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Sizing and Framing Guide

CanotStopPainting Studio offers Original Artworks and Fine Art Prints (Giclee Reproductions). Whether you choose to buy an Original piece or Fine Art Print you would need to frame your new art. If you are ordering Fine Art Prints you would need to choose the size of the art print and decide on the frame that will match your interior best. 

 

I strongly recommend making the decision about framing your art before you make your purchase, because it may affect the size of the print you choose. 

What are the sizes of Art Prints we offer?

We offer standard US sizes (in inches) and European standard sizes (A-sizes and centimeter sizes):

Standard Picture Frame Sizes in the US

  • 4x6"

  • 5x7"

  • 6x8"

  • 8x10"

  • 8x12"

  • 9x12"

  • 10x13"

  • 11x14"

  • 12x16"

  • 18x24"

  • 20x24"

  • 20x30"

  • 24x30"

  • 24x36"

US Sizes in Inches_CanotStop.jpg

Standard Picture Frame Sizes in Europe

A Sizes

  • A6 148x105 mm

  • A5 210x150mm

  • A4 297x210mm

  • A3 420x297mm

  • A2 594x420mm

  • A1 841x594mm

Centimeters

  • 24x30

  • 30x40

  • 40x50

  • 50x70

  • 60x80

Europen sizes in centimeters.jpg

Please note - the size of the print is not the final size on your wall. You should also consider matting as well (below). 

Matting (mounting or passe-partout)

The purpose of a mat is to separate the art from the glass and provide visual space to focus on the print and enhance the overall look of your framed artwork. Similar to how hair bangs can frame a face and highlight facial features, a mat helps to highlight artwork by separating it from the frame and drawing attention to the artwork.

A mat is not necessary, but most paper artworks—such as photographs, drawings, and watercolors, or Fine Art Prints —look best when there is a border between the edge of the artwork and the frame. 

Besides highlighting the artwork, a mat also physically distances and prevents the artwork from sticking to the glass. This is really important when the artwork is made of soft materials like charcoal, graphite pencil or soft pastels. In those cases, the matting is a MUST HAVE. The matting does not have to be very thick, but it must be added for preventing the artwork from touching the glass inside the frame. Without matting, small particles of the material will stick to the glass and will lead to lower quality of presentation and even could destroy the artwork.

Art Prints can benefit from matting as well. For example, 5x7’’ size Art Print would look much greater mounted to 8x10’’ matting for 8x10’’ frame with 5x7’’ mat opening than just framed in 5x7’’ frame.

NOTE: The mat opening will be slightly smaller than the suggested picture size. This allows the mat to overlap the image slightly, holding it behind the frame. Generally, the mat will cover 1/4" on each side of the image. So, a mat for a 5 x 7" picture will have an opening of 4.5 x 6.5".

framing sizes with matting.jpg

For Art Prints you could use standard frames and matting options that are available at Michael’s, Amazon, IKEA and others. Some frames include matting for defined size, some are not and contain the frame only.

For Original Art Pieces which are made on NOT standard sizes you could order custom framing and matting in a framing shop, where you would be able to choose the matting, its size and color and even texture, or whether you would like double matting.

More information about matting

Mat scale. There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how wide a mat should be in relation to the artwork. In fact, framing in general is subjective and depends on the piece and the personal preferences. However, you could start with a minimum width of 1 ½ -2 inches for small sizes and move up with larger sizes.

Multiple mats. The addition of a second mat or even two more mats creates a more pronounced visual delineation that helps draw the viewer’s eye to the artwork. However, sometimes less is more and you have to remember that matting should make the artwork look its best.

Colored mats. Adding a color-contrasting mat can accentuate the artwork even more. Whether to introduce a colored mat, however, is a personal preference. The wrong-color mat can be the “death of an image.”  You could use a neutral mat for the dominant border (white is classic these days), and adding a colored secondary mat that references a color in the artwork — but only if it truly enhances the image.

Paper mats can be acidic or non-acidic. Acidic paper mats (sometimes called “decorative mats”), are made with wood pulp. An acidic compound in the wood pulp called lignin creates yellow and brown burn marks on the artwork. One way to tell if a piece has been framed with an acidic mat is if the bevel has yellowed over time. If it is acid-free, it should still be white. When adding a mat, ask for acid free mats.

Frames

As with mats, there are numerous options, and choosing the right frame for a piece is a personal decision. Frames are made of a variety of materials, like wood, metal, resin, gesso, and gold or silver leaf.

For Art Prints, you could use frames that are sold at Michael’s, IKEA, or Amazon as they are available in standard sizes. I prefer to use “simple” frames made from wood or metal. Usually, I use white, black, and wood frames in natural finish or driftwood.  

For Original Art Pieces, standard frames are also an option if the artwork is available in a standard size or if you add the proper matting to adjust the painting to the specific frame. In all framing studios, you could order the matting in a custom size. Custom framing can also be used for standard size artwork as there are many more options and styles available than for standard frames. All this depends on your personal preference, interior style and budget. 

Art Media and Framing

Watercolor paintings are usually painted on paper or paper boards. Watercolors must be framed in a glass frame or another covering material. Matting is not a “must-have”, but is recommended for large works for better “stretching” of the paper. It could also help with eliminating the appearance of “waves” on the paper. 

Soft pastels and any other soft graphic materials on paper and artboards have to be framed with glass frames and matting. If you don’t like wide matting, you can use really thin matting which would not be visible but would make sure that there is space between the artwork and the surface of the glass. This will ensure that the soft material will not stick to the glass.

 

Oil and acrylic paintings on canvas or cradled boards can be framed or unframed. Please note that if you leave a painting unframed, you’ll see the side of it, which is typically gesso white or the color of the raw canvas or linen.

Framing Guidelines

While frame selection criteria is fluid, framing professionals agree on two rules of thumb.

A 1-inch-wide frame would look strange with a 1-inch-wide mat. It’s best to have a larger mat to create a variance in width.

2. Select the best frame for the piece instead of matching another frame. If you have different art pieces on the wall, the best is not to match the frames one to another but find the best matching frame for the specific artwork, and this would look beautiful on a wall as well.