DIY Framing - Blog

January 25th 2011 - Ben Boswell

LinnetteI started working for DIY Framing just a few months ago, looking after marketing and the website. I have, however, been framing for a few years since I am a keen photographer and my wife is a print-maker and between us we have needed frames to sell work or just to make it presentable.

As soon as I started here I told Duncan that I wanted to do the courses, to get better at framing and to understand how our customers had come to it. So a couple of weeks ago, with by lunch box and enthusiasm loaded into the car I set off to High Wycombe to start the Art and Photography Weekend.

Basics Of Framing

Actually I wasn’t able to fully participate since the course was full, but I did listen and absorb the teaching and took loads of pictures. The 10 participants were a mixed group, there were teachers, an engineer, a couple of ex-military, a housewife, some artists and photographers. They had hardly anything in common other than that they wanted to make frames – and that they had not made frames before. Linnette, our tutor for the weekend, got us started straight away, working out the dimensions of the mount we would need to cut.

MeasuringI guess this was a bit easy for me, I have been cutting mounts for some time but the simple steps to working out the measurements were quicker than the way I had been doing it and within just a few minutes everyone in the class had a mount with nice crisp bevelled corners that exactly fitted their pictures. The next bit was completely different to what I have been doing, learning the proper way to attach the picture to the backing board, I had just taped them to the back of the mount but the neat hinge made from special acid free tape is a much better system which I shall adopt straight away. I was looking around the room and there were 10 smiling faces, each of them gazing down at a picture, surrounded by a mount and ready for a frame. It was evident that everyone was very proud of what they had done.

Cutting MouldingsNext on the agenda: making a frame. Linnette, consummate professional, knocked up a frame to show us how it should be done in that way that we are all thinking: “she makes it look so easy”. Then strips of moulding were handed out and we all got down to some serious measuring and sawing. Again, I have done this before, but when I made my first frames I really struggled to get them accurate, the simple step by step guidance during the course meant that each of us was able to put together a frame with nice tight corners that fitted the mounted pictures beautifully. I wish I had been on one of these courses! There are several frames in my house that make me wince each time I look at them! I think I might have to re-do them.

Lime WaxingFor this project we were going to use a lime wax. Waxes are great, they cover a multitude of sins… not that anyone really needed to in this instance. The wax went on really nicely and made the frames look very good. So there we all were, with a mounted picture and a frame. Just glass, backing and assembly to go.

GlazingI have always used MDF or hardboard for backing but here we used kraft board, it is light and rigid but can be cut easily with a knife, perfect for these relatively small frames and really easy to use. Glazing next: I have cut glass, but I only ever did it when I had an odd piece and wanted to cut it down. The rest of the time I had gone to a glazier and had it cut to size. What a fool! I have spent hundreds of pounds buying pre-cut glass that I could have cut myself for a fraction of the price… The simple instructions and decent tools make the cutting very easy, once you get in the groove.

An interesting day – I had wondered if I would learn anything new, having been the most experienced framer there (other than Linnette of course). Yes I did! More importantly, I had great fun and the interactions between us all about what motivated us to be there made it very stimulating. Best of all was the look of pride and sense of achievement that everyone went away with – that and of course a beautifully framed picture to go on their wall.


My thanks to the participants who were great models on top of their achievements in framing.