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How to Frame Your Vintage Drawings

So you’ve just scored the most beautiful vintage drawing, but as luck would have it, it comes unframed—How do you ensure that it’s displayed in style? Well, by framing it, of course! But with so many different framing options to choose from (like mat colors, mat sizes, and multiple mats, which is to say nothing about frames), it can be difficult to know which option is best for your used drawing. To help, we’ve created the how-to framing guide below. Never fear being framed again!

Edge-to-Edge Versus Matting

Depending on your secondhand drawing, several framing options are available for displaying it. Some options to consider include edge-to-edge framing, matting, and floating. The basics of each are broken down below.

Matting: Matting is a technique used to add additional decoration to a drawing. By placing a thin piece of paper-based material behind your used drawing, the artwork will appear to have a thick border behind it. Choosing white or off-white mat will give your vintage drawing a clean and timeless look, while colored matting can add a rich, traditional look.

Some examples of artwork that looks best when matted includes: Small to medium photography or art prints Important documents, like a university diploma or an award Special photographs

Floating: Floating is a technique that attaches a piece of artwork to a foam core lift, which is then mounted to a supporting white mat. Then, a spacer is used to create a distance between the plexiglass and the artwork itself. This technique “floats” the drawing to the center of the frame, bringing added attention and awareness to the piece of art. Some examples of artwork that would look best when floated include the following: Original drawings or paintings (especially artwork on paper) Handwritten letters and other artifactual items Artwork with unique edges

Edge-to-Edge: Edge-to-edge printing is also referred to as full-bleed framing. Quite literally, your used drawing will be framed from one edge of the frame to the other. The art “bleeds” under the frame, presenting a sophisticated and straightforward look. Some examples of artwork that would work well for edge-to-edge framing include the following: Art prints and oversized photographs Movie, concert, or travel posters Images with a preexisting border

Framing Under Glass Versus Acrylic

Another option to contemplate when framing a vintage drawing includes the process of glazing. Glazing refers to the exterior of the framed artwork, which protects the drawing from deterioration. Two glazing options are glass and acrylic.

Glass Glazing: Also known as picture frame glass, glass glazing is often used as an inexpensive option or in off-the-shelf frames. Glass often has a greenish tint, which may affect the overall presentation of the artwork. However, perfectly clear glass is available as a higher end option. This type of glass is sometimes referred to as museum glass or water white glass.

Acrylic: Acrylic is most commonly used by Internet framing companies, in mail-order prints, or in the framing of prints larger than 32x40. Several acrylic options are available to choose from, including standard, UV filter acrylic, and non-glare. Acrylic is more expensive than glass, and it scratches more easily than glass. However, acrylic is flexible so it is less likely to break.

Simple Frames Versus Ornate Frames

The simplicity of the frame you choose should reflect the type of drawing or artwork you are displaying. If your image is clean and simple, you may choose a more extreme style of frame. However, a busy or complex drawing may be better fit a simple frame. If your drawing already has a lot going on, a simple frame is all you need to display the piece of artwork.

Types of Frames

Gilt: Gilt frames are beautiful gold frames with a vintage look and feel to them. They can be plated, oil, or water gilded and painted.

Plain Black: Basic black frames are like the little black dress. They are classic frames that pair well with just about any type of artwork. They work especially well in enhancing the appearance of a canvas or paper print.

White Acrylic: White acrylic frames are modern-looking frames that perfectly accompany abstract paintings, Giclée prints, black and white photographs, and pencil sketches or drawings.

Choosing the perfect frame for your vintage drawing can be a time-consuming task, especially if you are unsure of where to start. However, it is important to take the time to consider all the options to ensure that your frame displays your drawing in the best possible way.

After all, a great deal of time and effort went into the creation of the piece, and it will be well worth it to take the time to consider the best framing options for your vintage artwork.