Framing To Create Art

Find out about fabric framingFinding out more about picture framing offers real benefits. You can significantly influence the life and impact of your artwork by making good choices. Whether starting from scratch or giving a face-lift to an existing piece of framed artwork, the processes are very similar. You need to spend time on planning and design to achieve the look you are after. There are 3 elements that should drive your ideas.

  • Colour palette;
  • Structure;

then, if re-framing an existing piece;

  • Limitations posed from the original treatment.

Colour Palette

This is the most subjective of the three elements, with decisions being influenced by the artwork itself. Consideration is given to the subject matter of the art: what shades and tones bring the right degree of emphasis without overwhelming the art. The balance between choices of moulding styles and mount colours can attract or distract the eye. Even consideration of where it will eventually hang and what is going on around it will also have a bearing. A more traditional look requires a warmer, stronger colour palette: a more contemporary feel is of achieved with minimal colours and clean lines.


Lacing NeedleworkDifferent styles of artwork make varying practical demands on the framing. With needle craft, the issue of attaching and supporting a piece sympathetically, ready for framing, is foundation for the structure of the framing. Whether, pinning, lacing or using a more specialised system, these will always require added depth in the frame. The good news is that there are plenty of deep-rebate mouldings around to offer the right look as well as space to do more than just hold the piece in place. Having dealt with that essential part, the rest is about “art”. Think about layers and materials: we all know about double mounts, but what about putting space between the layers to create shadows and depth? Do you stick with traditional rectangular mounts or should you look at more “sculptural” designs? What about deep bevels, slips or fillets to create space away from the glass?


A real issue can be what you find inside an existing frame. Some reworked pieces pose headaches from the start. Fabric stuck down onto board is difficult to lift, often stained by the adhesive and less pliable: re-stretching over a clean surface is awkward. Artwork, cut very close to the edge, then needs a “surround” sewn in, to provide the material for stretching. You discover chevrons of material cut out of corners, to avoid folds behind the board. These start a run if stretching, so need to be strengthened before starting work. Because of these unfortunate surprises, what you wanted to do and what you can do may be different.

An unfortunate truth in framing circles is that needlecraft is seen as craft rather than art. Framing becomes a “housing” for hanging something on the wall, “dressed” in the design equivalent of a pair of old slippers. For the situation to improve, you need to take control. Make the right choices, plan the look and the practical design yourself. Even better, learn how to frame for yourself: then you can afford to indulge your art properly.

Discover Framing

Frame Fabric YourselfAt UK School of Framing we are specialists. We know how to help you make the most of your art. We know how to frame fabrics. To start your own framing, have a look at one of our framing (Art & Photography) weekends: these give you all the necessary skills for building frames and creating artistic mounts. Follow that with one of our Framing Fabrics days where you explore a whole range of methods of attaching, supporting and presenting all forms of fabric based art.

For ideas about accessing information linked to framing fabric based artwork read: Framing Fabrics – Do It Yourself

Posted on: 8 Dec 2009@08:09:27, updated on: 8 Dec 2009@08:09:27.