and a few more if you're using a wooden frame)
  • Cactus or succulent potting soil
  • Frame of your choice

Cut and assemble the cedar frame


  1. Cut the cedar boards to 12 inches in length with mitered corners. (See Images 1 and 1a.) Cut ½-inch-deep-by-½-inch-wide “channels” in the backs of the boards to accommodate the plywood or hardwood backing.
Image 1a
Image 1

  1. Apply outdoor wood glue to the mitered ends of the cedar boards and secure the corners together with the 1-inch brad nails. Do this with all four sides.
  2. Cut an 11 ½-by-11 ½-inch hardwood or plywood square (assuming you’ve cut “channels” into the backs of the cedar boards as instructed in Step 1).
  3. Apply outdoor wood glue to the inside groove of the cedar box and nail hardwood or plywood into place.

Add succulents

  1. Once the glue dries, fill your box with cactus or succulent potting soil.
  1. Place mesh on top of your frame and staple it down, securing it to the face of the cedar frame. Then cut off excess using wire snips.
  1. Add the succulents into the frame by carefully poking their roots through the mesh and into the soil.
  1. Once they are all in place, add more soil around and between the plants as needed.
  2. Be sure to leave the frame lying flat while plants take root, about 7-10 days after planting, keeping the best growing conditions for your succulents in mind.
  3. Once the succulents are in place, measure the outside of the box. Use those dimensions when ordering your frame. Be sure to pay attention to the rabbet depth of the frame to make sure it can accommodate the depth of the cedar frame. This is especially important with metal frames.

    Don’t know which frame to choose? Our Canvas Plus and Rustic collections are great places to start!
  4. Once your wooden frame arrives, secure the custom picture frame to the cedar frame with 1-inch brad nails. If using a metal frame, just follow the assembly instructions included with the frame.

Have you ever used a frame to dress up your outdoor space? Be sure to share your finished framing projects with us on social media using #framinghappiness!

Laura Jajko
Laura 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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Framing for Coastal Themes

The salty smell in the breeze. The sand in your toes. The sun setting behind the ocean waves. Whether you live near the beach or just dream of it, we’ve all seen enough movies to know that, when it comes to relaxation, the ocean is the place to be. And what better way to bring that sense of peace and rest into your home than by decorating with a coastal theme?

Coastal decor has been popular for quite a while but seems to have reached its apex in the past few years. With the global economy forcing many of us to move frequently  and often to places we would rather not live  taking the beach with you no matter where you go has great appeal.

Luckily, coastal styling is so popular that it’s not difficult or expensive to achieve anymore. DIY blogger Kim Wilson’s Sand and Sisal lists a few must-have color palettes and themes that can help you get started on your coastal design.


In touch with nature

Echoing her thoughts, we suggest that you consider the more natural elements — sun, sand, sky, and surf — to guide your inspiration.

Beautiful imagery, isn’t it? Now let’s apply that to coastal-style framing. No doubt you’ll have some
images you’d like to add to your room: perhaps beach photographs from a vacation or paintings that fit the theme and color scheme.

American Frame carries an entire line of coastal-themed wooden frames. Here are some coastal elements we’ve applied to our frames to add a splash of realism to your interior design:

  1. Natural, worn, or whitewashed woods and finishes
    Natural or worn looks easily convey a beachy setting, no matter what art you are framing. Consider this white wood frame to start!
  2. Neutral tones: blue, grey, and white
    Stick to the basics here and you may expect to feel the ocean breeze right outside your door. Touches like this grey wooden frame can help bring more nautical neutrals to your walls.
  1. Sand, seagrass, and beadboard textures
    Let’s not just look at the beach; let’s feel the beach. Bainbridge offers some wonderful mats to pair with wooden frames, such as this sandmat board with this grey wood frame.


Our versatile mats and frames can help you enhance the art you love and frame it right.  

What kind of image would you frame in coastal style?

We want to see the finished product! When you’ve framed and hung your pieces, upload a photo to your favorite social media site with the hashtag #framinghappiness and we’ll take a look! We want to see how our customers are using our products to brighten and embolden spaces across the world.


Laura Jajko
Laura 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.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Display Your Diploma with Personality

Whew! What a busy month it has been! Graduation ceremonies are very involved: dressing up in robes, sitting through inspirational speeches, walking to the stage to receive your diploma — and that’s just graduation morning. Once you’ve survived that, there are parties, dinners, and (hopefully) gifts to open. It’s not unwarranted: You’ve worked hard to get here and you deserve a celebration.

All these ceremonies and parties are short-lived. You can’t take them with you on your next adventure as a reminder of the fruits of your hard work. But there is one thing you can take: your diploma.

So much more than a piece of paper, your diploma is four, six, or eight years of hard work ready to be displayed with pride. It should be decorated and formatted to reflect the same dedication you put into your degree. Skip the overpriced standard black frame and give your certificate a custom-framed home.

Building your own custom frame is the perfect project for a beginner because it is simple and allows you to be creative.

At American Frame, we have a wide variety of Diploma Wood Frames for you to choose from, all of which are 20% off with free shipping for a limited time! And our website will guide you through the design process step by step to make your selections simple.

Assemble your frame kit

Once you’ve chosen your frame, it’s time to build it! Follow these steps and your diploma will be expertly framed in no time!
  1. Are you using a double mat? Secure the mats together by applying ATG tape to the back of the top mat and adhering it to the bottom mat.
  2. Once the top and bottom mats are aligned, press down firmly.
  3. Using linen tape, create a t-hinge to attach the diploma to the mounting board.
  4. Use a strip of linen tape to hinge the mat to the mounting board.
  5. Being mindful of dust, peel off the last piece of the acrylic’s protective paper and place in on the “art stack” or the stack made up of the mats, diploma, and mounting board.
  6. Flip the diploma, mats, and mounting board face down into the back of your frame. Use a point driver to secure the art stack in the frame. Watch this video to see how to use a point driver.
Voila! There you have it: your very own custom-framed diploma.

Happy framing!

Did you take the leap and create your own frame? We want to see it! Hop on your preferred social media site and show us your custom diploma-framing job by uploading a picture and using the hashtag #framinghappiness. We look forward to seeing how yours turned out!


Laura Jajko
Laura 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.
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