Now that we know the types of frames and materials available, it’s time to talk design. Choosing the right frame is all about choosing the style you like. Do you like gold or wood frames? Are you modern or classic? Do you want something sleek and simple, or do you prefer bold and embellished? Like we said earlier, the frame samples on the wall may look overwhelming at first, but you’ll quickly see what you like and don’t like once you start placing corners on your art.
In addition to the moulding, there are other design elements you should consider:
Double Matting: This is where you stack two mats on top of each other. The top mat is the main mat, and the bottom mat is an accent mat that shows just a small amount. Some people think you need to double mat a piece of art because it draws out colors or adds some significance to the design. This isn’t always the case. Double matting can sometimes overpower a piece or make it look cheap. Think about what you’re trying to achieve by adding a second mat. Does it really help the piece or are you just driving up your cost?
Fabric and Suede Mats: Paper mats come in all sorts of colors, but sometimes, you just need a good fabric or suede mat on a photograph or piece of art. Fabric mats come in linen, silk, and other materials. They add texture and depth to a frame design. Wedding photographs and certificates, antique photos, objects, and more look fantastic in fabric mats. Objects, jerseys, shadow boxes, and more benefit from suede mats. If you aren’t hitting the right note with a paper mat, consider fabric or suede.
French Matting: Maybe you don’t like fabric mats and double matting isn’t helping your piece. It’s time to look at a French matting. This style of matting is primarily made up of thin lines surrounding the mat opening. You can choose to have one line or multiple lines, different colors or widths, or add embellishments such as a watercolor wash or gold leafing. It’s a classy way to jazz up a paper mat.
Float Mount: When a piece is float mounted, the art looks as if it were floating. 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 under a mat or slightly elevated to give the piece dimension. Almost anything can be float mounted, but it is not a design for a person that needs to have perfection. Most pieces that are float mounted have rawness to them (textured edges, uneven borders, etc). If you need symmetry and perfection, float mounting may not be for you.
Stacked Frames: Stacked frames are made up of two (or more) mouldings combined to make one frame. You can stack a new frame on an old one, mix textures and colors, highlight a pop of color, and more with stacked framing.
Liners & Fillets: You can use liners and fillets as decorative accents with or in lieu of a mat. Liners, fabric covered moulding, are usually seen on paintings, but they can be used on any type of art or photograph. They sit inside the outer moulding and add texture to the frame design. Fillets can sit inside the outer moulding to add a small embellishment (i.e. a beaded design or silver/gold lining) to the frame. They can also sit inside the matting near the art to add dimension.
Of course, you don’t need to implement any of these design elements to your custom framing project. You can stick with a single neutral paper mat and the frame of your choice. In fact, you don’t have to mat it at all. But now, you know your options.