Custom Framing Trends: Float Mounting

float mounting

Custom Framing Trends: Float Mounting

One of the coolest things about custom framing is how the smallest changes can transform a design. Anyone that has debated between white mats with names like “Snowflake,” “Frost,” “Parchment,” “Sand Dollar,” and more will know what we’re referring to. The simplest change can take a custom frame design from “That’s pretty, “ to “Whoa.” Float mounting is one of those changes.

Float mounting in custom framing refers to displaying the art as if it were floating. (Mind blowing, right?) Instead of being sandwiched under a mat, all of the art’s edges are exposed on top of the mat. The art can be laying directly on top of the mat or slightly elevated to give the piece dimension. Many of the pieces that are floated have a raw or textured quality to them, and this style of framing brings a sleek and polished look to the final design.

Art to Float Mount

float mountingFloating a piece of art is about acknowledging the work as a whole. Galleries use float mounting to create uniform looks between works of art and highlight the unique aspects of each piece. Here are a few types of art that can be float mounted:

  • Deckled/textured edges
  • Original works of art
  • Pieces with uneven edges
  • Art that is composed from edge to edge
  • To save an artist’s signature
  • Textiles or objects (tickets, stamps, etc.)
  • Antique items
  • Kid’s art
  • Documents or letters

As neat as float mounting is, there are types of art that should not be floated:

  • Super fragile pieces
  • Stained or damaged art (unless you love it)
  • Pieces with acid burn marks from old mats

Damaged pieces can look interesting when floated, but more often than not, it is just distracting. If a piece has been damaged or is fragile, it will need the security of being between a backing board and mat to ensure its safety. 


Float Mounting Tips

float mount cornerSimple Design

Simplicity is key when it comes to float mounting. The art is already interesting enough to float, so choose a frame design that complements the art without overpowering it. Most people opt for a neutral mat and simple frame, but you could have fun with color or ornate frames if it will complement the piece. The goal with this framing technique is to show off the art in a unique, deliberate way. If your frame design is too bold, you won’t be able to appreciate the art.

Look for Depth

There is a time and place for thin frames, and this is not it. Depending on how you want to float your art, you may want to consider a deeper frame. This will allow your framer to float the art while keeping it off of the glass. You don’t need to look for something 3” deep, but a ¼” of an inch can make all of the difference in framing. 

Embrace Imperfection

If you are someone that needs to have clean lines and a flawless presentation, then float mounting may not be for you — and that’s ok. Just because a piece would make a great candidate for floating doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Ultimately, you have to love what is on your walls, and we have had clients that say, “No. Seeing this edge will drive me crazy.” Knowing what makes you happy (and what makes you nuts) is more important in the long run.


Looking for more custom framing inspiration? Check out our custom framing page.